New Year Honours: Nadiya Hussain had the most moving reaction to receiving an MBE

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Christobel Hastings
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The Great British Bake Off star and phenomenally successful TV chef Nadiya Hussain has been recognised in the New Year Honours list, and her beautiful reaction shows exactly why she’s a national treasure.

Nadiya Hussain captured the hearts of the nation when she won The Great British Bake Off with her inventive baking, sparkling personality and moving acceptance speech about overcoming boundaries. Now, the beloved TV chef will get a chance to exhibit at least two of those things when she receives her MBE for her services to broadcasting and the culinary arts.

The British Bangladeshi star was among those named in the 2020 New Year Honours list, which recognises the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK, including household names from the worlds of the arts, entertainment, sport and politics, as well as inspirational people who have made an exceptional contribution to UK society.

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Hussain, whose emotional victory on the sixth series of The Great British Bake Off in 2015 became a defining moment of TV history when she declared, “I’m never going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never going to say I can’t do it. I’m never going to say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will,”wrote that she never dreamed she would become the recipient of a prestigious accolade from the Queen.

Taking to Instagram, the Bake Off star posted a photo of the letters ‘MBE’ written in the condensation on her car window alongside an emotional message. 

“Even my car is crying tears of joy! Thank you for all the kind words and absolutely wonderful messages! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would ever happen to me,” she began, before expressing that she wished her grandparents were alive to see her achievements.

“I know my grandparents would be really proud, they wouldn’t understand what was going on, or what it means but they would be proud none the less. I just know it! Little old rice farmers family in the middle of nowhere with a grand daughter with an MBE ! Who would have thought it?! I wish they were alive to enjoy this moment with us!”

New Year Honours: Nadiya Hussain won the sixth series of The Great British Bake Off

The TV star went on to thank her fans for their continued support as she acknowledged her incredible rise to fame since winning the BBC programme.

“I have had an exhilarating and exciting few years and I have done weird, wonderful and scary things. Long may it continue. Thanks to all the people who have supported me and believed in me and just made it all just a little bit easier. For all the love. For believing in me. Thank you! #ThankYou #Grateful #FeelingProud.”

Hussain, who describes herself as a “mamma and a maker” on her website, was a stay-at-home mother-of-three before she applied for The Great British Bake Off at the encouragement of her husband Abdul. 

After wowing the judges with her extraordinary creations, Hussain launched a successful TV career, fronting a string of popular shows such as The Chronicles of NadiyaNadiya’s Family Favourites, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, Nadiya’s Family Favourites and Time To Eat.

Nadiya Hussain on anxiety - Stylist cover star
New Year Honours: Nadiya Hussain has been a vocal advocate for mental health awareness

As well as her broadcasting work, Hussain has written eight cookery books including Nadiya’s Kitchen, Time To Eat and Nadiya’s Family Favourites, as well as the children’s books Bake Me A Story and My Monster And Me, and a humorous and heart-warming modern British Muslim take on Little WomenThe Secret Lives Of The Amir Sisters.

Since being catapulted into the spotlight, Hussain has  been commissioned to bake a cake for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, for which she baked an orange drizzle cake with orange curd and orange buttercream. Meanwhile, in 2017, she was named by Debrett’s as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK.

New Year Honours: Nadiya Hussain was invited to bake a cake for the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations
Hussain has also received praise for opening up about living with a panic disorder for more than 20 years, fronting a programme in 2019 called Nadiya: Anxiety and Me. Last year, the star opened up to Stylist about her debilitating struggles with anxiety

“I’ve suffered for years,” she said at the time. “If you’re a child, it’s a phase. If you’re a teenager, it’s hormones. When you’re an adult, you’re just not coping. We have to stop giving these random sporadic labels and say, ‘No, this is a medical condition and it needs to be recognised.’ There’s something broken on the inside that needs fixing. We need to talk more.”

nadiya hussain
Nadiya Hussain shared her advice on growing up with anxiety at Stylist Live LUXE

As well as promoting tolerance and understanding around mental health, Hussain has spoken out about the importance of representation as a hijab-wearing Muslim woman of colour.

“I’m not the perfect Muslim, I’m not the perfect Bangladeshi or the perfect ‘British person’… so anyone who’s got abuse or criticism, go ahead!” she told the Radio Times. I don’t care. I never said I was perfect! I’m just being me, and that’s all I can ever be. But I understand the importance of being a brown, Muslim woman of faith who is in the public eye, because there aren’t that many of us. So I know that I’m representing a lot of groups and I know how important that is, especially for women.”

Congratulations, Nadiya!

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