When TVNZ announced its first ever Bachelorette and she was a 32-year-old doctor and a woman of colour, I - and many others - were over the moon.

Finally. Diversity. And not just the token kind, or the kind where the only woman of colour becomes the series villain, but the kind where a woman with Samoan, Caribbean and Lebanese heritage can have the lead role.

And Doctor Lesina Nakhid-Schuster did not disappoint - she burst onto our screens like a breath of fresh air, joking and laughing and - more importantly - demanding her worth.

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She was so instantly loved by viewers that many took to social media after the show's first episode to lament the fact that none of the hopeful contestants were good enough for her.

Now, we know why.

Last night, the show dropped the bombshell that Lily McManus is joining as a second Bachelorette, and that half the men had been cast for Lesina, and the other half for Lily - which explains why they brought in a bunch of 20-year-olds for a woman looking for someone at the same stage of life as her.

Until now, Lesina has been getting to know the guys not just for herself, but with Lily in mind, under instructions not to eliminate anyone the 22-year-old reality star might like. Host Art Green was even in on the act, to help Lesina identify the guys that might be Lily's type.

I cannot be the only person who has a problem with this.

So here we are, finally, with a strong-minded, confident, independent, intelligent, successful, beautiful woman of colour… being upstaged by a Pakeha woman who's already done two Bachelor stints and Celebrity Treasure Island.

Now, don't get me wrong, Lily is great. I'm her biggest fan and have declared my love for her many times. I was also among the throngs of Bach fans gunning for her to be our first Bachelorette because she's bloody quality.

But what I don't understand is why Lesina, after being cast, couldn't have the spotlight to herself, why Lily couldn't have been saved for the inevitable second season and why Lesina had only half the suitors she could have had so the rest could be saved for Lily?


I get that it's a reality show and the chances of anyone actually being there for love are pretty slim, but if Lesina were really looking for someone, why would they make her also scout around for her mate? And at any rate, why should Lesina have to put in the legwork for Lily?

When she was cast, Lesina told the Woman's Day she applied for the show without hesitation, but would've never considered The Bachelor because "everyone who knows me understands that wouldn't be my thing - I wouldn't ever like the idea of competing with other girls".

The second Lily walked in, the men in the house were instantly switched from being at Lesina's mercy to having their "pick" of women, which I'm pretty sure is the complete opposite of the point of The Bachelorette.

There were remarks about how the guys had "better chances" now, saying things like "this opens up the playing field" and "this changes the game".

Glenn - who, frankly, has no business being in the proximity of either of these two - went full dudebro saying, "this is like a two for one special!"

He continued: "I haven't had two women at the same time yet so this could be my chance". He then asked if the women were "together" or "just friends". Ugh.


We then cut to the boys asking Lesina to tell them more about Lily, which, as we all know, is obviously what every woman wants to hear.

I'm mad from a racial diversity perspective, in that we finally got a woman of colour in a lead role but she's had to make room for a Pakeha woman, as if she can't hold the throne - or perhaps audience ratings? - on her own.

I'm mad from a feminist perspective, in that both of these women are absolute queens who deserve their own spotlight and the space to make their own choices, but instead are faced with swathes of male mediocrity and have been pitted against each other whether they meant to be or not.

And I'm mad from a viewer perspective, that producers seemed so intent on squeezing in a franchise "first" that they didn't think about what it might mean to the rest of us.