Great British Bake Off star Nadiya has revealed she was initially “a bit nervous that perhaps people would look at me, a Muslim in a headscarf, and wonder if I could bake.”
The 30-year-old mum of three tells this week’s Radio Times magazine: “I hope that week by week people have realised that I can bake – and just because I’m not a stereotypical British person, it doesn’t mean that I am not into bunting, cake and tea. I’m just as British as anyone else, and I hope I have proved that.”
Thanks to the reaction of Bake Off fans who have eagerly watched her progress to this year’s semi-finals, she’s now full of confidence. “I think the show is a fantastic representation of British society today,” she tells Radio Times. “The feedback I have had reveals how accepting people are of different cultures and religions.
“Now people know who I am, I can see how tolerant and accepting British society is.”
Nadiya, whose family is from Bangladesh, has consistently impressed judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, often with flavour combinations inspired by her heritage – a skill that earned her star baker during last week’s quarter-finals.
And her success has brought with it a new-found fame: “Everywhere I go, people stop me to take pictures. It makes a one-hour trip take about three hours. My husband has become a very good photographer! He’s enjoying it so much, too. It’s been really nice, actually.”