TV & Radio
Two contestants on the hit TV show My Kitchen Rules have spoken of their shock at the racist comments and death threats surrounding their appearance on the series.
Jessie Khan and Biswa Kamila unwittingly become two of the most hated figures on Australian TV over the rude comments they made about the other contestants' food.
The women, who were given the uobeat nicknames "the Spice Girls" for the show, were the subject of vicious Twitter and Facebook abuse.
Speaking after their eviction yesterday, they said that despite the vitriol, they eventually want their own television show.
"The thing I am concerned about is the race comments, that worries me," Kamila said. "We are caught between two worlds. The Indian community doesn't want to adopt us, the Australians just think we are a***holes."
Khan said they made an error of not treating the show as a game. Instead they entered the series with the premise of only wanting to have "fun".
"If I was in their (viewers) shoes maybe I would be thinking the same like, 'these girls - I can't believe it, s*** just falls out of their mouths'," Khan said.
"We've had death threats, but I don't take it seriously - it is all social media anyway."
Far from being shielded by their own community, Kamila said the pair are frowned upon by many Indian-Australians and now loathed by some TV viewers in wider Australia.
"It's been very surprising," said Kamila. "We've been stuck between a rock and a hard place, our community doesn't want to adopt us, Australians think we're just weird people. We don't really have anyone to support us but our parents and friends who actually know who were are."
Kamila moved to Australia from India when she was eight and Khan moved here from Bangladesh when she was nine. They have been inseparable since meeting in high school in Sydney's eastern suburbs.
Kamila said because of their distinct personalities both she and Khan have often received negative judgments even before they appeared on television.
"From our community we have always had people who have disliked us," Kamila said. "People never really took a liking to us because maybe we're just different from them.
"It took us a long time to not be afraid of what we want to say and do," she said. "Now that we know who we are, you know what, I don't really care what other people have to say about us."
She said neither she nor Khan minded viewers judging them for their appearance on the show. "I don't really hold anything against anybody, it's just how people are," Kamila said. But she said the racist comments were disturbing, even though the pair have done their best to avoid reading sites such as Twitter.
"I'm just hoping for the heat to go down a bit," Kamila said.
When asked why she and Khan made rude comments about other people's food on My Kitchen Rules, she said the pair were simply trying to be funny and almost forgot there were cameras in the room.
"We never really realised how we were until after the show was aired," she said. "It was like 'oh my god, look how it looks to other people'.
"When we're together we just forget everything, we forget there's a mic, we forget there's a camera, we're just two best friends having a chat."
She said it was a little startling watching the show back. But she and Khan knew what they meant at the time.
"I knew I never meant any ill feeling by it. We have great respect for every other contestant. We never said anything as a personal attack, we always framed it in a joking way and it was about the food and it was never about them," she said.
"[It's] the way it's been shot as well. I understand how people are feeling. We are perceived as saying we don't like anything but there is nothing further from the truth," she said.
The massive ratings surrounding the pair's appearance is sure to make TV executives sit up and take notice.
Kamila admits they would love their own show, or at least guest appearances as lifestyle or food reporters.
"We would love to be a duo on TV," Kamila said. "Once we went on TV, we loved every moment of it.
"That's just how we are, we just want to have fun with everything. We would love to do a lifestyle or cooking segment or fashion. Food is the most important part of our lives so we would love to do something like that," she said.
Adding salt to the wound of being the first eliminated, the pair scored the lowest ever total for MKR when they received just 41 points.
That dented Khan and Kamila's pride.
"We had big expectations on ourselves and to not meet that high standard was really disappointing," Khan said.
"At the end of our cook-off we knew we were probably going to go home."
As for their elimination, Kamila said it was "absolutely the pressure" which wrecked their cooking efforts.
- with AAP
- Sydney Morning Herald