Photo: New York Post
Photo: New York Post

This year's new "Bachelorette" star has been announced – but there's a twist.

Katie Thurston, a 29-year-old bank marketing manager who finished in 11th place during Matt James' season of "The Bachelor" this year, will assume the lead role on the reality dating show this summer, she revealed Monday night during the show's "After the Final Rose" special.

But that isn't all – James' runner-up, 27-year-old elementary school teacher Michelle Young, will also become a "Bachelorette" star in a separate second season this fall.

"We're the Bachelorettes," Thurston and Young announced together.

Photo: Usatoday
Photo: Usatoday

The dual "Bachelorette" announcements came Monday during the taped "After the Final Rose" ceremony, hosted by Emmanuel Acho following news that the longtime host, Chris Harrison, would be "stepping aside for a period of time" over a controversy in which he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist social media posts.

On Friday, ABC announced that Harrison would sit out the upcoming "Bachelorette" season and be replaced by former "Bachelorette" stars, 2020's Tayshia Adams and 2015's Kaitlyn Bristowe.

Who is Katie Thurston?

Photo: Katie Thurston
Photo: Katie Thurston

Even before her Bachelor days, Katie was already a social media sensation thanks to a TikTok video that went viral. In May 2020, Katie posted a video of herself sharing a story about when she “s*** [herself] at work.” She went into pretty extensive detail about the situation, which involved drinking an iced coffee at 3:00 in the afternoon.

What Does Katie Thurston Do For A Living?

Katie may be super candid when it comes to sharing her personal life online, but she also has a steady job. She works as a Bank Marketing Manager in Washington state. In a partner, Katie is looking for someone who is equally as ambitious as she is. “Katie is looking for a mature man who has ambitions to succeed in everything he does, both personally and professionally,” her ABC bio reads. “Nothing turns her off more than someone who sits around playing video games all day.”

Katie Thurston’s Dad Died In 2012

Although Katie has yet to open up to Matt about her father’s passing on The Bachelor, she did talk to Sarah about losing her father on the Jan. 18 episode of the show. Sarah explained that her father was currently suffering from ALS, and admitted it was hard for her to be away from home while filming the show. Katie revealed that she could, sadly, relate all too well to Sarah’s pain.

In 2020, Katie “randomly gained a large audience on TikTok,” according to her Instagram bio. Her TikTok username is @ventwithkatie. Fans can also follow her on Instagram, where she already has more than 100,000 followers, at the handle @ventwithkatiee. Her Twitter is @ventwithkatie, just like TikTok.

How Old Is Katie Thurston?

Katie’s Bachelor bio confirms she was 29 when she filmed the show during the fall of 2020. However, she turned 30 on Jan. 3, according to a Jan. 2 post on her Instagram page. “Today marks the last day of my twenties,” Katie wrote. “Life really does pass by quickly. If I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t be happy with what I accomplished. I followed the ‘rules’ of life. Get a career. Save the money .Start that 401k. Buy the house. And for what? An entire decade to pass without feeling fulfilled? This past year, I finally unapologetically loved who I am. I lost people along the way, and that’s ok. We aren’t meant to please everyone. What I do know is life is too short to feel unfulfilled.”

Who is Michelle Young?

Photo: Instagram
Photo: Instagram

Young graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, in 2015 with a degree in elementary education. In a rare example of someone actually using their college degree exactly how it was intended, the 27-year-old jumped right into molding young minds as an elementary school teacher. According to her official ABC bio, a major focus in Young's career is helping to guide her students to become the next generation of community leaders. This was likely a a core piece of her connection with James, since he's the founder of a nonprofit organization aimed at providing one-of-a-kind culinary experiences to underprivileged kids.

Outside of work, Young's hobbies include hiking, wine tasting, and catching up with friends. She loves checking out new food trucks and ice cream parlors around her home of Minneapolis, her love language is acts of service, and she's a self-described "catchphrase queen."

What else do we know about Michelle?

During her time at Bradley, Young was a star of the women's basketball team. By her senior year, the five-foot-nine point guard was the team's top scorer and also had the year's most steals, per her team bio. With a total of 1,062 points scored throughout her college career, Young became the 13th-highest scorer throughout Bradley athletic history—an impressive follow-up to the all-time season scoring record she set in her senior year at Minnesota's Woodbury High School.

Wait, did she just join Instagram?

Could it be? Is it possible? Is a Bachelor contestant finally truly here for "the right reasons," rather than instant IG fame?! It definitely seems that way, seeing as how Young only joined the app less than a year ago, in April 2020 (???). Since then, she's only posted three more times, including a birthday post for "one of my closest gals" and a tribute to her time as a college basketball star.

That's right: In a shocking twist, her feed contains nary an inspirational quote nor overly filtered photo of the type befitting an aspiring influencer, and not a single mention of her burgeoning reality TV career. BRB, starting a petition to make January 25 a national holiday in honor of the first time a Bachelor contestant arrived on the show with apparently zero intention of quitting her job to peddle detox tea and subscription boxes.

She used the platform sparsely during her time on the show, but she made sure to use it to denounce racism in the aftermath of Rachel Lindsay's controversial interview with Chris Harrison. Lindsay, the statement said, "continues to advocate with 'grace' for individuals who identify as BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] within this franchise...Just because she is speaking the loudest doesn't mean she is alone. We stand with her, we hear her, and we advocate for change alongside her."

**READ MORE: The Bachelor: Cast, How to watch for free, What happens to the girls

About The Bachelor

After meeting Matt James as a prospective suitor for "The Bachelorette," thousands of fans swooned over the would-be cast member. He is the total package. He has strong family values, a great career, and over the past few months, he has used his growing platform for good. Today, Matt announced on "Good Morning America" that he will take on the role as the lead of his own love story as the star of the momentous 25th season of ABC's hit romance reality series, "The Bachelor." While much of Bachelor Nation has fallen in love with him already, many will meet the 28-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder on his journey to find love for the first time.

The North Carolina native went to Wake Forest University, where he majored in economics and played wide receiver for the football team. He went on to play professional football, before moving to New York City, where he now resides. His love of food and passion for giving back led to his creation of an organization that is designed to find creative ways to engage kids from underserved com­munities in New York City, encouraging physical and mental wellness, while also giving them opportunities for new experiences throughout the city. Season 25 of "The Bachelor" is scheduled to premiere in 2021.

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