By Ed Diokno
Jon Hamilton will be one of the few Asian guys to compete on The Bachelorette.
He’ll make his debut this May 23 on the pop phenomenon along with 24 other dudes who all look like they all popped out of GQ cover shoot. Oh, when are they ever going to pick an average-looking guy, with a little gut hanging over the belt?
Thursday morning, ABC released cast photos and biographies for the next season of The Bachelorette, starring Bachelor runner-up JoJo Fletcher. One of these 25 contestants captured our attention immediately: Jonathan Hamilton, a 29-year-old technical sales rep, appears to be one of very few men of East Asian descent to have appeared on the Bachelor franchise.
According to Reality Steve, the blogger extraordinaire, the Vancouver contestant graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2013 with a B.A. in history and now he’s a sales rep for HVAC Solutions. Hamilton also studied mechanical engineering at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Among the attributes Jon listed was “great hair.” No argument there. I’m jealous.
We’re not sure if he made the right impression with this year’s Bachelorette, JoJo Fletcher, who barely lost out being chosen as The One in the previous season. Jon showed up wearing a kilt! A KILT!
I’m sure he got JoJo’s attention and maybe that’s a clever strategy to stand out from the other contestants and to show that he’s not your stereotypical Asian nerd. On the other hand, he may be trying too hard.
His official ABC biography reveals Jon has tattoos (two of them, in fact: “my grandma on my inner arm and a tiger and Asian artwork on my left shoulder”), demonstrating his ying and yang nature. His favorite authors are J.D. Salinger and R.L. Stine and that he doesn’t believe gluten allergies are “real.”
Without any confirmation from The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, the last time anybody could recall when an Asian contestant was in the show was in the second season in 2004. The Texas dentist Andy Chang, who is Chinese American, was eliminated in the first week, with the dubious distinction of being the only contestant who didn’t have the opportunity to meet with the Bachelorette alone.
How will Hamilton fare this time? That’s anybody’s guess. Not much has changed the harmful stereotype since 2004 except for a couple of romantic roles portrayed by Asian men on television. Is that enough to overcome the stereotype that has haunted Asian males since the Chinese worked on the transcontinental railroad.
Producers had a chance to star Filipina American Caila Quinn, who finished third in last season’s Bachelor behind JoJo Fletcher and Lauren Bushnell, the woman who won the Bachelor’s heart. Filming had started and rumors were flying all over the Internet claiming Cailla was the next Bachelorette but a last minute social media drive by JoJo’s fans squashed the opportunity for the producers to break new ground. “Daring” is not an adjective you can attach to The Bachelor/Bachelorette enterprise.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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