My Kitchen Rules star, Bettina Banks wants everyone to realise the importance of vision care

By Christina Cavaleri October 16, 2017

Her mother went blind when she was three with no warning.

For all the My Kitchen Rules fans out there, Bettina Banks was one of the favourites.

Today she opened up to Smooth about her life behind the show - her life with her mother.

Banks’ mother went blind with no warning and with the help of Oscar Wylee donating 100 per cent of all gross profits on World Sight Day to Sight For All last week, Banks is out to make sure people are talking about vision care. 

Smooth: Tell me about your life and growing up with your mother, what has it been like? 

Bettina Banks: It was tough growing up, understanding what happened when were younger was really hard. My sister and I grew up really fast, not only did we look after ourselves, we also had to look after our mother. But our mother is such an amazing, powerful woman. She never used her blindness as an excuse - until this day, she still cooks for us.

How did she figure out she was becoming vision impaired? 

She didn’t figure it out. She had flu like symptoms, went to doctors and came home to rest. She woke up one morning and her sight was gone. There were really no warning signs - it could happen to anyone. 

How did she still provide meals for you and your siblings without her sight? 

She says when she’s in the kitchen or her house she has a map in her brain. We weren’t able to move things around or else she could hurt herself. She had to re-learn to cook blind. I remember her cutting herself a few times when I was younger, accidents happen when you don’t have your sight. That’s where I stepped in. 

What is some advice you would give to other people who have someone who is blind in their life? 

ALWAYS be there for them. Focus on the positives and take them out to eat or cook! Food almost cures everything. Having a disability doesn’t mean their different. They’re still human and should be treated like how you’d like to be treated. 

What has it made you appreciate? 

My sight and my eyes. I wear glasses myself, so it’s a little scary waking up in the morning blurry vision, but I make sure I see the optometrist whether I feel my eye’s worsen or my headaches get to severe. This world is such a beautiful place also. I try and take everything in when I look at something. We rush so much in our everyday lives that when we see something we’re not actually looking at it. 


How has your mother inspired your career? 

My mother’s blindness and her hustle to cook to make sure we were all fed created my passion for food and cooking. She just knew it had to be done and it brought the family together. Food just brings people together. I remember when I was a child my mum would cook for all of us to make sure we should sit down on the table and have a family dinner - doesn’t matter what mood we were in, we sat there and ate!

How did she feel about your MKR journey? 

She enjoyed it more than I did. She was my greatest supporter through out the whole thing. Our conversations were always about food about recipes, so she loved that about my MKR Journey. Bringing her recipes to life and showing off our Lao food made her super proud. 

What do you hope to achieve by educating the public on preventable eye disease?

Raising awareness on Eyecare and how important it is in our everyday lives. We have the best healthcare systems in the world and we can start by sharing this with one of the charity’s I support and who I am a social media ambassador for - “Sight for All” - not only do they provide and educate Eyecare but they help raise awareness of Eyecare around the world!

What is the best thing about being Oscar Wylee & Sight For All ambassador? 

I love how Oscar Wylee's have taken their crusade against vision impairment to the next level with their World Sight Day charity initiative. This is on top of their “I Care for Eye-care” mission which is with every pair of frames you purchase; you’ll will be providing someone in need access to affordable eye-care. They work with established partners around the world who are committed to making the biggest impact possible with the support they provide. Coincidentally, they’ve partnered with Sight For All.

How did you come into contact with them?

When I heard about Sight for All, I fell in love with their mission - I could not have said no. They knew about my mother who is also a brand ambassador for Sight For All in Laos and they approached me to see how I can help support the cause.

Oscar Wylee raised $30,439 dollars on World Sight day.