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"People don't like confidence." MasterChef's Laura on why she was relentlessly criticised.

It was, as they say, like déjà vu all over again.

On Monday night, as the seconds ticked away, Australia watched Laura Sharrard come second, for the second time. 

Upon the announcement that her fellow finalist Emelia Jackson had won the competition, Laura was left in shock, followed by tears - caught between devastating disappointment and delight for her close friend. 

"I felt like the way the night was going, I thought I had a good chance of taking it out," Laura reflects, speaking to Mamamia on Tuesday. "So it was a shock that I didn't win, but then I was really happy for Emelia, but then I was really upset in the moment - pure heartbreak in the moment. It was almost like grieving."

Watch: Things we all say while watching MasterChef. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia 

As she returned home to Adelaide, Laura continued to deal with the emotions of placing second. 

"Even last night when I watched it, I got a little bit upset again," Laura admits. 

"I think it took two weeks for me to accept it and move on. When I came home after filming I had two weeks of quarantine here in Adelaide. So just doing that and being at home with my husband, it was really nice. We debriefed about the whole experience and I accepted what happened."

Laura's self-confidence and competitive nature was palpable this season. We first met Laura when she was 19 years old and she became the youngest contestant to make it to the top three. The nation loved her; many calling her 'Australia's sweetheart'. 

"I've come back with more maturity and a stronger voice and sometimes people don't like confidence, especially if it's in women."

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This year, the critics were loud. They turned Laura into the season's 'villain' merely for believing in her cooking abilities and unashamedly displaying self-confidence. Oh, and the trolls were particularly angry when Laura cooked pasta - the dish she's best at.

"It was pretty hard. I was confused as to why it was happening," Laura admits. 

"I kept getting all this slack for cooking pasta when there's 60 episodes to a season and I cooked six pasta dishes out of 60 episodes. So really, it's not that much. Brendan didn't get slammed for making noodles and dumplings constantly, and Reynold didn't get slammed for making desserts...

"I think it's just the unfair world that we live in."

Laura wasn't alone. Her fellow contestant, Poh Ling Yeow, received similar backlash. 

"It's disappointing that Poh and I did receive that, because we're both so successful and we've fought so hard to get to where we are."

Thankfully, the women had a strong and influential supporter behind them: MasterChef judge Melissa Leong.

As the season has played out, and the criticism has unfolded, Melissa has been a fiercely vocal supporter of the women on the show. 

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"It's honestly been so incredible. I speak to her quite often," Laura says of the new judge. 

"To have her stick up for me, and to ask people to stop the nastiness, has been really special. I've appreciated every single bit of the support and love she has shown."

Now, Laura is focused on the future of her career. 

Along with her chef husband Max Sharrad, she will soon launch a new Italian eatery, called Fugazzi Bar & Dining Room, in Adelaide, where they already own the NIDO BAR. 

She also has a few more television appearances coming up and is looking forward to writing her next cookbook.

"The show just provides so many incredible opportunities. And now that it's finally out in the open how it all ends, I'm just really excited to see where it can take me."


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