'The Bachelor' Newcomer Michelle Young May Have Instantly Stolen Matt James' Heart

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Andrea Park
·4 min read
'The Bachelor' Newcomer Michelle Young May Have Instantly Stolen Matt James' Heart
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From Marie Claire

Spoilers for Matt James's season of The Bachelor below. Because the one thing every reality show needs is even more drama, the powers that be over at ABC blessed viewers of this season of The Bachelor by unceremoniously throwing in five more women to compete for Matt James' heart. The new contestants arrived via limo at the Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania, during the season's fourth episode on Jan. 25, after two rose ceremonies had already come and gone and the original pool of 32 contestants had been whittled down to 18 remaining copywriters, hairstylists, and queens. Among this group of new additions was Michelle Young, one of the final four women who makes it to the hometown-visiting penultimate stage of the season, if the rampant rumors floating around about James' season are to be believed. Here's what we know about her.

She's a teacher.

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 might be 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." Can't wait to see what one-liners she throws out while inevitably clashing with this season's very feisty group of women!

Photo credit: Craig Sjodin - ABC
Photo credit: Craig Sjodin - ABC

She was a Division 1 basketball player.

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.

On top of all of this, Young maintained impressive grades, earning a place on the Bradley Athletic Director's Honor Roll each of her eight semesters as a student-athlete. No big deal or anything.

She's an Instagram novice.

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."

She makes it all the way to James's final four.

On the Feb. 15 episode, Young was selected by James as one of his final four contestants. Her response? "Before I make my toast, I just do want to make sure that I look good for the camera. So I'm going to knock out a few push-ups real quick." (I love her.)

Spoilers ahead. Per Reality Steve, Young does not win the season, but she comes very close. "I was told 'Michelle and Rachael were final 2, and Rachael wins," Reality Steve posted early on the season. He's referring here to Rachael Kirkconnell, widely believed to be the winner of James's season.

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