The original series of MasterChef back in 2009 was one of the nation’s biggest TV hits ever – with 3.7 million people tuning in for the grand finale.
It was a nail-biting finale as Poh Ling Yeow and Julie Goodwin – both still household names – went head to head.
I Quit Sugar guru Sarah Wilson was the host of series one, but suddenly disappeared for season two.
The reason for this has been a mystery – until now.
In an intimate and exclusive story published in the March issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, on newsstands February 23, Sarah reveals for the first time that crippling anxiety and a huge blow-up with producers led her to walk out.
Sarah reveals, “In this case, my anxiety didn’t so much scream in my ear as explode."
“One day – the day we filmed the grand finale – I erupted. I was in the shipping container dressing room I shared with my three male co-hosts, being forced, again aptly, into a Jessica Rabbit corseted dress that saw my sugary carb-boosted bust billow voluminously.
“The producers came to the dressing room to announce yet another compromising set of instructions that would see me reduced to a vacuous talking head. I mouthed off at the producers for pushing us – myself and others who felt equally sleep-deprived and confined – too far.
“Then (I recall watching myself in slow motion) I punched the wall of the metal shipping container. I broke two knuckles.”
She reveals that the next day after the blow-up, she felt resolved and clear. She quit, pulled out of future series, moved to the forest and created her own business – and the rest is history, with her I Quit Sugar empire making millions.
Sarah, 43, says that she can barely recall a day of her life that she hasn’t battled with anxiety in one of the several forms that affect her.
“This is something I have never spoken about publicly before,” says Sarah, whose books and online program have made hers one of the country’s most successful small-business empires, generating estimated revenue of more than $4 million annually and employing 23 staff.
“I’ve kept this a secret from almost everyone, even members of my family and those closest to me. But I feel now is the time to speak out about it because anxiety is an affliction that distresses so many Australians. Millions of people out there are just like me. They live with this every day and know what it is to struggle every day.
“The difference is that, over many years and after many missteps, I have learned to live with my anxiety and, rather than fighting against it, I’ve managed to use it to empower myself and to channel my energy and focus into a positive force. I hope that perhaps others may benefit from hearing that story.”
Sarah tells The Weekly that she first realised she suffered from anxiety when she was a teenager growing up on a property outside Canberra in the ACT.
“When I was young, my anxieties came out in obsessive behaviours and for me it was mostly about showering and going to the toilet,” says Sarah, who addresses her life-long journey with anxiety in a revealing new book entitled First, We Make The Beast Beautiful.
Anxiety, Sarah says, affected almost every aspect of her life. “I would shower and shower and shower, and then I would wash my hands and then wash them again and then again. Then I’d check that the doors were locked before I went to bed and then get up and do it all again. It was a constant, repetitive cycle, a repetitive nightmare.”
Read her remarkable interview in the March edition of The Australian Women’s Weekly, out now.