‘Cuppa With Kumi’ Host Reveals Anxiety, Fear of Being Targeted By Racism During COVID-19 Outbreak

Kumi Taguchi

Kumi Taguchi, the Australian presenter of ABC’s Instagram Live show “Cuppa with Kumi,” opened up about her fears of racism amid COVID-19 and her “lowest point” during the pandemic.

The 45-year-old host HuffPost Australia on Monday that “honesty and vulnerability” were the driving reasons that pushed her to upload a selfie of herself crying last week.

 

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I didn’t want to post this but if I don’t then I’m a liar. And a hypocrite. I have always hated the facades of social media and yet I perpetuate a false reality on it at times and show a curated world. … This is me after reading that we might not be able to travel internationally until next year. For me, that’s been my hope, the thing I cling to. I’d been telling myself, if I can get through until August/September then I can escape to places that keep my heart happy. … I’m a planner and a dreamer and I love adventure. I love train trips in new cities and hearing languages I don’t understand and buying bread from bakeries in cobble stone streets. That is what makes me me, what excites me and makes me feel alive. .. Yes, I know escape isn’t great and that we should all be able to find happiness where we are. And I know I’m lucky. I am grateful for what I have and I know there are people far worse off then me. But right now I just feel like this photo. I am sad and disappointed and I feel a deep grief. .. I miss my friends. I miss walks and waterfalls. I miss laughter and getting to know people. I miss dreaming. On days like this, I am not the strong person I wish I was. I’ll be ok after a good cry. I’ll process my feelings, do some yoga and watch the sun set. Tomorrow is another day. .. Please reach out to your friends. Ask them how they are. Text, call, send them a note in the mail. Even the ones you think are doing ok. You never know what lies beneath someone’s smile. And please, no advice in the comments. I just wanted to tell my truth 🙏🏼

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“I have always had these kind of mixed feelings about the perfect world we tend to emulate on social media,” Taguchi told the publication. “And I thought, well I think this is a time that honesty and vulnerability should be shown and hopefully it encourages other people to feel like what they’re feeling is normal or ok.”

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“That’s probably my lowest point in this whole change of life,” Taguchi added. “I’m doing better and I think it was a build up [of emotions].”

While Taguchi understood the logic of why the government placed social distancing measures and travel bans, she said it was pushing away the emotions that led to her “sobbing” in the photo.

“Normal things I used to kind of get semi-ok pleasure from, everything was becoming a stress,” she said. “Since then I feel calmer because I’ve been able to say my truth if that makes sense. I think so much stress comes from feeling you can’t say what’s going on.”

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Hello! I hope your week is going well. I have a new show starting next Monday 20th April, right here on Instagram! It’ll be broadcast live on the @abctv account, each weekday at 3.30pm. .. But this is a global story, and since our broadcast channel is Instagram, you can join in the show from wherever you are! 6.30am in London, 9.30am in Abu Dhabi, 1.30pm in Perth, 2.30pm in Tokyo… .. Here’s my new set, aka my study at home. We’ve been developing and testing the idea the past few weeks and it’s all coming together. I’m excited and a bit nervous, as it’s a first for us. .. Thank you for your support, as always. This show is for you, and we hope to give you a safe space to engage with us during this time. More details soon! .. #broadcaster #wfh #studio #journalism

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Even though she has not experienced it first hand, Taguchi also expressed her fears about the growing amount of racism related to the coronavirus.

“A couple of weeks ago I started thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, will I get targeted?’ I had anxiety about how I looked and if I’m in the supermarket buying toilet paper, am I going to get targeted?” she said.

“I definitely had that anxiety, especially if I had a face mask on. I felt like I could be the target of something.”

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She also took a shot at Donald Trump for his remarks about the virus and for calling it “Chinese virus” even though the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as the official name.

“I’ve got to say, I think it would be quite frightening for people and then it doesn’t help that ‘leadership’ in the US stirs up this rhetoric of the Chinese virus and stuff like that,” Taguchi said.

“My rational brain knows that racism is hopefully a small section of society and we can say ignorance or all that kind of stuff,” she said.

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“But the emotional side of it is still as a 44 year old – and I’m quite comfortable in my skin and confident in who I am – there will still be situations where I just go, ‘I wonder if I would be treated this way if I wasn’t Asian-looking or if I was white?’”

 

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So, our new show starts tomorrow. I’m excited and also nervous. It’s been a hard slog to get to this point, now it’s actually happening 😱. .. Mondays are when we check in with how things are going, what our weekends were like and chat about stuff that’s come up. .. Every Monday, I’ll be joined by my bestie, Sara. She’s known me for 25 years. No amount of bribery will get her to reveal my, uh, younger days 😬. .. And I’ll also chat with an expert, usually in counselling or psychology, who will give us context to what’s going on. .. Tuesdays to Fridays will have a different focus, ranging from health to fun, and we’ll even do a virtual skip around the globe. We’re here to keep you company! .. It’d be great to see you, 3.30pm EST, every weekday. (That’s 2.30PM Tokyo, 6.30am London). Wherever you are, boil the kettle and join me for a cuppa on the @abctv Instagram account ☕ #broadcasting #wfh #conversation

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“Cuppa With Kumi” will premiere on Monday on ABC’s social media account.

Feature Image via @kumikotag

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