Someone is making their mark on Matt James! *Warning: spoilers ahead.* During the Bachelor premiere on Monday, January 4, the season 25 leading man gave his coveted first impression rose to contestant Abigail Heringer, according to Reality Steve.

Beyond impressing Matt, the 25-year-old is making franchise history as the first openly hearing disabled person in Bachelor Nation. Abigail was born deaf and now wears cochlear implants. “I was surprised she was willing to share her story about her hearing loss,” her mother, Suzie, told the Salem Statesman Journal in an October 2020 interview. “It’s something she usually doesn’t talk much about.”

Matt James' 'Bachelor' Contestant Abigail Heringer Made Franchise History — Get to Know Her!
ABC/Craig Sjodin

While Abigail is still somewhat of a mystery to viewers, her official ABC biography fills in some pretty important blanks. “Abigail is a beautiful soul from the Pacific Northwest who says that nothing makes her happier than enjoying a cold local microbrew on a beautiful Oregon day,” the excerpt begins. “Having a hearing impairment never stopped Abigail from living her life to the fullest. She loves being outdoors, and when she’s not working, she loves to spend time with family whom she says bring out the best side of her.”

Of course, when it comes to finding everlasting love, Abigail has some set criteria. “She says she is looking for a man who will lift her up and make her feel like it’s just the two of them in the whole wide world,” her biography adds. “Good looks are definitely a plus, but Abigail says that getting to know someone on a deeper level is far more important in a successful relationship.”

Apparently, the brunette beauty “doesn’t believe in love at first sight,” but we suspect Matt may change that! As it happens, the leading man, 29, admitted he’s never been in love … at first sight or otherwise! “It’s not that he hasn’t said ‘I love you’ before. I think the problem with him is he realized being the Bachelor, he had never fully understood what it means. He didn’t understand the weight of it,” host Chris Harrison told Us Weekly in November 2020.

“He is a different man than when he came to us in and he got really a crash course because he didn’t get the few steps of being on the show. He really just ripped the Band-Aid off and sometimes that hurts a little bit. So, I think he had a bit of a rude awakening of the man he is, the way he loves [and] what love means to him,” Chris, 49, continued. “It really is an amazing journey you’re going to take with Matt, not just as the Bachelor but also as this man who realizes, ‘Wow, OK, this is love and this is what it means and I’m really here to find this.’”

Be sure to tune in to new episodes of The Bachelor on ABC on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET.