August 21, 2023
Charity Lawson got her fairytale ending Monday on the season finale of "The Bachelorette" while one of the men she sent packing was offered the not-so-shabby consolation prize of starring on the next season of "The Bachelor."
That new leading man happens to be from the Philadelphia region. Joey Graziadei, a 28-year-old tennis pro from Collegeville, Montgomery County, will be the Bachelor on Season 28 of the hit ABC show.
"The charismatic teaching tennis pro, who won over Bachelor Nation with his honesty and openness to find lasting love, will be handing out roses when the season premieres next year on ABC," the network said.
"As the Bachelor, Graziadei is looking for a life partner who is outgoing, caring, and shares his love for adventure and exploring the outdoors. He loves hiking, surfing and ending his days watching the sunset but knows he has much more love to give, and the only thing missing is someone with whom to share his life."
Graziadei grew up in Montgomery County, attending Spring-Ford Area High School. He then played tennis at West Chester University, where he majored in communications and media studies. He graduated in 2017.
Graziadei moved to Hawaii after college to work as the head tennis pro at a golf club, and then spent time in Tennessee as a sales development representative for a construction company and as an account executive for a payroll company.
But Graziadei's stint in the corporate world did not last long. According to his ABC bio, "this tennis pro quickly realized the corporate world wasn't for him and moved (back) to Hawaii to live his passion of teaching his favorite sport."
After returning to Hawaii, Graziadei has been working as a tennis pro and "lifestyle and experience ambassador" in Koloa, a town on the island of Kauai.
Graziadei told ABC that he enjoys stargazing, golf and country music, and is a "die-hard" Green Bay Packers fan. He appears to still root for some Philly teams though, as he posted an Instagram photo of himself wearing Phillies gear in May.
During Season 20 of "The Bachelorette," Graziadei became a fan-favorite for his charisma and curly-haired good looks. He has spoken about growing up with a dad who came out as gay, and how it made him more "loving and accepting."
The show traveled to Collegeville for Graziadei's hometown date, where he shared his love for his family with Lawson. Graziadei told his feelings of love to Lawson, who reciprocated the sentiments, and often stated that he saw a future with the Georgia native.
The three-hour live finale, which host Jesse Palmer described as one of the most heartbreaking season finales yet, opened in Fiji with Lawson deciding between the final three men: Graziadei, Dotun Olubeko and Aaron Bryant — who was previously sent home but returned for another chance.
At the rose ceremony, Lawson narrowed her choices to Graziadei and Olubeko, saying she was left with "two of the best guys ever." She said she is in love with both and turned to her family to help her find clarity.
Graziadei and Olubeko each met Lawson's mother, father and sister, Mia. Graziadei met the family first and left a stellar impression. He connected with each of them, discussing his family values and what it means to enter an interracial relationship.
"I think Joey could be the one," Lawson said after the date.
In comparison, Olubeko's meeting with the family seemed to fall flat. Lawson's mother said he seemed familiar to other men she had dated, and her sister pointed out she had been glowing when Graziadei was around.
Lawson was disheartened and overwhelmed with her final decision as she entered her final dates with the men, especially after an argument with her family in which they asserted that it was her decision and that they wouldn't tell her who to choose.
During their final evening together, Graziadei gave Lawson a framed poem they made together during an earlier date in New Orleans. Graziadei said he left the date with "no doubts" that he would be proposing to Lawson the following morning, and chose a ring from Neil Lane for the occasion.
On the morning of the proposal, which Lawson described as "one of the hardest days" due to the upcoming breakup, Graziadei gave a pre-proposal speech to Lawson before she stopped him and ended their relationship. She asserted that she loved him but found "deeper" love with another person.
"I wanted to leave here with Charity," Graziadei said during a tearful limo ride home. "It's all I wanted. She gave me every reason to believe it. To get to this point of being ready for something like this, you envision it. And then it just gets taken away like that. I want love, bad. I think it's just shown me how badly I want to be with someone else and get the opportunity to share life with them because that's all I can think of. So I just would ask the universe when is it gonna happen for me?"
Lawson went on to say "yes" to a sweet proposal from Olubeko, and the two appeared together on the live "After the Final Rose" segment to share their future plans. Palmer then announced Graziadei as the next lead, generating roaring applause from the audience.
"You have to take some time to get a little bit more closure," Graziadei said of his readiness to find love after heartbreak. "Watching Dotun and Charity's connection was enough for me."
After being announced as the next Bachelor, Graziadei had the chance to meet one of the contestants who will compete for his heart: Leia, a 23-year-old from Hawaii. In a partner, Graziadei said he is mostly looking for someone who can just be themself.
Members of the Bachelor Nation fandom, who are often vocal about ABC's choices in leads, seemed to give their stamp of approval Monday night on social media.
Literally when was the last time The Bachelor was someone that viewers were actually excited for?? Feeling good about this recent era of Bach Nation#thebachelorette #thebachelor pic.twitter.com/6zCAWEWxs6— Bach Rants (@bach_rants) August 22, 2023
"The Bachelor" Season 28 is slated to air sometime next year. In the meantime, "The Golden Bachelor" premieres on Sept. 28. It airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. and is followed by "Bachelor in Paradise" at 9 p.m.