Brendan Pang and Reece Hignell have become fan favourites on this season of Network 10’s MasterChef: Back to Win.
And now Brendan has revealed that Reece, who’s also gay, was one of the first people he came out to. The two best friends both appeared on the show’s tenth season in 2018.
“I’d always kind of looked up to Reece as a role model,” Brendan told News.com.au.
“When I was eliminated, we spent a bit of time together before I left to come home and I just opened up to him.
Brendan described Reece’s reaction as “like his reaction when Katy Perry walked in” to the show two weeks ago. Translation: Reece nearly lost it with excitement.
“He was surprised but he was happy. It was a really special moment. He’s like a brother to me now,” he said.
Several fans have summed it up perfectly by demanding Brendan and Reece get a spin-off show after the series ends.
“Petition for Brendan and Reece to have their own cooking show where they banter like an old married couple and share this knowledge with us all,” one tweeted.
MasterChef Brendan Pang came out on social media last year
Brendan, who is based in Perth, came out as gay in a moving Facebook post last year.
“My name is Brendan Pang and I’m 26 years old,” he wrote.
“But, for as long as I can remember and up until the age of 24, I struggled with my sense of identity. As a gay male, I had feelings of being “different” very early on.
“[As] I navigated the bumpy road into adulthood, I went through some pretty dark times from feeling pressured to change who I was, to experiencing high levels of social anxiety. The list goes on.
“Thankfully, with the help of a strong and supportive network (my family and friends), I was able to not only survive the complexity of mental health, but thrive and become a stronger, happier, comfortable and proud ME.”
Brendan, who has previously been a social worker, shared his story to inspire others struggling with their own identity.
“We are still losing too many young people to suicide,” he said.
“One in five teens say they have high levels of distress. One in 12 Australian young people aged 12-17 have self-harmed.”
Last year, Brendan also shared that he’s in a relationship with boyfriend Nick Fimognari. As MasterChef filmed in Melbourne, the couple were separated across the country by increasing COVID-19 restrictions.
Meanwhile, fellow MasterChef: Back to Win contestant Khanh Ong, who is gay, has also become an audience favourite this season.
A few weeks ago Khanh opened up about the special meaning behind the “You are loved” t-shirts he’s worn in every episode.
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