With the new season of The Bachelorette set to premiere next month, this season’s star Rachel Lindsay is making her official debut.
Of course, it’s not without controversy – and we’re not talking about The Bachelorette spoilers for once, but her first promotional photo.
Wow. In the shot, Lindsay is wearing a bright red Randi Rahm gown with a cutout back and matching rose petals coming off the back.
Talk about red hot, to say the absolute least.
The stunning Texas lawyer who quickly caught Nick Viall’s eye on The Bachelor is ready to find a true love of her own – and make history.
Not that you’ll hear her play it up, because the first African-American lead in the franchise’s 15-year run says she’s just there for love.
You know, just like everyone else, right?
Showrunner Mike Fleiss isn’t nearly as modest, proclaiming “I think @TheRachLindsay will be one of the Top 3 Bachelorettes of all time.”
“She is wonderful!!! #TheBachelorette.”
As for her personal hopes for suitors?
“I obviously expect to see a wider pool of African-American men just because that’s me,” Rachel told ET in an interview earlier this year.
“But what I’m excited about is I’m hoping that my cast reflects what America looks like,” she said, and that will be the interesting part.
The announcement of Lindsay as The Bachelorette came after calls for greater diversity by ABC’s president and the show fans alike.
Those pining for the first black Bachelorette got their wish, at last, but Rachel’s race is already the subject of some unexpected controversy.
After the release of the above promotional image, some observers instantly accused the powers that be of lightening her face.
Radar Online quotes celebrity photoshop expert Alan Barry (yes, there celebrity photoshop expert not named Lindsay Lohan) as such:
“There is a certain amount of color saturation that gets washed out by the studio lighting that this was shot with,” he says.
“However, the photo editor has many choices of how to deal with that. Her skin is has been obviously lightened in post production.”
“It is particularly apparent when looking at the the back of her right arm, which almost appears to be close to a Caucasian skin tone.”
Barry calls the work “embarrassing” and “heavily edited” for reasons unknown, but do you think Rachel actually looks that different?
Check out earlier photos of her and decide:
Honestly, we don’t think there’s negative intent here.
Every previous star of the franchise has appeared in similar pic for promotional purposes, all of which look kind of washed out.
As the alleged expert even acknowledges, the studio lighting and production value provides a different look than a candid Instagram shot.
Regardless, this will not be the last race-related story – legitimate or exaggerated – that stems from her trailblazing stint on the series.
This has never been done before, and Rachel Lindsay will be under a microscope in a way that her predecessors never were.
We just hope she’s up to it, and that she’s able to tune out some of the scrutiny and noise while she finds what she’s looking for.