The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Now that Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams‘ shocking season has come to a close, fans are dying to know who will become the next Bachelorette — so here’s what we know about season 17’s potential leading lady.
“At the Women Tell All taping this past Thursday, Katie Thurston was announced as the next Bachelorette,” Reality Steve claimed on Twitter on Saturday, February 6. Bachelor star Matt James eliminated Katie, 30, during their week 6 one-on-one date.
However, former Bachelor contestant Mariela “Mari” Pepin claimed Steve’s tweet was “false” in a reply on the social media platform. The 24-year-old former beauty queen was eliminated by Matt, 29, during week four of season 25.
Chris Harrison also shut down the rumors during an interview with Extra on February 9. “We did not name her or anybody the next Bachelorette during the Women Tell All special. In fact, we didn’t even talk who was the next Bachelorette,” the ABC personality said. “As far as I know, Katie, nobody has been named the next Bachelorette … and I promise you this, it will not be a part of the Tell All special at all.”
Although it seemed like the rumors were put to rest, Reality Steve claimed Katie was “officially” named the new leading lady during the taping of After the Final Rose, where Emmanuel Acho served as host. However, the franchise has not confirmed.
Katie is probably most recognizable for rendering Tyler Cameron‘s BFF speechless on night one of the season. The bank marketing manager brought her vibrator to the Nemacolin Resort in Pennsylvania where the contestants were staying — which also, in turn, made her a fan favorite right out of the gate.
The Washington native claimed she is “the most loving and committed partner anyone could ask for” in her Bachelor bio, which would make her a great candidate to lead the next season of the ABC series. Katie added that she “needs a man who can laugh along with her” but also wants a partner who can appreciate her skills as a “witty storyteller.”
Ultimately, the once-viral TikToker is “looking for a mature man who has ambitions to succeed in everything he does, both personally and professionally,” according to her bio.
It seems the reality star is also a very empathetic person. She connected with fellow contestant Sarah Trott over Sarah’s father’s battle with ALS. “I understand that more than I would like to,” Katie told her on the show when Sarah spoke about missing her family. “I missed out on my goodbye to my dad. I would never want that for you.” Katie’s father died in 2012.
The Bachelor Nation star also has stood up to bullying this season, which is admirable in any future leading lady. “I want to remind everyone to stay classy in this process because we don’t know our stories,” she told her fellow contestants after speaking with Sarah, 24. “What I don’t want is for her to think she was bullied out of here.”