‘Being Asian Isn’t The Ideal Standard Of Beauty’: Janelle Han’s Heartbreaking Concerns Before Going Onto MAFS

Image courtesy of Channel 9
As a beauty influencer and TikTok creator who's constantly in the public eye, Married At First Sight star Janelle Han has developed a strong sense of self and resilience. However, she questioned herself before going onto the dating show. Why? She was concerned whether her reality TV husband would accept her for who she is.
The 28-year-old daughter of Singaporean Chinese immigrants says she feared her partner wouldn't take a liking to her because of her cultural heritage.
"It definitely was something that my family and I were worried about — that they [my husband] wouldn't be happy seeing someone of my background," Han tells Refinery29 Australia.
"The main thing was, 'Is he going to like me for being Asian?' Because I do know that being Asian is not the ideal standard of beauty in Australia."
Han recalls watching Selina Chhaur — a proud daughter of Cambodian and Chinese immigrants — on MAFS last year. After being paired with Cody Bromley, Chhaur learnt that her TV marriage would be difficult to navigate when Bromley admitted he wasn't initially physically attracted to her because of her Asian heritage.
"I think it's so unfortunate what happened to Selena," Han reflects. "It's so unfair because Asians are so beautiful."
Whitewashed beauty standards have long infiltrated entertainment, fashion and advertising, which in turn, has influenced what many people deem as attractive, especially in the dating world. Han says these Eurocentric ideals favouring particular facial features or body types need to be ignored.
"Asians have a beautiful value system. Who cares how big the eyes are and who cares about the body shape? At the end of the day, it's about the person beneath the skin."
Han says she reminded herself of this when entering the social experiment, remembering "it's their loss if they don't accept me for who I am".
"I knew that this was always going to be the case. So I just thought, 'You know what, I'm proud of my culture. I'm proud of who I am and how I look,'" she explains. "If someone doesn't accept me for me, then that's their problem."
Image courtesy of Channel 9
Married At First Sight contestants Janelle Han and Adam Seed
After meeting at the altar for the first time in episode two, Han and entrepreneur Adam Seed got married in front of their family and friends. The pair soon clashed on their views about money when Han asked Seed if he had financial stability.
"In Asian culture, your career is part of your identity," Han said to producers in the episode, explaining why she was focused on knowing more about Seed's work. "And I feel like with Adam, I don’t know exactly what his career is."
While the couple seemed to resolve their issues later, it appears more drama will follow them this season. A preview for tonight's episode shows contestant Jesse Burdford claiming that his wife, Claire Nomarhas, and Han's husband, Seed, cheated on their partners and hooked up with one another during a night out.
Popular reality TV podcast So Dramatic! has only added fuel to the fire, claiming that a source has told them that Nomarhas and Seed have shared a kiss.
"They have a little snog behind their partners’ backs during a night out," one alleged insider told the podcast. "A bunch of contestants went out drinking together at a pub and Claire and Adam went off to have a vape together and that’s when it happened."
Married At First Sight airs Sunday at 7pm and Monday to Wednesday at 7:30pm on Channel 9 and 9Now.
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