Michelle Young, a 27-year-old elementary-school teacher from Edina, didn't win Matt James' heart on the final episode of The Bachelor that aired Monday night on ABC, but she did wind up being selected as a future lead for an upcoming season of The Bachelorette.
Young, who was an all-state basketball star at Woodbury High School before going on to play college basketball in Chicago, was the runner-up to Rachael Kirkconnell on Matt James' season, which didn't end with roses for the first Black bachelor in the show's history.
James picked Rachael Kirkconnell over Young, though he didn't get engaged and wound up breaking up with Kirkonnell after it was revealed that she attended a racist fraternity party in 2018 that had an antebellum plantation theme.
As for Young, she was so sweet that she made James' mother cry tears of joy, then rappelled down a giant building with James, made out with the Bachelor in a horse-drawn carriage and then got her heart smashed on national TV when James revealed that he wasn't in love with her.
During the After the Final Rose episode that aired immediately after the season finale, Young revealed that she wanted 2 minutes after their breakup to gain closure, but James denied her the opportunity to talk.
"I asked if I could talk to Matt for 2 minutes — and not to change his [mind], to not get in the way of the relationship that he was pursuing that was still there. Just for me to say my piece," said Young. "But he refused to have that conversation with me."
Young handled the entire situation with grace, and it wound up paying dividends in the end as she was named one of the next two stars of The Bachelorette.
"We're the bachelorettes," Young and Katie Thurston announced together. Thurston, who was also on James' season, will be the star of the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, while Young will follow as the lead of the following season.
"I am ready," Young said. "I'm just excited. I'm ready to get started."