The Bachelor Australia contestant Chanel Tang has opened up about the racism she's faced in the past year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 34-year-old, who is proud of her Chinese and Irish heritage, said she has heard strangers make racist remarks towards her in public, however, in some instances hasn't felt safe to call them out on the spot.
"Racism towards Asian Australians has increased significantly since the pandemic and as a woman of Asian descent, I have been berated on public transport, simply for how I look," Tang told Refinery29 Australia.
"I have listened as people make casual racist remarks and it is not acceptable behaviour. For the incident on public transport, I kept my mouth shut as the man was very confrontational and it didn't seem safe to respond."
The flight attendant explained that there have been other times when she has spoken out against racist behaviour, and she encourages others to do the same if they feel comfortable.
"When casual racist remarks are made, I pull people up on it and explain why it's offensive," she said. "Knowledge is power and explaining why the words are hurtful often raises awareness [about] the language used when speaking about different cultures."
Many Asian Australians have said they have faced a wave of racism, both in person and on social media, since the coronavirus pandemic.
The results of the COVID-19 Racism Incident Report Survey 2021, conducted by the Asian Australian Alliance (AAA) and Per Capita's Osmond Chiu, were released earlier this month, revealing 541 racist incidents in the past 15 months. 9 in 10 respondents said they thought their experiences were related to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Chanel is one of the remaining contestants on Jimmy Nicholson's season of The Bachelor. She decided to apply for the reality dating show after struggling to meet potential partners via dating apps and speed dating.
"At least it's transparent that he is dating multiple other women and I figured that I have nothing to lose," she said. "The most appealing part for me was that there would be closure. I either end up with him or he sends me home, there's no possibility of being ghosted."
And as for representing a diverse face on TV, she said she hopes her appearance will send an encouraging message to other women of colour.
"I think it's so important to see representation on television. Growing up, I never saw anyone that looked like me on television and it seems to send a message that you must look a certain way to be dateable or to be attractive."
The Bachelor Australia airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm on Network 10.