’MasterChef Australia’s Brendan Pang watched his emotional elimination play out on screen on Sunday night, surrounded by his family and one of his biggest sources of support, his boyfriend Nick.
Speaking to HuffPost Australia on Monday, the 26-year-old opened up about his ‘struggle’ coming out as gay two years ago, before sharing some words for other young people in the LBTQIA+ community.
“I think for me, what I am most passionate about is mental health and [people’s] struggle with their identity,” said Brendan.
“It’s something that I struggled with for a long time. I did come out at what most people would think is a later age.
“The support’s been incredible but I just want other people out there to know that there is a lot of support out there and it does get easier.”
In June last year, Brendan opened up about the “dark times” he experienced before coming out at age 24.
“My name is Brendan Pang and I’m 26 years old... but, for as long as I can remember and up until the age of 24 I struggled with my sense of identity,” he wrote on Facebook.
“As a gay male, I had feelings of being ‘different’ very early on, and as I navigated the bumpy road into adulthood, I went through some pretty dark times from feeling pressured to change who I was, to experiencing high levels of social anxiety - oh the list goes on.
“Thankfully, with the help of a strong and supportive network (my family and friends), I was able to not only survive the complexity of mental health, but thrive and become a stronger, happier, comfortable and proud ME.”
As a supporter of the Telethon Kids Institute’s Embrace program (Western Australia’s first research centre devoted to the mental health of children and young people aged 0-25), Brendan said at the time he was sharing his story on social media to raise awareness about mental health issues amongst young people in the LBTQIA+ community.
Throughout this season of ‘MasterChef’, many viewers have shown their support for Brendan:
‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ continues at 7:30pm on Channel 10.
If you or someone you know needs help:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890