The Bachelor's Matt James Feels 'a Load of Responsibility' as First Black Bachelor: I'm 'Anxious'
Matt James is quickly getting into the groove as the new Bachelor.
In PEOPLE's exclusive sneak of The Bachelor season 25 premiere, airing on Monday, the 29-year-old real estate broker gets comfortable in his historic role as the franchise's first Black leading man.
"How are you?" one of the women asks James.
"I'm great I'm starting to loosen up a little bit," he says. "I was definitely nervous when I was inside giving that toast."
"You did a good job," the contestant says.
"Thank you, thank you," James responds with a smile.
In a confessional, James admits that he's feeling "a little anxious right now."
"It's more excitement, I just want to I'm everything they're' hoping I am," he says.
As James continues to get to know his contestants, one woman gushes over his historical casting.
"I just couldn't imagine myself doing this journey and this experience if it was any other person," she says. "It's important to me to see diverse love stories because It's not something I saw so much growing up as a child."
Another contestant calls James' casting "incredible" and asks him how he feels about it.
"I feel a load of responsibility," James admits. "But in that, I feel like my experience isn't everyone's experience. I can only go and speak on things that I've experienced and live out my truths and do the best I can to represent who I am and how I was raised. "
In a confessional, James says that he hopes his race will play a positive role in his future marriage.
"Being a person of color, it's important to me that someone knows what that's like and embraces it, because that was part of who I am and it's going to be apart of our relationship," he says.
Matt — who was originally included in Clare Crawley's Bachelorette cast — was announced as the next Bachelor in June, and ABC Entertainment's Rob Mills previously teased his season as unpredictable.
"Matt is not on [this] season of The Bachelorette, and the reason why we take leads from a previous season is because you know them so well and we can predict which person he might like or not," he told Variety in October. "But we just didn't know at all, so it was really fun to watch him interact with everyone."
The historical season began filming in September at a resort in Pennsylvania and wrapped just before Thanksgiving.
The Bachelor premieres Jan. 4 on ABC.
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