The racist reality for Australia's diverse TV personalities

Alicia Vrajlal
·Contributor
MAFS star Cyrell Jimenez Paule, Bachelor In Paradise’s Brooke Blurton (C) and MAFS contestant Ning <span>Surasiang (R).</span> Photo: Channel Nine (L and R) and Channel Ten (C)
MAFS star Cyrell Jimenez Paule, Bachelor In Paradise’s Brooke Blurton (C) and MAFS contestant Ning Surasiang (R). Photo: Channel Nine (L and R) and Channel Ten (C)

When Bachelor In Paradise star Brooke Blurton checked her Instagram inbox last week, she discovered a message from a follower telling her she’s ‘pretty for an Aboriginal’.

“That’s not even the first time it’s happened,” the 24-year-old tells Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.

“I’ll occasionally go through my DMs and see the people who connect with me… I’ve got other ones like, ‘You’re too pretty to be an Aboriginal’ or ‘I thought you were really pretty and then I found out you were Aboriginal’.”

Reality shows may be the most culturally diverse in terms of the Australian television industry, but the racism hurled towards non-caucasian reality stars is devastating.

Bachelor In Paradise star Brooke Blurton says she’s been told she’s ‘pretty for an Aboriginal’. Photo: Instagram/brooke.blurton
Bachelor In Paradise star Brooke Blurton says she’s been told she’s ‘pretty for an Aboriginal’. Photo: Instagram/brooke.blurton

Married At First Sight proved to be a ratings success this year, with its Monday night finale raking in 1.96 million viewers.

It’s an undeniably popular show, yet its two female Asian cast members have faced a torrent of racial abuse since appearing on it.

Whilst I’ve accepted that not everyone is going to like me, I will not stand for racism towards my ethnicity,” Cyrell Jimenez Paule recently told her Facebook followers.

“<span>Whilst I’ve accepted that not everyone is going to like me, I will not stand for racism towards my ethnicity,” says Cyrell. </span>Photo: Instagram/cyrelljimenezpaule
Whilst I’ve accepted that not everyone is going to like me, I will not stand for racism towards my ethnicity,” says Cyrell. Photo: Instagram/cyrelljimenezpaule

The 29-year-old, who is proud of her Filipino heritage, has been described by a troll as an “ape looking woman”, and she says her family has also been targeted with discriminatory comments since her reality TV debut.

Co-star Ning Surasiang, who grew up in Thailand, has also received racist messages via social media.

With trolls incorrectly referring to her as Chinese or mocking the shape of her eyes, the mother-of-three has told her Instagram followers that “People are so racist”.

MAFS starNing <span>Surasiang, who grew up in Thailand, has also received racist messages via social media. </span>Photo: Instagram/ning_sura85
MAFS starNing Surasiang, who grew up in Thailand, has also received racist messages via social media. Photo: Instagram/ning_sura85

For Bachelor In Paradise star Brooke, experiencing racism is sadly nothing new.

“It frustrates me so much,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.

“It happened pretty much all my childhood. My Aboriginality was always questioned just because of the way I look because I have a bit of a unique background, but I shouldn’t be discriminated for that.”

“I think people have certain stereotypes,” she explains. “They stereotype Aboriginal people. It’s so backward thinking and so discriminative.”

‘My Aboriginality was always questioned just because of the way I look,’ explains Brooke. Photo: Instagram/brooke.blurton
‘My Aboriginality was always questioned just because of the way I look,’ explains Brooke. Photo: Instagram/brooke.blurton

Brooke also says there’s “certain instances of people making stupid comments”, or “people making assumptions that I’m just on TV or in the media to promote the Change The Date campaign.

“It frustrates me, the fact that people think that’s all I’m there for.”

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