In this first instalment of Illuminating Women: A Portrait Series, MasterChef Australia judge Melissa Leong generously opens up about her journey to date.
This year has been a testing one; however we’ve made it through, together. In partnership with Clarins, Gritty Pretty presents Illuminating Women: A Portrait Series to shine a spotlight on the women who inspire us the most. Dialing in via FaceTime, these strong female voices share their journey, alongside a radiant portrait that captures their essence.
First up? MasterChef Australia host and food writer Melissa Leong.
2020 was a big year for Melissa Leong. As one of three hosts on the new look MasterChef Australia, this year, the 38-year-old was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight. However, she’s taking the newfound attention in her stride: “I’m just trying to be myself… I’m really proud to represent who I am, my cultural background and my story. Hopefully, that will inspire others to do so as well.”
While MasterChef might be a new endeavour for Leong, she is a veteran on the hospitality scene. As a food writer and critic, she regularly contributes to publications such as Delicious, Escape and News.com.au, and has been involved in bringing to life cookbooks with celebrity chefs like Dan Hong and Colin Fassnidge. “I’ve always been obsessed with food,” Leong says, reflecting on her career path. “I think it comes from having Singaporean parents; it’s just part of the culture.”
“I definitely have a lot of special memories when it comes to food and family. My mum is the most amazing cook… We were always welcome in the kitchen — whether that was learning how to pound chillis to make sambal or mixing the filling for wontons with my fingers and then learning how to fill them and fry them. I have always had a really great food education because of my family and especially because of my mum.”
Before she became a food writer, Leong worked in advertising. During that time, she always veered towards the clients that were in the food and hospitality industry — it was during this period that her childhood passion came to the forefront. “I can talk about food all day, every day,” Leong shares with Gritty Pretty. “And somehow just by saying yes to opportunities to rise and to speak within this particular industry, I found myself right here I am now.”
Leong was an early adopter of quality skincare which comes in handy now that she spends her days on camera. “My mother would show me what she would do; I was always welcome to join in her ritual. I’m still obsessed with doing all the steps.”
Now, Leong has taken her mum’s advice and implemented a daily routine of her own — with Clarins Double Serum at the centre. “I’m nearly 40 years old so [my main skin objectives are] to preserve the quality of my skin and make sure it’s hydrated and even.”
“I started using Double Serum earlier this year; it was good timing because we weren’t able to go and see our facialists and beauty gurus, thanks to the pandemic. I love the fact that it’s really hydrating; it gives you gorgeous glowing skin.” Leong concedes that the simple act of pressing the serum into her skin is an excuse to take “a bit of time out.”
When she rolls onto the MasterChef Australia set at 5:30am, Double Serum is one of the first products that goes onto Leong’s skin. While her hairdresser gets to work, Leong does her “skin things” which involves microcurrent therapy before makeup goes on. “My skin feels glowy and hydrated and plump after I’ve applied Double Serum.” From there, she’s ready to seize the day.
Tell us, have you experienced Clarins Double Serum? What do you love the most about this glow-inducing formula?