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EXCLUSIVE: Melissa Leong reveals why her Gold Logie nomination is a "massive symbol" for people of colour

''It's a distinct honour.''

By Laura Masia
Compared to the other TV WEEK Gold Logie nominees, Melissa Leong is the new kid on the block.
After first appearing on our screens on SBS' A Chef's Line in 2017, the 40-year-old went on to host MasterChef Australia alongside Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen in 2020.
With her charm, wit and eloquence, it wasn't long until the food writer became a favourite.
"It's not who I am as a person to expect these sort of things," Melissa says of her Gold Logie nomination. (Image: TV WEEK)
Despite her popularity, Melissa admits being nominated for the Most Popular Personality On Australian Television took her completely by surprise.
"It's not who I am as a person to expect these sort of things," she tells TV WEEK.
"I think if you ask most people from a Chinese background, we don't dare to dream about that stuff. You appreciate good fortune in your life as it is – anything else is just something wonderful that happens."
While Melissa is elated by her nomination, she's quick to recognise her dear friends and co-stars Jock and Andy.
"It's not lost on me that this acknowledgement comes for a job that very much requires the three of us to really succeed," she says.
Melissa's nomination step in the right direction for diversity and representation on the small screen. (Image: TV WEEK)
"We're lucky to have the chemistry and friendship we have, and the way we are, and the way we're able to fly is with the support of the other two. I think that's true for each of us."
But on a larger scale, Melissa's nomination is so much bigger than her. It's a huge step in the right direction for diversity and representation on the small screen.
"While there's a tremendous sense of achievement in the Gold Logie, what's more meaningful is that no woman of colour has won. Just to be nominated is a massive achievement," she shares.
"For the longest time, our media landscape and popular culture hasn't accurately represented who we are as a nation.
"We're a deeply multicultural place. We're also a deeply ancient place. To not be showing those faces, voices and stories is a disservice to how special Australia is.
"The nomination is a massive symbol to people who haven't seen themselves in the media before – regardless of whether or not they look or sound like me – to be reminded that anything is possible.
"It's a distinct honour that it happens to be me and not someone else, but had it been someone else, I'd be applauding the loudest, because we need this as a nation."

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