The 2020 breakout star of Aussie TV Melissa Leong has had a 'pinch me' moment.

The much loved new MasterChef judge has landed not just her first magazine cover but a starring role in the much anticipated WHO Sexiest People issue.

"It has certainly been a year of the unexpected on all fronts, so why not add an extra level of surreal on top of that," Leong said.

Melissa Leong for the 2020 WHO Sexiest People issue.
Melissa Leong for the 2020 WHO Sexiest People issue.

"I don't see it as an opportunity for me, alone. To be an Asian woman on the cover, I know this will mean something to others who aren't used to seeing faces like ours in this capacity. We've a long way to go in Australia in terms of opening the doors to real representation and inclusion, and I hope this cover, like the many who celebrate diversity, signals to those who are yet to be seen, that their time is coming."

Miranda Tapsell.
Miranda Tapsell.

 

Bonnie Anderson.
Bonnie Anderson.

Food critic turned television star Leong thanks to landing the gig on MasterChef this year alongside Andy Allen and Jock Zonfrillo. The trio smashed ratings expectations as one of the top shows of the year after replacing long-time judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris.

Among those joining her in the issue are Jackson Warne, Miranda Tapsell, Bonnie Anderson, Rodger Corser, Delta Goodrem and Isiah Firebrace.

"I don't think any amount of convincing would have me believe it, no way, no how," she said when asked how her younger self would react to her inclusion in the issue.

 

Melissa Leong. Picture: Supplied
Melissa Leong. Picture: Supplied

 

"Not in the least because Asian women have rarely so featured in the media, historically in this capacity, without it being exoticised in some way. We are not rare birds, we are equal. So to be asked to be on the cover as me, it's an awesome feeling. This is about inclusivity, this is about positive empowerment - for all."

 

 

Originally published as WHO magazine's Sexiest People cover star revealed

Melissa Leong
Melissa Leong

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