Tayshia Adams Discusses Race on ‘The Bachelorette’ & in Her Relationship with Zac Clark

Tayshia Adams and Zac Clark on 'The Bachelorette.'

ABC/Craig Sjodin Tayshia Adams and Zac Clark got engaged on 'The Bachelorette.'

It is hard to mention Bachelor Nation these days without discussing race, as recent controversies have forced the dating franchise to reckon with its treatment of cast members of color.

As one of the franchise’s few leads of color, and the only one who has reached one million followers on Instagram, Tayshia Adams’ season tackled serious issues, including those around race, with more frankness than previous seasons.

In an interview with Marie Claire, the former Bachelorette opened up about broaching these topics on camera and in her subsequent relationship with fiance Zac Clark.

Adams Discussed the Black Lives Matter Movement on ‘The Bachelorette’

In a moment largely praised by viewers, Adams got emotional on the show while discussing the Black Lives Matter movement with her top three finalists, Ivan Hall.

“BLM was a big conversation that I wanted to have surrounding any of the guys that I was with,” she explained to the publication. “Not because it was a hot topic, but because we were experiencing it. It touched on my heartstrings, and I feel like it was a conversation that would show me where people stood.”

While she pondered why she got so emotional speaking with the fan-favorite suitor, she describes thinking, “I’m sharing that burden with him.”

Hall and Adams related to each other about being biracial. The engineer is Black and Filipino, while Adams is Black and Mexican.

“I was in millions of homes of people who haven’t really seen any of these conversations go down or been exposed to any of this type of talk,” explained Adams, who hopes it shined at least “a little bit of light.”

She has continued tackling these issues, speaking out in support of franchise host Chris Harrison’s choice to step aside following a largely criticized Extra interview in which he wrote in an apology on Instagram “perpetuates racism.”

“I’m going to show up and I will speak my mind if I’m being asked,” she told the outlet, saying she would attend future protests like the one she did following George Floyd’s death. Though, she added she does not see herself as an activist as she is still learning. Instead, she said, “I’m more so in the realm of teaching people just to love one another, no matter who it is.”

Clark Has Not Previously Dated a Black or Mexican Woman

At the end of her season, Clark got down on bended knee and proposed to Adams. Both have been previously married.

Speaking to Marie Claire, Clark, who is white, admitted this was his first time dating a Black or Mexican woman. Yet, he recognized that should they have kids one day, those kids would be mixed-race.

“So, I’m trying to understand and educate myself and talk to [Tayshia] about her experience growing up and what could have helped her and understand that that’s going to be a different experience than I had,” he shared.

Noting it is “all new in some way,” he continued, “When she walked in the room [her race] wasn’t my first thought. My first thought was, Wow, she’s gorgeous, and getting to talk to her and getting to know her, I was attracted to a lot of things, one of which is the ability to have these types of conversations.”

One of the experiences she had, as she shared with the publication, was in seventh grade when “this kid said he wouldn’t sit in my desk because I sat there, and he was Purell-ing the desk.”  She said the experience lefter her embarrassed, worried if she discussed it others would think the same thing.

Once married, Adams would be the first person of color in his family, though she says “his dad welcomes me with the biggest arms.” That same level of acceptance is something she describes as missing in her first marriage, a situation that she just “swept under the rug.”

Adams’ Time as Bachelorette Addressed Other Serious Topics

Adams’ time on ‘The Bachelorette’ tackled many issues, among them mental health and addiction.

Her runner-up, Ben Smith, disclosed his battle with an eating disorder. He also opened up about attempting to commit suicide twice in the aftermath of an injury that sidelined his military career.

Her fiance, Clark, is not only a recovering addict but runs a sober living facility in New York, Release Recovery.

She now lives mostly in New York City with Clark. Seeing his work has inspired the Click Bait podcast host.

“Seeing how he interacts with his clients has been eye-opening,” she told Marie Claire. “You have to be so strong in your sobriety and all of your inner demons to be a [role] model. That’s made me want to start helping. If there’s anything I want to be known for, it’s giving back to the younger community. I want to help kids from abused homes and girls who are transitioning from teenagers to adults who have low self-esteem.”

Through her podcast and career aspirations as a television host, Adams will likely keep fans included in some of these hard-hitting conversations.

READ NEXT: Rachel Lindsay Weighs in on Chris Harrison ‘Stepping Aside’ After ‘Extra’ Interview

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