Why Tracy Vo's new Today role means so much to me

Louise Cheer
News Editor

I finally feel seen by Australia's mainstream television media.

That's not me being dramatic, this is about Tracy Vo being appointed as newsreader on the Today show. Not since Lee Lin Chin have I identified so strongly with a face on national television news – and I'm almost 30. 

If you're not Asian, just do a little exercise for me. How many times have you turned on breakfast television and seen a presenter who looked like you? As long as I can remember, that has never happened to me.

And I know I'm not alone. According to the most recent Census, almost six per cent of Australians identified as being of Chinese ancestry. Furthermore, second-generation Australians with both parents who were born overseas and were under 40 years old were more likely to have Asian ancestry.

Tracy Vo has been named as the new Today newsreader. Source: Tracy Vo/Instagram

When I was young, I remember sitting down on the couch with my dad to watch SBS News with Lee Lin Chin and thinking to myself, "I want to be her one day." A thought that was immediately followed by, "No, I'll never make it. How many Asians do you see on TV? There's only a limited amount of places for people like us." Yes, this was an active thought I had as an impressionable child and it was crushing.

I eventually ended up in journalism, but I never wanted to pursue a career in TV because of that fear (and admittedly a small part being a lack of filter between my brain and my mouth). But it was predominantly that fear of being a minority in television news, which ultimately stopped me – I couldn't compete with people like Lee Lin.

Me who thinks she could never compete with Lee Lin Chin. Source: Supplied

But this is what I hope Tracy's appointment and, fingers crossed, the many more Asian-Australians to step into mainstream media roles after her (because we still have a long way to go with representation in general) will stop.

It will stop the little girls who look like me from thinking they can't make it on TV news. I know having such an expectation thrust upon you can be daunting – and sometimes unwanted – but I hope Tracy knows how many little Asian girls across Australia will see her on the Today show and know one day, that could be them.

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