Story behind MasterChef star Khanh Ong’s ‘You Are Loved’ shirts


masterchef khanh ong you are loved t-shirt minus18 masterchef back to win
Photos: Khanh Ong/Network 10

MasterChef contestant Khanh Ong has revealed the meaning behind the “You Are Loved” t-shirts he’s worn in every episode.

Ong said the show’s fans have been flooding him with messages about his shirts, which he has worn in different colours during every MasterChef: Back to Win challenge.

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“I reckon I’ve gotten about 300 comments, and private messages sent to me about them,” Khanh told 10daily.

He explained that the T-shirts have a very special meaning for him. Ong said when he was younger, he spent a lot of time at New South Wales queer youth charity Minus 18‘s social events and workshops.

“There was a space where they threw events that made you feel welcomed, and I feel like that’s really important to support something that really helped me when I was younger,” Khanh said.

He explained Minus18 made “me feel loved, included, empowered and special in a time of my life when I was confused, sad and ashamed of myself.”

Ong has teamed up with a friend to make the “You Are Loved” t-shirts available for sale online, with $10 from each shirt going to Minus18.

“I think it’s a weird time in the world, and if [the message] helps one person, that’s all that really matters,” he said.

“It’s just a reminder that things get better, you are loved and there is love for you.”

Masterchef star’s shirts a reminder ‘to feel loved by everyone around you’

Khanh Ong announced on his Instagram that the t-shirts had so far raised $10k for Minus18.

“When I decided to come back on the show, I wanted to use it to spread a little bit of positivity and love to the world,” he said.

“Life isn’t always amazing, sometimes it sucks and I’ve definitely felt that.

“What got me through was the love and support from my family, my friends and my community.

“These tees are a global reminder to feel loved by everyone around you. People care, just ride the highs and the lows because it’s part of the journey.”

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