Only One Person Of Colour Has Ever Won A Gold Logie — Let’s Hope MasterChef’s Melissa Leong Can Change That

Image courtesy of Channel 10
MasterChef Australia: Fans & Favourites judge Melissa Leong
The Australian television industry has made some strides in better representing the country's multicultural population, but if the upcoming Logie Awards are anything to go by, there's still a long way to go.
The presentation of the coveted Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Aussie TV is always the pinnacle of the evening and this year's nominations feature seven small screen stars: MasterChef Australia judge Melissa Leong, comedian Hamish Blake, I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! host Julia Morris, Today host Karl Stefanovic , Home & Away's Ray Meagher, Big Brother host Sonia Kruger and comedian Tom Gleeson.
Advertisement
In terms of diversity, three of the seven nominees are women and only one of them, Singaporean-Chinese Leong, comes from an ethnically diverse background.
The 40-year-old food critic, whose parents migrated from Singapore in the 1970s, became the first female judge on MasterChef in 2020 after the show's decade-long run featuring an all-male judging panel. She acknowledges that her nomination — which comes six years after The Project's Waleed Aly became the first and only person of colour (POC) to win the Gold Logie — is a pretty big deal for representation.
"Ten-year-old Mel would never have dreamed a weird, late bloomer outcast migrant kid like me would be nominated for a bloody GOLD LOGIE..." she wrote on her Instagram account, sparking a slew of reactions from followers in the comments section.
"So well deserved. Thanks for all the important work you do championing diversity in the media," one person wrote, while another said, "Congrats Melissa and why wouldn't you be nominated! You my dear represent diversity in so many ways, where do I even begin."
It's important to note that Leong's nomination comes after very few ethnically diverse women have been in the running for the top gong. Ada Nicodemou, who is of Greek heritage, was nominated back in 2001, 2002 and 2006, while Indonesian-born presenter Lee Lin Chin was nominated in 2016. In the past 20 years, (white) women have only won the prize eight times, and the last time a woman did was in 2015 when Carrie Bickmore won.
Advertisement
The Aussie TV industry in general has struggled in showcasing diverse talent. A 2020 landmark study conducted by Media Diversity Australia and academics found that 75% of on-air talent on news and current affairs television are Anglo-Celtic, and only 6% are either Indigenous or from a non-European background. These findings were based on 81 news programs and 270 reporters over two weeks in June 2019.
When he won the Gold Logie in 2016, Waleed Aly made a powerful acceptance speech that touched on race and representation.
"Someone who is in this room — and I'm not going to use the name they use in the industry — came up to me, introduced themselves and said, 'I really hope you win. My name is Mustafa. But I can't use that name because I won't get a job,'" Aly said on stage.
"He's here tonight. And it matters to people like that that I am here. I know it's not because of me. I know that. But if tonight means anything, it's that the Australian public, our audience, as far as they're concerned, there is absolutely no reason why that can't change."
In 2018, he said there hadn't been a vast improvement since his Gold Logie victory.
"I wouldn’t say that there’s been a huge change but these things are all incremental,” Aly told Yahoo Lifestyle at that year's Logies. "The progress is slow, I’d love it to be quicker but I don’t have control over that. These things take time."
Advertisement
While the Logies were on hiatus for the past two years due to the pandemic, there were still three awards shows between Aly's win and this year that could've signified a tremendous win for representation. Total Control star Deborah Mailman has been nominated this year for two silver Logies — Most Popular Actress and Most Outstanding Actress — yet has never been up for gold despite her over 25-year acting career. Brooke Blurton made history as the first Indigenous and bisexual Bachelorette last year, yet not even her show made the cut for Most Popular Reality Program.
Leong being the only POC nominated this year exposes the industry in falling short when recognising diversity — but her nomination is still worth celebrating and represents hope of future change.
If she were to win the Gold Logie, Leong would not only be the second person of colour to claim victory, but the first woman of colour (WOC). This will be huge for children of immigrants like myself, who grew up watching TV (and the Logies) and failing to see many people who looked like us. It would also hopefully reinforce to producers and network boards that people from all walks of life deserve to be seen on screen.
Leong channels that optimism more than anyone.
"You know how I feel about you and your contribution to diversity in media. You definitely get my vote Mel!" one person wrote on Leong's Instagram post.
"Thank you," the TV star responded. "This is more than me, which is why I have hope."
Advertisement
The 2022 TV Week Logie Awards will take place on the Gold Coast on Sunday, June 19. The complete list of nominees is below:

