ENTERTAINMENT
20/04/2020 5:23 PM AEST | Updated 21/04/2020 1:20 AM AEST

TV Host Kumi Taguchi Speaks About Coronavirus Racism Fears And Her 'Lowest Point' During Pandemic

"I think so much stress comes from feeling you can’t say what’s going on."

Instagram/kumikotag
Television presenter Kumi Taguchi

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In a time of uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic, Australian television host Kumi Taguchi said “honesty and vulnerability” are what drove her to sharing an important social media post last week. 

The presenter of ABC’s ‘Cuppa With Kumi’ admitted she almost didn’t upload a crying selfie that showed her at her “lowest point” as she came to terms with how drastically life has changed since the Covid-19 outbreak. 

“I hesitated whether I should post it or not. I have always had these kind of mixed feelings about the perfect world we tend to emulate on social media,” the 44-year-old told HuffPost Australia. 

“And I thought, well I think this is a time that honesty and vulnerability should be shown and hopefully it encourages other people to feel like what they’re feeling is normal or ok.” 

Alongside the image of her shedding tears, Kumi had written: “This is me after reading that we might not be able to travel internationally until next year.

“For me, that’s been my hope, the thing I cling to.”

The TV personality had also said she was “grateful for what I have and I know there are people far worse off then me”, but “right now I just feel like this photo.. I am sad and disappointed and I feel a deep grief.”

“That’s probably my lowest point in this whole change of life,” Kumi admitted during her interview with us on Monday. “I’m doing better and I think it was a build up of [of emotions].”

She said while she logically understood why social distancing measures and travel bans were in place, it was pushing away the emotions that eventually led to her “sobbing” in that photo.

“Normal things I used to kind of get semi-ok pleasure from, everything was becoming a stress,” she admitted.

“Since then I feel calmer because I’ve been able to say my truth if that makes sense. I think so much stress comes from feeling you can’t say what’s going on.”

Kumi also spoke about the increased wave of racism during the coronavirus crisis, and said while she hasn’t faced any discrimination herself, she’s often feared what reaction she may receive in public because of her Japanese heritage. 

“A couple of weeks ago I started thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, will I get targeted?’ I had anxiety about how I looked and if I’m in the supermarket buying toilet paper, am I going to get targeted?” she said.

“I definitely had that anxiety, especially if I had a face mask on. I felt like I could be the target of something.”

Branding the increased Covid-19 related racism “so disappointing”, she took aim at US President Donald Trump’s recent remarks about the virus.

“I’ve got to say, I think it would be quite frightening for people and then it doesn’t help that leadership [in inverted commas] in the US stirs up this rhetoric of the Chinese virus and stuff like that,” she said. 

Chris Jackson via Getty Images
Kumi Taguchi and Nate Byrne Hosting during the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Opening Ceremony at Sydney Opera House on October 20, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. 

She also returned to the rational versus emotional reactions she’s observed in herself before and during this crisis. 

“My rational brain knows that racism is hopefully a small section of society and we can say ignorance or all that kind of stuff.

“But the emotional side of it is still as a 44 year old – and I’m quite comfortable in my skin and confident in who I am – there will still be situations where I just go, ‘I wonder if I would be treated this way if I wasn’t Asian-looking or if I was white?’” 

On Monday Kumi’s new Instagram live show, ‘Cuppa With Kumi’, premiered on the ABC’s social media account. Filmed from her own home study with special guests each episode, the show’s purpose is to provide “a live touchpoint” to audiences during this tough time.

“Having a cup of tea is my happy place,” she said, referring to the 3:30pm time slot. 

Ours too, Kumi.