Coming all the way from Lynnwood, Washington, Katie Lane Thurston seems like she is going to get her fairy tale ending in this newest season of “The Bachelorette,” filmed in the Land of Enchantment.
Thurston first appeared on screen as a contestant of the 25th season of “The Bachelor,” and is now taking over as the newest bachelorette on “The Bachelorette,” which has finished filming at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa. The first episode aired on Monday, June 7.
The resort is located on and owned by the Santa Ana Pueblo. According to Hyatt, the resort was named after the ancient Tamayame people of the area. However, in the first episode, the show does not explicitly state that the resort is on Santa Ana Pueblo land, even though much of the New Mexican culture is conveyed through Indigenous architecture and art.
In 2019, the resort also completed a renovation that aimed to highlight both the resort's collection of Native American artifacts and the view of the Sandia Mountains, according to an article in the Albuquerque Journal. This again reflects the necessity to acknowledge the community from which the show is profiting.
In the first episode, viewers got a brief glimpse of what New Mexico has to offer. With the mountains in the background, Tre Cooper, a contestant on the show, marveled at the landscape.
“It’s just a wonderful place that fosters love — all the views, the mountains in the backdrop,” Cooper said. “It’s crazy to think that all of our stories start here.”
Although viewers were able to get a sneak peak of the area surrounding Tamaya, the first episode — which traditionally does not feature any dates or excursions — did not show much of New Mexico’s natural landscape or the exterior of the resort. Viewers were only able to see the Sandia Mountains and a brief aerial view of the resort grounds.
The majority of the episode takes place inside Tamaya, and snippets of New Mexican culture are showcased by the interior design, with the background adorned with a mixture of Native and non-Native artwork, blankets and other décor, including horno ovens.
Short scenes of the exterior building display a small glimpse of New Mexican Pueblo adobe architecture. This may only be the first episode, but there is much more of New Mexican history and culture that needs to be seen, such as Route 66 or Albuquerque Old Town.
In the promotional video for upcoming episodes, we not only see Thurston’s journey finding love, but also some of the activities taking place in New Mexico, such as the burning of Zozobra, as well as classic shots of the Sandias and the Bosque.
The Tamaya resort itself sits on around 550 acres of land and along with its fine dining, there are numerous site activities that Thurston can take part in on her dates. From hot air balloon rides to horseback riding, the New Mexican experience is waiting for Thurston and this season’s contestants.
The episode showcases New Mexico as a romantic, beautiful place, which it is. However, it fails to acknowledge the history and Indigenous culture of which both the imagery and Tamaya is profiting from, leaving a gaping hole in its wake.
Hopefully as the season progresses, “The Bachelorette” will pursue a deeper dive into New Mexico’s rich and authentic community, doing justice to its historical lands and cultures.
Tina Memarian is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo
Zoe Perls is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @zoeperls