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21/12/2020 7:14 PM AEDT | Updated 06/01/2021 11:35 AM AEDT

MasterChef Australia Star Poh Ling Yeow's Identity Revelation: 'I've Never Identified As Being Female Or Asian'

Poh has previously opened up about her struggles growing up as a “migrant kid” after moving to Australia from Malaysia at age nine.

Supplied/FYeung
‘MasterChef Australia’ star Poh Ling Yeow has spoken about the “complexities of identity” in an interview with TV presenter, Stan Grant.

‘MasterChef Australia’ fan favourite Poh Ling Yeow has spoken about the “complexities of identity” in a candid interview with Stan Grant. 

The 47-year-old, who is proud of her Malaysian Chinese heritage, shared a preview of her appearance on ABC’s ‘One Plus One’ on Monday, saying it was a “2020 highlight” to speak to Stan about a topic “very close” to her “heart”. 

Poh has previously opened up about her struggles growing up as a “migrant kid” after moving to Australia from Malaysia at age nine. 

In the promo for her new interview, she spoke about how she’s been perceived during her rise to fame after first appearing on ‘MasterChef’ in 2009. 

“I knew it worked to my advantage to play to what I looked like,” she said. 

“I’ve never really identified as being female or Asian. I just want to do interesting things.”  

The ABC hinted the cooking star would speak about identity in the interview.

“Poh Ling Yeow is many things - a chef, an artist, and a TV presenter. But she’s also someone who pushes back against labels, describing herself as a ‘creative, fluid being’,” a media briefing read. 

Watch the promo below: 

Back in May Poh opened up about her struggle growing up as a “migrant kid”, saying she had very few people to look up to in her formative years, but now she can be the role model she didn’t have back then. 

“THE TIME IS NOW. Growing up as a migrant kid I had so few role models,” she wrote, alongside an image which featured five Asian Australian contestants competing in a ‘MasterChef’ immunity challenge.

“I dreamt of being blonde and blue eyed, fantasised about having long legs and was ashamed of the shape of my nose and my face.

“But today we get to be this for anyone who’s ever felt on the outer.” 

In July Poh spoke about paving her own career path and wanting to inspire young Asian Australians to pursue creative jobs. 

“I want to be an example to a new generation of Asian Australian parents to let them know their kids are capable of creating a diverse and rewarding career path out of their own choosing,” she told HuffPost Australia at the time. 

“Many Asian kids steer away from an artistic or creative career because there’s a lot of cultural pressure not to go there.” 

Poh said young people in Asian households often face pressure from parents to follow an academic career path or one that is deemed more socially acceptable in their culture. Examples could be becoming a doctor, lawyer or accountant, while creative careers are often discouraged. 

“So to those people, I want to say [that] I want to be an example that you can create a career out of something that you love, and don’t let that older generation pressure you into thinking it’s not possible,” she said. 

“I feel like that’s another conversation that needs to happen as well and just to encourage these younger generations to just go for it.

“The time is now to pursue what you want and what you love, and you’ll be good at it. That’s what you have to remember. You can only be good at things that you love. That’s something that I have quite a lot of time to mentor kids about.”

Poh studied design at university before working as a graphic designer, makeup artist and illustrator. 

“I worked as a freelance graphic designer and makeup artist for many years before pursuing full-time painting,” she said. “I was about six years into my art career and earning a decent steady income. It was around that time that I also started becoming obsessed with food.” 

She then auditioned for ‘MasterChef Australia’ in 2009 when her friend Sarah suggested it, and placed second behind Julie Goodwin.

In 2020 she returned for the all-stars ‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ season and finished in sixth place. 

Poh’s interview on ‘One Plus One’ airs Monday night at 8pm on ABC. 

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