The Bachelorette's Mike Johnson Reveals the Advice He Gave First Black Bachelor Matt James

Mike Johnson is revealing the words of wisdom he passed along to new Bachelor Matt James.

Johnson — who appeared on season 15 of The Bachelorette, led by Hannah Brown — tells PEOPLE that James first approached him for advice after he was selected as a contestant on Clare Crawley's upcoming season of The Bachelorette. (James, who is beloved Bachelorette star Tyler Cameron's roommate, was among Crawley's initial pool of men before COVID-19 halted production in March. He was tapped as the next Bachelor lead in June.)

The trio hung out when Johnson, 32, visited New York City, and James, 27, asked the former Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise contestant for pointers.

"I gave him advice about remembering to treat a girl how your mother taught you to treat women," Johnson says. "And then of course, your shirt's going to be off at some point in time, so I told him to make sure you have a better body than Tyler!"

Johnson himself was a popular contender amongst fans to become the first Black Bachelor. He told Variety in August that he was "never given a reason" as to why he was not picked to be the lead, but that he did have conversations with ABC about the significance of him taking on the role.

Still, the Air Force veteran supports James' casting — he congratulated James on Instagram shortly after the announcement, and tells PEOPLE he'll be tuning into his and Crawley's respective seasons.

"I want to watch them find their love," he says, adding that he and Connor Saeli, who also appeared on season 15 of The Bachelorette, might plan a live watch party with fans. The pair, who were bunkmates during their time on the dating show, recently moved to Austin, Texas together.

"Connor is great because he's going to get me into the shape that I want to be in," Johnson says. "He's really big on nutrition and working out."

Johnson also previously shared his excitement at the news that Tayshia Adams replaces Crawley on season 16 of The Bachelorette. (Multiple sources have confirmed the switch to PEOPLE.)

"Tayshia is awesome," he told Variety. "She's a wonderful human being. I've spoken to her many times on TV and off TV. I'm obviously a proponent for representation — if she's the new Bachelorette, which it seems almost certain that she is the Bachelorette — this is wonderful. And I know she wants love, I know she's extremely thoughtful in her process of thinking things through and she loves to have fun. She's a wonderful catch. Those suitors will have a great time with Tayshia."

The Bachelorette premieres Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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