The truth about the new Bachelorette Clare Crawley

To say that Peter Weber, a.k.a. Pilot Pete, has had a bumpy ride this Bachelor season would be an understatement — and it's not even over yet. Weber is experiencing turbulence every step of the way, whether drama involving Alayah Benavidez leaving and coming back, Victoria Fuller's off-screen controversy tied to the White Lives Matter movement (which may or may not have been a misunderstanding involving marlins), or a Fantasy Suite ultimatum from Madison Prewett. Amidst all that, fans have been scoping out the contestants to see who would make a great Bachelorette next season.

Well, the wait is over: The 2020 Bachelorette was just announced and it's definitely a wildcard choice. On Good Morning America on March 2, Clare Crawley was named the next franchise lead. *Cue the record scratch.* If you're asking yourself, "Wait, who?", you're probably not alone. That's because Crawley — who's a hairstylist in Sacramento — isn't among the multiple flight attendants who competed for Weber's heart. Heck, she's not even from the past five seasons of the show. So let's take a deep-dive and learn more about the leading lady who will soon be handing out all those roses.

Clare Crawley is a blast from the 'Bachelor' past

So, if Clare Crawley wasn't on Bachelor seasons starring Pilot Pete or fence-jumping Colton Underwood, whose heart did she vie for on reality TV? That would be Season 18's Juan Pablo Galavis. In 2014, Crawley ultimately became the runner-up to Nikki Ferrell. (To quickly recap, Ferrell and Galavis left the show as a couple, but not engaged; they later split after a stint on VH1's Couples Therapy.)

To borrow phrasing from the show, Crawley's Bachelor "journey" didn't end there. Per Us Weekly, she jetted off to Mexico to compete on Bachelor in Paradise Seasons 1 and 2 in 2014 and '15, respectively. She got an interesting edit, where it looked like she talked to a raccoon about drama in her love life. 

In 2018, Crawley returned to the franchise for Bachelor Winter Games, which featured contestants not only from the U.S., but other countries as well. She got engaged to Bachelorette Canada alum Benoit Beauséjour-Savard at the Winter Games tell-all, but they split months later, according to People.

Long story short, she's not a newbie when it comes to hanging with Chris Harrison or being surrounded by roses. In fact, once she becomes the Bachelorette, she'll have spent even more seasons on the show than four-timer Nick Viall, who appeared on the Bachelorette twice and one summer of Bachelor in Paradise before becoming the Bachelor in 2017.

Clare Crawley is already making 'Bachelorette' history

At age 38, Clare Crawley will be the oldest Bachelorette in franchise history, per Variety. The second-oldest was Rachel Lindsay, who led the show in 2017 at age 32. Lindsay made history in another way as the first Black lead on the reality series (and that includes Bachelor seasons as well). The oldest Bachelor lead was 40-year-old Byron Velvick from Season 6, per Insider.

Crawley is already squashing age-related negativity. On Good Morning America (via People), she said, "I feel like a lot of people put it out there as this negative thing. For me, it's just more years under my belt. More years learning and knowing what I want and what I won't settle for." Ultimately, she knows what she wants and it's more than skin-deep. She told GMA, "The biggest thing for me is, honestly, it's all what's on the inside for me... If you line up all the guys I've dated in the past, there's no one type physically. It's more if they go out of their way for me, if they make me feel special. This is about me now. I'm ready for it."

While fans may be surprised by this choice, Crawley isn't the first throwback lead. Arie Luyendyk Jr. was the Bachelor in 2018 after competing on the show six years prior. Sure, that pick made waves initially, but anyone who says Luyendyk Jr.'s finale was boring is 100% lying. Surely Crawley's will be equally entertaining.

Clare Crawley has moved on from past heartbreaks

When Juan Pablo Galavis and Clare Crawley split, it was pretty intense. She told him that she lost respect for him and "would never want [her] children having a father like [him]." Reflecting on that moment, Crawley told Good Morning America on March 2 (via People), "I am that strong woman still, but even more so what is added to that is, like I said, taking off that armor and actually saying I'm strong enough to let someone in and be vulnerable and open up and share that with them."

When Crawley and Benoit Beauséjour-Savard called off their engagement, she held her head high, too. According to E! News, they said in a joint statement at the time, "It's with a heavy heart that we have mutually decided to end our relationship. We think the world of each other, and we were both hoping we could make this work." Instead of spreading drama, they also said, "Just know there are no negative feelings here, we are simply two people who believed in love, and were open enough to give it a chance."

Now, Crawley is ready to give love another shot in a very public way. And as always, Bachelor Nation will just have to tune in (or keep an eye on the inevitable Reality Steve spoilers) to find out how it all plays out.