Most Popular Awards

TV WEEK Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on Australian Television

Hamish Blake, Lego Masters Australia, 9Network
Julia Morris, I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, Network 10
Karl Stefanovic, Today/60 Minutes, 9Network
Melissa Leong, MasterChef Australia/Celebrity MasterChef Australia, Network 10
Ray Meagher, Home And Away, Seven Network
Sonia Kruger, Big Brother, Holey Moley, Dancing with The Stars: All Stars, The Voice Australia, The Voice Australia Generations, Seven Network
Tom Gleeson, Hard Quiz, ABC

Bert Newton Award for Most Popular Presenter

Carrie Bickmore, The Project, Network 10
Hamish Blake, Lego Masters Australia, 9Network
Leigh Sales, 7.30, ABC
Melissa Leong, MasterChef Australia/Celebrity MasterChef Australia, Network 10
Sonia Kruger, Big Brother, Holey Moley, Dancing with The Stars: All Stars, The Voice Australia, The Voice Australia Generations, Seven Network
Tom Gleeson, Hard Quiz, ABC

TV WEEK Silver Logie - Most Popular Actor

Bernard Curry, Wentworth - The Final Sentence, FOXTEL
Guy Pearce, Jack Irish, ABC
Hugo Weaving, Love Me, BINGE and FOXTEL
Ray Meagher, Home and Away, Seven Network
Rodger Corser, Doctor Doctor, 9Network
Stephen Peacocke, RFDS, Seven Network

TV WEEK Silver Logie - Most Popular Actress

Ada Nicodemou, Home and Away, Seven Network
Anna Torv, The Newsreader, ABC
Bojana Novakovic, Love Me, BINGE and FOXTEL
Deborah Mailman, Total Control, ABC
Kitty Flanagan, Fisk, ABC
Sophie Dillman, Home and Away, Seven Network

Graham Kennedy Award For Most Popular New Talent

Alessandra Rampolla, Married At First Sight, 9Network
Carlos Sanson Jr, Bump, Stan
Matt Evans, Home and Away, Seven Network
Melanie Bracewell, The Cheap Seats, Network 10
Tony Armstrong, News Breakfast, ABC
Will Lodder, Love Me, BINGE and FOXTEL
Advertisement

Most Popular Drama Program

Doctor Doctor, 9Network
Home and Away, Seven Network
Love Me, BINGE and FOXTEL RFDS, Seven Network
The Newsreader, ABC
Total Control, ABC

Most Popular Entertainment Program

Anh’s Brush with Fame, ABC
Gogglebox Australia, FOXTEL
Hard Quiz, ABC
Lego Masters Australia, 9Network
The Masked Singer Australia, Network 10
The Voice Australia, Seven Network

Most Popular Panel or Current Affairs Program

7.30, ABC
Australian Story, ABC
A Current Affair, 9Network
Four Corners, ABC
The Front Bar, Seven Network
The Project, Network 10

Most Popular Comedy Program

Aftertaste, ABC
Fisk, ABC
Have You Been Paying Attention?, Network 10
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, ABC
The Hundred with Andy Lee, 9Network
The Cheap Seats, Network 10

Most Popular Reality Program

The Block (Fans Vs Faves), 9Network
Celebrity Apprentice Australia, 9Network
I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here, Network 10
Married At First Sight, 9Network
MasterChef Australia, Network 10
SAS Australia, Seven Network

