I was lucky enough to hear culinary empowerer and former MasterChef NZ contestant Vanessa Baxter tell her story at the Liked Media Women In Business NZ Christmas party in Whangarei recently.

She spoke about how her life was simply one fearlessly-taken opportunity after another.

What a great story she has.

Vanessa lives in Auckland, having lived in Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

She runs cooking classes for kiddies and corporates. She is an ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House, helping resident families there cook healthy meals.

She is super involved with charities, both here and abroad and throws her heart into her work.

The journalist in me couldn’t resist asking her heaps of questions.

But it was her stint on MasterChef NZ that really shot the food lover to fame.

After leaving the show, she said, she wanted so bad to slam the show. Her gut reaction was to use media coverage to blow the lid off the difficult and unnatural experience of MasterChef.


But hear this, she said if it wasn’t for media training she wouldn’t have the incredible career that she has now. (And boy, is she doing some cool stuff!)

She said that keeping focused on her objectives for media coverage – wanting to grow her business and open new opportunities- allowed her to consider taking a positive approach to media.

Her awareness around her key messages increased and she learned to control the narrative.

And man has that training paid off.

So Vanessa’s one media tip – adjust your attitude from stinky to positive. Anyone can pull off some short-lived, drama coverage but for media longevity – a sustainable media presence – playing a long game with a positive attitude and a pleasant disposition is by far the best way forward.

Vanessa’s career has now evolved, through her wonderful charity work and her ability to reach out and reach people through cooking together.

Because she’s so positive and pleasant to deal with, the media loves her!

This means her charities and affiliations can now benefit from her media profile too.

Adjust your attitude and play the long game!