Bachelor

Clare Crawley Is Our New Bachelorette!

But we might have to wait a bit to actually watch her find love

Update: On March 13, Warner Bros. Television announced that they are halting production on more than 70 shows and pilots, including season 16 of The Bachelorette, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. The show was set to begin filming later that day. In a post to Instagram after the announcement, Crawley shared her thoughts on the news, writing: “Well hello! Talk about most dramatic season ever! In all seriousness, Everyone’s health is the most important priority at this time, and as I’m sure you’ve heard, we are pressing pause for now on filming The Bachelorette.”

“We are taking it day by day and even hour by hour as this is so unpredictable,” she continued. “All I know for sure is that my heart is so full from all the love and support this far, and am still so excited for my journey to begin! I’ve waited 38 years for these moments, what’s a little bit longer, right! xoxo”

The garbage fire that is Peter Weber’s season of The Bachelor may not yet be over, but thankfully Bach Nation fans have *another* lead to look forward to. And it’s an exciting one.

On March 2 the franchise revealed the series’ next Bachelorette: Clare Crawley!

The announcement was made live on Good Morning America and was both a surprise (or as much of a surprise as anything can be with Reality Steve in the mix) and a welcome change. Because Crawley—who was first introduced to fans in 2014 on Juan Pablos Galavis’s season of The Bachelor, making it to the final two before telling him off—is a lovely 38-years-old, making her the oldest lead in the franchise’s history. And, honestly, Jessica from Love is Blind must be *livid* right now. Real talk, though: We’re seriously hoping this *isn’t* what the franchise was referring to when they put out a casting call for seniors looking for love—but we wouldn’t put it past them.

Read this next: Bachelor Peter Is Going To Ruin His Own Dang Season

Crawley—a hairstylist from Sacramento, California—also appeared on seasons 1 and 2 of Bachelor in Paradise, and season 1 of the short-lived Bachelor Winter Games (where she became briefly engaged to Canadian Benoit Beauséjour-Savard).

According to Reality Steve, casting has already begun for Crawley’s season, with the mix of gents skewing towards older, more mature men. Which, honestly, is a very exciting switch up. After *years* of being subjected to contestants that aren’t nearly as emotionally mature as they need to be (we’re looking at you, ladies of Pilot Pete’s season), it’ll be super refreshing to see some adults with actual life experience navigate this bonkers experiment.

Not to mention the fact that in a series that pretty much sees 25 as elderly, it’s a pretty big step out of the franchise’s comfort zone to cast an older woman as a lead. I mean, it shouldn’t be, but here we are. (Next up, let’s please cast a Bachelor or Bachelorette of colour who’s *also* over the age of 25.) Talking about the benefits of her age on GMA, Crawley said: “I feel like a lot of people put it out there as this negative thing, but for me it’s just more years under my belt, more learning, knowing what I want and what I don’t want and what I won’t settle for.”

Read this next: Bachelor Nation Is Officially Over Clare Crawley

Honestly, can’t wait.

I guess this means Bachelor nation isn’t as over Clare Crawley as we thought.