Paralympian Kadeena Cox MBE and former Coronation Street actress Melissa Johns are among 20 stars to be taking part in Celebrity MasterChef 2021 later this year.
The pair will be competing alongside the likes of TV personality Katie Price, actor and presenter Joe Swash, Loose Woman Penny Lancaster, ex-footballer Dion Dublin and Bez from the band Happy Mondays.
Broadcast over six weeks, the celebrities – joined again by MasterChef judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace – will tackle a new series of cookery challenges, with renowned chefs including Tom Kerridge, Nisha Katona, Nieves Barragan Mohacho, and more appearing as special guest judges.
Who is Kadeena Cox MBE?
Kadeena Cox MBE is a 30-year-old Paralympic sprinter and cyclist who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2014. She has won multiple medals and holds a number of world records.
Kadeena Cox’s Paralympic career
In 2015, she competed in her first international competition at the IPC Athletics World Championships, where she won gold in the T37 100m sprint.
The Leeds-based athlete has since been reclassified to the T38 class, where she won 100m bronze at the 2016 IPC Athletics European Championships, and three medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio, with gold in the T38 400m, silver in the 4x100m and bronze in the 100m.
Kadeena was later awarded a MBE in the 2017 New Year’s honours list for services to athletics.
The following year, Kadeena claimed three more medals at the World Champions in London with 400m gold, 100m silver and 200m bronze. In 2019, she won silver in the T38 400m at the World Para Athletics World Championships in Dubai.
As well as her time on the athletics track, Kadeena has also won many medals in the velodrome as a para-cyclist.
Her first major success was at the British Cycling National Track Championships where she won the first British title of her career in the C1-5 500 metre time-trial.
In 2016, she won the C4 500 metre time-trial in a new world record time of 37.456 at the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships.
At Rio 2016, she also achieved a gold medal in cycling with victory in the C4-5 time trial to become the first British Paralympian for 32 years to win medals in two different sports.
This was also where she became the first British black cyclist to win a medal at Olympic or Paralympic level.
In 2019, she returned to the saddle and won two silver medals (500m and team sprint) at the Paracycling Track World Championships in Milton, Canada.
Kadeena Cox on Celebrity MasterChef
Away from sport, Kadeena has made numerous appearances on television including Eating with my Ex, Celebs on the Farm, Celebrity Bake Off and Pointless Celebrities.
Following the announcement that she would be competing on Celebrity MasterChef, Kadeena tweeted:
I love to bake and cook so naturally, I’m pretty excited to say that I’m part of this year’s @MasterChefUK line up. Tune into @BBCOne later this summer to see how we all get on #MasterChefUK pic.twitter.com/yIP5enNQ4U
— Kadeena Cox MBE (@kad_c) April 22, 2021
Who is Melissa Johns?
Melissa Johns is an actress and disability advocate who was born without a right forearm and hand.
Melissa Johns’ acting career
Melissa first appeared in the public eye with her role as Imogen Pascoe in the ITV soap Coronation Street from 2017 to 2019.
She is best known for playing Hannah Taylor in BBC’s mini-series Life in 2020. She also had several appearances as Sadie in the BBC drama The Interceptor back in 2015.
In addition, Melissa has had roles in Casualty, Doctors, I Hate Suzie, Flack (series two), plus many more. She is also set to appear in the new series of ITV’s Grantchester later this year.
She had her first TV commission last year with What Would You Do Frida, a short for the BBC which she co-wrote and performed in. She is also currently working on her one-woman show Snatched with The Lowry Theatre and Arts Council England.
Melissa Johns’ disability advocacy work and awards
Melissa is the co-founder of TripleC and DANC (Disabled Actors Networking Community) with Coronation Street actress Cherylee Houston. She is also an ambassador for Models of Diversity and Invisiyouth charity.
She has been recognised in the Shaw Trust’s Power 100 list of the most influential disabled people.
Furthermore, she was shortlisted for the Positive Role Model award at the National Diversity Awards and has been named JCI’s Ten Outstanding Young Pearson’s of the World.
This was Melissa’s reaction on Twitter when the news broke that she’d be taking part in Celebrity MasterChef:
Well… Here we have it…
Let’s see how this goes
— Melissa Johns (@MelissaJohns_1) April 22, 2021
Celebrity MasterChef will be on BBC One later this summer.
By Emma Purcell
More on Disability Horizons…
Amar Latif: entrepreneur, TV personality and first blind Masterchef contestant
Gabriella Leon: Deaf actress and theatre maker best known as Jade in BBC Casualty
Briony May Williams: Bake Off semi-finalist and TV presenter who lives with a “little hand”
Review: Knork knife and fork in one cutlery set