Charity Lawson and Zach Shallcross are not a match, as “The Bachelor” revealed during this week’s hometown dates. But longtime fans of the journey know this doesn’t necessarily mark the end of her or anyone’s journey. In fact, it could just be getting started with franchise spinoffs like “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise” and more.
The 26-year-old child and family therapist from Columbus, Ga., graduated from Auburn University. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from AU and currently lives in Charlotte, N.C.
Lawson and Shallcross made an early connection on ABC’s popular reality dating series, as she received a rose during the season premiere. “I am so ready for love,” she said during the first episode. “I want to find my partner. I want to be engaged. I want to start a life with that person. I want someone who treats me good. And definitely someone who can make me laugh.
“I am very eager to get married. I’m confident in what it is that I want, and I am excited for what’s to come.”
Lawson was one of the first few women to appear from the limo and meet Shallcross outside the mansion, and you could hear that Southern accent immediately. “I’m a little nervous, I’m not gonna lie, but I feel a little bit better now that I’m finally here,” she said to the new Bachelor. “My name is Charity and that also means ‘love,’ and I figured what better place to find love than at the Bachelor mansion? And I could not be more excited that it’s you who is the Bachelor, and I hope we get to chat a little more inside.”
She even stole a little time (and a kiss) with Shallcross during the premiere, when she revealed her professional and educational background, something she has in common with his mother, whom he said is a special education teacher. “It’s very difficult,” he said about the field. “There’s only a certain type of person that can do it and keep a smile on their face and treat them great. And you’re like that. I see that in you. You seem like an incredible, awesome woman, and you are absolutely stunning.”
The full season 27 trailer showed Lawson factoring prominently in the remainder of the series, but we sought no spoilers, nor will we upon her exit.
After visiting her hometown in Columbus, Ga., and meeting her family, the time came for the rose ceremony. Upon handing out the first two stems to Ariel and Gabi, it came down to Lawson and Kaity. Shallcross took a minute, glanced back and forth between the woman and ultimately selected Gabi. “I am so sorry, Charity,” Jesse Palmer told Lawson. Shallcross then walked her out to the waiting SUV and expressed remorse. “You don’t have to apologize. It’s OK,” she reassured him. But it only got harder from there -- “like, really hard,” as Lawson put it.
The teary but always-poised AU grad composed herself as they sat to discuss his choice. “I hope you know, from my heart, this is the hardest decision I’ve had to make,” Shallcross said. “I thought I might be making the wrong decision.”
“Don’t say that,” Lawson pleaded. “It’s hard even saying these words right now, but I think I took a big risk obviously coming here and putting my heart out on the line, and I knew that from night one, the moment that you spoke and the moment that I knew it was you, I knew that this experience was going to be something incredible.”
She called it bittersweet, as Shallcross uttered a well-intentioned line that only cut the wound deeper. “I know you don’t want to hear this from me, but you deserve all the love, and I couldn’t give it to you,” he said. “I’m grateful to know you.”
Lawson wished him luck. He thanked her and helped her into the car, as she left the show for good. The waterworks kicked in as the SUV drove away. Even Shallcross shed a few tears. “I don’t really have words, because it doesn’t make sense,” Lawson said in the car. “It makes no f---ing sense to me. Sometimes that’s just the way life goes, and it sucks, but it just means I’m one step closer to finding who I need to be with.”
Her final words left fans with a familiar cliffhanger regarding her romantic future. “My biggest fear is someone saying, ‘I can’t give you the love you deserve.’ I don’t know what that means,” Lawson said. “I don’t know what that freaking means.” The show then teased the “Women Tell All” special, including Charity making an appearance on the “hot seat” where Shallcross appears to speak with her and offer more clarity on their abrupt split.
So where does this leave Charity Lawson in “The Bachelor” universe? What does her reality television future hold? Wholly thoughtful and endearing, Lawson won over fans on night one. The passion for her admirable career created built-in likability, but Lawson earned fan devotion as the show progressed and she charmed viewers, Shallcross and fellow contestants alike. And the breakup always serves as a quasi-audition for a cast member’s potential as lead of the franchise. To no one’s surprise, Lawson handled the disappointment with the obligatory grace she’s displayed throughout season 27. And ABC has long-rewarded public heartbreak with another shot at love. So does this mean we have our new Bachelorette? We hate to end with another cliffhanger, but we know the answer is “to be continued.”
We’ve seen reports of a Bachelor or Bachelorette booked for an upcoming season only for the network to change the plans almost as soon as it’s time to cut the roses. And we’ve yet to see how the remainder of the other women’s stories play out. Will another’s on-screen anguish tug at the heart-strings of producers and viewers enough to solidify that contestant’s stake as the next person entitled to finding love on their own terms? Or do they have their leading woman in Charity Lawson? We know our answer.
READ: 15 times Alabama took over ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’
Here is what ABC shared about Lawson in her official show bio:
“It’s easy to see what makes Charity such a great catch! With a smile that lights up the room, a great career and a sweet personality to match, Charity is the total package! The Georgia beauty takes her name as a call to love and care for people and has built her life on that purpose. Charity is a mental health therapist and is extremely passionate about helping people live their best lives. Now, she is ready to receive the love she gives to so many others! Charity hopes her future husband is honest, loyal and shares similar morals. She says she is really excited to meet Zach and thinks the two of them could be a perfect match on paper. Time will tell if they’re also a perfect match in person!”
The ABC bio also shared three “fun facts” about Lawson:
- Charity’s all-time favorite movie is “The Notebook.”
- Charity wants to move to Walt Disney World one day.
- Charity throws a mean axe.
Ahead of the Jan. 23 premiere, Lawson let the cat out of the bag on Instagram, posting her official show photo and writing, “my best kept secret is out … if you didn’t know, well now you do.” Last week, she posted again, this time sharing a photo of her receiving a rose during the premiere. She wrote, “and so it begins…” with a rose emoji.
After receiving her master’s degree on the Plains, Lawson posted a graduate portrait on Instagram and wrote, “The past 6 years at Auburn, has been an experience of a lifetime, one that I don’t take for granted. I’ve been challenged, pushed and molded into the woman I am today. Looking back on my journey, I’ve met the most incredible people, professors, created the BEST memories, but most importantly, unconsciously, I walked right into my calling.”
She finished with a graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling. “The joy that comes with obtaining a degree the second time around is so much sweeter when you gain confirmation that it is exactly one of the things God has called you to do,” she wrote. “The last two years has challenged me every single day in the areas of personal growth, but also in my professional identity as a therapist. I get the great opportunity as a therapist to love people as Jesus loved. This field of work is so beautiful, and I’m passionate about always advocating for mental health in today’s society.
And yes, she also dropped a “War Eagle!” Will she get that chance on the dating show?
From villainous contestants to lovable leads, Alabama personalities have dominated certain seasons of the long-running reality show, giving the state some well-earned airtime that keeps viewers coming back for more. We ran through Alabama’s biggest connections to “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” which turned 20 last year.
Lawson marks the first Auburn connection since Madison Prewett, a foster parent recruiter and AU graduate (and oldest daughter of Auburn’s director of basketball operations, Chad Prewett), who appeared during season 24 with Bachelor Peter Weber.
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