Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell caught Matt James’ eye the moment she stepped out of the limo on night one. Learn about her job, hometown and more below!

She’s From the South But Loves to Travel

Rachael, 24, is from Cumming, Georgia. She’s a “southern sweetheart with a close-knit family,” according to her ABC bio, but appears to do quite a bit of traveling. Her Instagram — @rachaelkirkconnell — is full of photos from the Caribbean, Charleston, New York City and more. 

Who Is Rachael Kirkconnell on Matt James Season of The Bachelor
ABC/Craig Sjodin

She’s Well-Educated

The season 25 contestant attended Georgia College & State University and graduated in April 2019. She now works as a graphic designer. She clearly has an artistic spirit because her ABC bio says her “favorite way to pass the time is by doodling.”

She and Matt Have Something in Common

Rachael and Matt, 29, both revealed they have never been in love before. However, “she is a hopeless romantic” and “believes” the Wake Forest graduate could be her guy. 

“Rachael is hoping that her love story will be something huge and life altering. She wants to look back on her life when she’s old and feel like she has made the absolute most out of every single day,” her bio reads. 

That being said, she also wants a supportive partner for the good and bad times. “At the end of the day, love is what makes your life more special than others,” she told ABC. “Life can be hard and really difficult and dark at times, but if you have someone by your side that loves you more than they love themselves, that makes it all worth it in the end.” 

As for Matt, he knows exactly what he’s looking for. He told Good Morning America in June he wants his future partner to have the same “qualities” his “mom embodies,” including being “selfless, honest, caring [and] compassionate.”

“Those are qualities found in women all shape, sizes and races, and it’s not a Black or white thing,” the real estate analyst said. “So, I’m hoping that when that limo pulls up there is a lot of diversity, and I see every type of woman coming out of that limo.”

Rachael Is Being Accused of Past Racist Behavior

Shortly after The Bachelor aired on January 4, a woman on TikTok claimed Rachael once bullied her for “liking Black men.” Later, on January 26, another woman on TikTok accused Rachael of “liking” racist photos on Instagram, including an image of two people posing in front of a Confederate flag.

On February 7, it was revealed Rachael attended an “Old South” plantation party at Georgia College & State University in 2018. All of the women at the party were dressed in Antebellum-style gowns. She issued a public apology on Thursday, February 11 — read it here.

Although Matt has yet to comment on Rachael attending the party, he did address the previous allegations. “I have not spoken to anybody since the show ended, but I would say that you have to be really careful about what you are doing on social media,” he told Entertainment Tonight on February 2. “Rumors are dark and nasty and can ruin people’s lives. So, I would give people the benefit of the doubt, and hopefully she will have her time to speak on that.”

Speaking with The Sun, Rachael’s cousin Anastasia called the photos from the plantation party “hard to defend,” but insisted Rachael is “not racist.”

On February 9, Chris Harrison weighed in on the controversy surrounding Rachel. “First and foremost, I don’t know,” the longtime host, 49, told Bachelor Nation personality Rachel Lindsay on Extra.

“I haven’t talked to Rachael about it. And this is, again, where we all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I’ve seen some stuff online — again this judge-jury-executioner thing — where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents and her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this,” Chris continued. “I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. And until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this?”

Rachel, 35, countered that her attending the Old South party in 2018 isn’t a “good look,” to which Chris replied, “You’re 100 percent right in 2021. That was not the case in 2018. And again, I’m not defending Rachael. I just know that, I don’t know, 50 million people did that in 2018. That was a type of party that a lot of people went to. And again, I’m not defending it; I didn’t go to it.”

Chris later issued an apology for his comments after receiving a great deal of backlash from Bachelor fans and alumni.

How Far Does She Make It? (WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!)

Rachael makes it to the final two, according to Reality Steve. The gossip outlet says there are rumors circulating around her hometown of Cumming that she and Matt are now engaged. However, Reality Steve notes he’s not “100 percent sold” on that.  

Be sure to tune in to new episodes of The Bachelor on ABC on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET, and for more major season 25 spoilers, click here.