This third season of “MasterChef” is more than half over, and since last night, I’m proud to say I’m still in it. Top 6, baby!
Ever since the show started airing, my life has embarked on a wild ride. If you would’ve told me a few months back while I was still filming the show that all this craziness would ensue, I would’ve rolled my eyes and said, “Yeah, right.” Having lived life in relative anonymity for 30+ years, fame is hard to fathom. But here it is, and I must say, it’s been an incredible experience. I still find it hard to call all my emails and messages “fan mail,” but regardless of what they are, I’m touched that so many people from all over the globe have reached out to tell me their stories, their fears, their struggles, their desires, their accomplishments, their failures. It’s not easy to be vulnerable, and I want to erase the stigma that dependence has. It’s all right to ask for help sometimes. We are all more alike than different, and working together produces exponentially better results.
Speaking of teamwork, it was difficult for me to watch the latest episode where Stacey and I had to tag team making a Japanese platter. People ask me what it’s like to watch these episodes, if we’ve seen them before they air on national TV. The answer is no, all of us cast members watch it for the very first time right alongside America. And, for me, it’s an emotional roller coaster. I find myself cracking up most of the time because it’s like watching a bunch of your best friends acting silly or mucking up dishes on TV. And then sometimes I cry when they’re especially hard moments like when Josh and Stacey leave. It is like reliving those days all over again, and I always need a drink to get me through each episode.
It tickles me to see how fans can be so diehard. Ryan assigned me a live crab, and his head was virtually bitten off over the internet. At the same time, I curse in that kitchen about 500 times more than they’ve let on camera. Naturally, I’ve become the angel and Ryan worse than Satan himself. But honestly, it’s TV, and there is this crazy manipulative thing called editing. While I am very much relieved I’ve been made to look like the heroic underdog on the show, I feel terrible for how some of my friends have been portrayed. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I myself am the kind of person that tries my best to see the good in everyone. Hate is just poison to our minds, and I’d much rather fill my head and heart with love. Life’s hard enough—why spend it and all your energy on loathing someone?
Anyway, life has been pretty crazy. When people tell me I’ve inspired them to cook, to try out for the high school soccer team, to go to grad school, to go to culinary school, to pursue their dream vocation; it makes it all worth it. I’ve always hoped my past struggles could be used to positively impact at least one or two others that I’d meet in life. And my hopes and prayers have been answered to the nth degree. I just want to tell everyone that I am grateful for the love and support. Know that I do read all of your messages, emails, posts, and tweets; I may not be able to respond, but I do read them. And yes, for the last time, it’s really me on Twitter and Facebook!
Keep on fighting the good fight. Much love. xoxo