Multiple sources have told PEOPLE that Tayshia Adams replaces Clare Crawley as the lead this season, which premieres in October

By Aurelie Corinthios
September 01, 2020 10:58 AM
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Rachel Lindsay being cast as the first Black lead of the Bachelor franchise left a lasting impression on future cast members.

During an appearance on Monday night's episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever!, host Chris Harrison welcomed Tayshia Adams from Colton Underwood's season of The Bachelor and Natasha Parker from Peter Weber's season for a conversation about the power in representation.

Both Parker and Adams — whom multiple sources have told PEOPLE replaces Clare Crawley as the lead for the upcoming season 16 — said Lindsay paved the way for them to appear on the show.

"I'm from Orange County, California, so this is my world. And what I mean by that is I am very used to being the minority," said Adams, 29. "And so seeing someone on TV have such a strong role and identify with me meant so much."

Adams said that it was impactful to watch Lindsay's relationship with Nick Viall unfold on The Bachelorette, even though they didn't work out.

"It was really cool to see that Nick was so open to meeting her family," she said. "He just really took her hometown by storm and really made her feel comfortable, and I think the part that resonated with me most was when Rachel brought Nick to church."

"He was out of his comfort zone," she recalled with a laugh. "But he really embraced it and I loved that she did exactly that. Because that is her. That is what is going to be their reality outside of this whole thing."

Tayshia Adams (left); Rachel Lindsay
| Credit: Getty Images; ABC

If Lindsay hadn't gone on to be cast as the season 13 Bachelorette, "I don't know if I would have went on the show," said Parker, 31.

"Having her go on The Bachelorette and actually have success — she found her man — it was a huge inspiration to see her do this," she said. "And she was one of the bigger reasons why I was comfortable to go on the show."

"I completely agree," Adams said. "And I think that's what encouraged me to go on it. Because I feel like she was so true and authentic to herself, and at the end of the day, she got her person. She is happily married now, and she got her fairy tale ending, and that's what I wanted. So she gave us hope."

Natasha Parker and Peter Weber
| Credit: Francisco Roman/ABC

Both also said they were looking forward to the upcoming season of The Bachelor with Matt James as the first Black male lead. James, whom fans know as beloved Bachelorette star Tyler Cameron's roommate, is also the first lead to be cast without ever appearing on the franchise.

"He's the first Black Bachelor, but Black culture is American culture. Just like Rachel Lindsay's season wasn't so different than everybody's else's!" Parker said. "I'm excited for him. I'm excited for him to find his person, find his boo, find his bae. That's just a call to action for people of color to come out and show up and watch the show and root for him."

"He has such a magnetic personality, and I love that he's a fresh face but we also kind of know him," Adams added. "I think he's just really going to open up the doors for a lot of people."

Matt James
| Credit: Getty Images

The retrospective episode was seemingly filmed before news broke of the casting shakeup on Crawley's season of The Bachelorette. Production was initially supposed to begin in March but was delayed due to the pandemic — and during that time, Crawley, 39, found love with one of her original suitors.

"One of her potential guys found a way to get in touch with her and they began talking," a source with knowledge of the situation told PEOPLE. "By the time filming officially began, they were basically already in love. No one else stood a chance. It just became so obvious from her subsequent few dates that her heart wasn’t in it and she just wasn’t feeling it. Then she said she wanted out."

The source said that Adams — who has also appeared on Bachelor in Paradise — was brought in as a back-up. "Tayshia was game and ready to go," the source said.

Clare Crawley (left); Tayshia Adams
| Credit: Jesse Grant/Getty; Paul Archuleta/Getty

Thus far, ABC has not acknowledged Adams in any of the promotional material for the season, but Lindsay, 35, has said she's "more than happy to pass the torch."

"When I stepped in as Bachelorette, I wanted to pave a way for more diversity, for more people who look like me and who didn't look like the typical lead," Lindsay told Entertainment Tonight in August. "So to see another Bachelorette of color, I'm thrilled."

"I have been fighting for inclusion, and I've said before that Tayshia would be an excellent Bachelorette," she continued. "I am so excited to see what she's going to do, how she will represent herself and her journey to find love. Now she's in the driver's seat, and I'm excited to see her get this opportunity."

The Bachelorette premieres Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.