Royal bid for MKR THRONE

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Cover Story - Deb­bie Schipp

She was crowned this year’s first re­al­ity tele­vi­sion vil­lain in the show about home cooks that has de­liv­ered cham­pagne rat­ings.

Now, “Princess” Jen­nifer Evans and her bestie Leigh Sexton, have a real chance of win­ning the My Kitchen Rules crown.

As one of the final four duos still stand­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion, the pair has sur­vived nasty on­line jibes and at­tacks, kitchen melt­downs, and the dis­cov­ery that Evans fell preg­nant while film­ing took place.

Since the show started, they have been suc­ceeded as res­i­dent vil­lains by the likes of the Gold Coast’s “Dr Evil” Peter Hamil­ton and Thomas Carr – the bloke who wouldn’t eat hum­ble pie, and cer­tainly couldn’t cook it.

Evans and Sexton tonight take on Tas­ma­ni­ans Me­gan Woodman and Andy Ap­pleby in the first semi-final.

A win will see them go into Tues­day night’s grand final cook- off, against the win­ner of to­mor­row night’s chal­lenge.

That sec­ond semi-final pits South Aus­tralians Nic Maz­zone and Rocco La Bella against sib­ling duo Emily and Carly Che­ung.

For Evans and Sexton, it’s been a wild ride.

And whether or not they sur­vive the final rounds to take the $ 250,000 win­ners prize, the pair have notched up per­sonal vic­to­ries money can’t buy.

Evans, de­spite a grow­ing aver­sion to scal­lops, is en­joy­ing bloom­ing in her preg­nancy, while Sexton, a florist, is plot­ting adding a café to the busi­ness she works in along­side her hus­band.

And to­gether, de­spite a bar­rage of early crit­i­cism from view­ers and con­tes­tants alike, they’ve be­come faster friends than ever.

Evans and her hus­band have re­lo­cated to Syd­ney since the show fin­ished film­ing – a move which elicited sto­ries that Evans and Sexton no longer spoke.

It’s one of a wealth of sto­ries the pair have laughed off since they burst on

We had no idea we’d get this far

to our screens in Fe­bru­ary, and Evans un­in­ten­tion­ally made the word “yeah” her trade­mark and a pro­moter’s dream.

“There’ve been some ridicu­lous sto­ries and at­tacks, but the fact is we’re closer than ever,” says Sexton.

“Some have been funny, some have been hurt­ful, but most of it we take with a grain of salt be­cause we know who we are.”

Evans laughs off her por­trayal on the show as the early vil­lain.

“If I didn’t know me, I prob­a­bly would have hated me too,” she says.

“But I knew it was a re­al­ity tele­vi­sion show, and the ed­i­tors were just do­ing their job.” Evans shrugs off per­sonal crit­i­cisms made of her on­line. “It didn’t bother me at all. You can’t please ev­ery­one,” she says.

“I don’t know these peo­ple, they don’t know me, and if you’re sit­ting around bul­ly­ing some­one on the in­ter­net, you prob­a­bly re­ally need to fill your day with bet­ter things – go for a walk and get some fresh air, do some­thing pro­duc­tive.”

Sexton says Evans’ crit­ics – on and off the show – for­get that her poi­son tongue “only ever cri­tiqued food – she didn’t get per­sonal”.

“When we went on the show that’s what it was about – cook­ing and cri­tiquing other peo­ple on their food, and yet Jen­nifer was at­tacked for cri­tiquing food in a nasty way,” she says.

“Then peo­ple went on to cri­tique her per­son­ally. “I’ve read some ter­ri­ble ar­ti­cles bag­ging her out.

“They’re jealous of Jen. I’m a down to earth per­son and I sur­round my­self with the same. I wouldn’t be friends with some­one who’s a bitch, and Jen’s not.”

The pair is ap­proach­ing the semi­fi­nal the same way as they have ev­ery chal­lenge in the MKR ride – try­ing not to take it too se­ri­ously by over-pre­par­ing.

“Me­gan and Andy are great cooks and it’s daunt­ing and scary go­ing up against them,” Sexton says. “We had no idea we’d get this far.” The pair gig­gle that un­til the show went to air, they had no idea Evans said “yeah” so much, or gave so much away with her fa­cial ex­pres­sions.

“But I didn’t set out to be some­one I’m not,” Evans says.

“I only punc­tu­ate sen­tences with ‘yeah’ when I’m speak­ing to peo­ple I don’t re­ally know – not to Leigh or my hus­band or my friends.

“So if I have a cringe mo­ment on the show, it’s that, and the fact I called New Zealand peo­ple ‘sim­ple’, which just came out all wrong.”

Sexton says watch­ing the show in real time has meant she cringes “ev­ery time I open my mouth, be­cause I have a potty mouth”.

The culi­nary pair thought their MKR ride had ended in the melt­ing heat of the car­a­van chal­lenge in Far North Queens­land.

“The hu­mid­ity, the kitchen, the heat, no gas, and it was the first time we’d had a bad dish. It was hor­rific,” says Sexton.

That said, the pair would do it again in a sec­ond.

“Any­one who doesn’t sign up for next sea­son is mad,” says Sexton. –

Doody St, Alexan­dria, NSWfor Na­tion­wide News Pty Ltd (ACNofHolt St, Surry Hills, NSW

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