Most Popular Lifestyle Program

Better Homes and Gardens, Seven Network Bondi Rescue, Network 10
Gardening Australia, ABC
Love It Or List It Australia, FOXTEL
The Living Room, Network 10 Travel Guides, 9Network

TV Week Silver Logie - Most Popular Australian Actor Or Actress In An International Program

Angourie Rice, Mare of Easttown, BINGE and FOXTEL
Jacki Weaver, Yellowstone, Stan
Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus, BINGE and FOXTEL
Sarah Snook, Succession, BINGE and FOXTEL
Troye Sivan, Three Months, Paramount+
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale, SBS

2022 Most Outstanding Awards

TV WEEK Silver Logie - Most Outstanding Drama Series

Bump, Stan
Love Me, BINGE and FOXTEL
RFDS, Seven Network
The Newsreader, ABC
Wentworth – The Final Sentence, FOXTEL

TV WEEK Silver Logie – Most Outstanding Miniseries or Telemovie

Advertisement
Fires, ABC
New Gold Mountain, SBS The End, FOXTEL
The Tourist, Stan
The Unusual Suspects, SBS

TV WEEK Silver Logie – Most Outstanding Actor

Hugo Weaving, Love Me, BINGE and FOXTEL
Jamie Dornan, The Tourist, Stan
Richard Roxburgh, Fires, ABC
Sam Reid, The Newsreader, ABC
Scott Ryan, Mr Inbetween, FOXTEL

TV WEEK Silver Logie - Most Outstanding Actress

Anna Torv, The Newsreader, ABC
Claudia Karvan, Bump, Stan
Deborah Mailman, Total Control, ABC
Isla Fisher, Wolf Like Me, Stan
Miranda Otto, Fires, ABC

TV WEEK Silver Logie – Most Outstanding Supporting Actor

Colin Friels, Wakefield, ABC
Damon Herriman, The Tourist, Stan
Hugh Sheridan, Back To The Rafters, Amazon Prime Video
Matt Nable, Mr Inbetween, FOXTEL
William McInnes. The Newsreader, ABC

TV WEEK Silver Logie – Most Outstanding Supporting Actress

Heather Mitchell, Love Me, BINGE and FOXTEL
Katrina Milosevic, Wentworth -The Final Sentence, FOXTEL
Mabel Li, New Gold Mountain, SBS
Noni Hazlehurst, The End, FOXTEL
Rachel Griffiths, Total Control, ABC

Most Outstanding Entertainment or Comedy Program

Hard Quiz, ABC
Lego Masters Australia, 9Network
Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, ABC
The Masked Singer Australia Australia, Network 10 The Voice Australia, Seven Network

Most Outstanding Reality Program

Beauty and The Geek, 9Network
Celebrity Apprentice Australia, 9Network
I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Network 10 MasterChef Australia, Network 10
SAS Australia, Seven Network

Most Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report

60 Minutes – ‘Nazi’s Next Door’, 9Network
7News – War In Ukraine, Seven Network
Four Corners – Bursting The Canberra Bubble, ABC Insight – Intimate Terrorism, SBS
The Project – Brittany Higgins Interview, Network 10

Most Outstanding Sports Coverage

2021 AFL Grand Final, Seven Network
2021/2022 Fox Cricket Ashes Coverage, FOXTEL
2022 Australian Open Women’s Final, 9Network
Olympic and Paralympics Games Tokyo 2020, Seven Network State of Origin – Game 1, 9Network
Advertisement

Most Outstanding Children’s Program

Bluey, ABC
Dive Club, Network 10 & Netflix Australia Hardball, ABC
Little J & Big Cuz, NITV & ABC
Mikki Vs The World, ABC

Most Outstanding Factual or Documentary Program

Burning, Amazon Prime Video
Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra, ABC Incarceration Nation, NITV
See What You Made Me Do, SBS
The School That Tried To End Racism, ABC
Want more? Get Refinery29 Australia’s best stories delivered to your inbox each week. Sign up here!    

More from TV