The time has finally come! There have been weeks, maybe even months, of speculating and debating which woman from Ben Higgins' season of The Bachelor would — or should — become The Bachelorette based on her time on the show. Now, she has finally been announced: JoJo is the new Bachelorette. But at age 25, is JoJo the youngest Bachelorette in the history of the franchise? Short answer: No.
Long answer: Technically, she's tied at 25 for being the youngest Bachelorette in the history of the series. Before this announcement, the youngest Bachelorette before JoJo was Season 6's Ali Fedotowsky, who was 25 when she lead the franchise. After Fedotowsky, four Bachelorettes were tied for second youngest at 26: DeAnna Pappas from Season 4, Ashley Hebert from Season 7, Emily Maynard from Season 8, and Andi Dorfman from Season 10. Plus, according to A Dash of Data, the average age of Bachelorettes is 27, with the ages of the leading ladies throughout 11 seasons ranging from 25-31.
So while JoJo will mark the youngest Bachelorette yet, that definitely shouldn't be viewed as a bad thing in any way and here's why.
It Makes Sense
Ben was one of the youngest Bachelors — he's tied for that honor with Season 5's Jesse Palmer — and as a result, his contestants were young as well, with an average age of 25.07 (though they were not the youngest group of ladies in the history of the franchise). Still, since Ben was a young Bachelor, and his contestants were on the younger side, it makes sense that the next Bachelorette would be young as well. It gives the seasons of each show, which are sort of paired together since JoJo appeared on Ben's season, a consistency in the ages of the contestants and, probably, a similar tone.
Age Is Only A Number
Age doesn't determine whether or not someone is ready to find the person they'll marry and settle down with — emotional maturity is much more important. Now, it's debatable whether Ben necessarily had the emotional maturity needed to find a partner for life on The Bachelor, but he certainly took the process seriously, and I'm sure the same can be said of JoJo. (Plus, being older isn't necessarily a recipe for certain success on the show anyway.)
Younger Audiences Can Relate
The Bachelor isn't the same show it was when it first premiered 20 seasons ago, and The Bachelorette isn't the same as it was 11 seasons ago. But, if the show is going to continue, it's going to have to win over new audiences, perhaps younger audiences who will continue to watch the franchise. I'll be the first to admit that Ben won me over at least partially with the fact that he was my age when he went on Kaitlyn Bristowe's season of The Bachelorette. A younger Bachelorette (either in age or attitude) could certainly go a long way in helping those mid-20s viewers relate to the people on the show — even if dating 20+ men at once on TV is something most of us won't experience.
So, though it may be a slight change of pace for The Bachelorette to feature a woman as young as JoJo, it shouldn't affect the series much at all, and definitely not in a bad way.
For more on The Bachelorette, check out Bustle's podcast Will You Accept This Podcast?
Images: Kelsey McNeal, Matt Dunn/ABC; bachgifs/Tumblr (2)