Is it time for ABC to choose a Bachelor from New Jersey? Fans certainly think so.
On the most recent season of The Bachelorette, Garden State native Olumide Onajide—a 27-year-old IT analyst, personal trainer and model who lives in Newark—was a fan favorite among the 30 men competing for the affections of leading lady Michelle Young.
When Young let him go toward the end of the season (which often ends in an engagement between the Bachelorette and the final contestant), Onajide devotees exploded on social media. They didn’t want to see this genuine, thoughtful, and, yes, hunky contestant leave—and they petitioned for him to be the one handing out roses as the next Bachelor.
“I represented Jersey,” Onajide says. “We’re kind of like the underdogs as compared to every other state. …If they could have a Jersey Bachelor, that would be awesome.”
But fans didn’t get their wish, and Onajide says ABC never approached him about the job.
When another ex-contestant, Clayton Echard, got the gig, some fans grumbled that he was a snoozy choice (although his early-2022 season ended up with a lot of unexpected drama). Many fans, especially those from Jersey, wished Onajide had been hired.
It’s easy to see how Onajide won fans over, and his Jersey roots run deep. Born in Paterson to Nigerian immigrants in 1994, he grew up in Woodland Park, where basketball was a huge part of his life—so much that he went on to play Division I ball for Rutgers, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Public Administration as well as a Master of Public Administration.
“It gave me purpose,” he says of basketball.
Above all, his parents stressed education. “If I couldn’t maintain a certain GPA, my parents had no problem removing me from my sport.”
His parents also told him he’d need to work “20 times, 100 times as hard as other individuals. Even though I’m born here in the U.S., I do have an immigrant name, an African name. Just knowing that it’s already rough in America, knowing that as a Black man, I have to work extra hard, I do what I can to stand up.”
That sentiment was apparent during the Bachelorette Men Tell All special, when another contestant questioned Onajide’s intelligence. Onajide, whose name means “my hero is here,” fired back by proudly stating, “You’re looking at Black excellence right here.”
Before joining The Bachelorette, Onajide was living in Newark and working full-time as an IT analyst, while also modeling and training fitness clients. A stint on TV’s short-lived competition show Ultimate Tag led to his Bachelorette audition. Since he’d been single for a few years, he went for it.
Before packing his bags, Onajide resigned from his IT job, since he didn’t know how long he’d be away filming.
Upon exiting the show, he moved back to Newark and began working full-time as a trainer. He says it’s been “kind of tough adjusting back to my normal routine. It took a good two or three months to snap out of it.”
In addition to work, he’s a “big theme park guy” and in the summer loves going to the Shore, especially Long Branch. He also likes to snowboard with his nieces and nephews at Mountain Creek in the winter.
As for his future with Bachelor Nation? “You never know. The fans might see me again,” he says.
Either way, dating hasn’t been a top priority these days. He says, “My dating life has been slow; I’ve been more focused on myself and elevating my business as a fitness trainer. I haven’t really made myself super available.”