CELEBRITY

Jock Zonfrillo’s signature worry beads helped him in more ways than one

By raising more awareness about worry beads, Jock hoped to also start more conversations about mental health.
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Jock Zonfrillo’s worry beads became a major talking point when MasterChef fans started to notice the judge holding them on the show.

By raising more awareness about worry beads, Jock hoped to also start more conversations about mental health.

After tragically passing on April 30, 2023, his mental health advocacy will not be forgotten.

WATCH BELOW: MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo explains why he carries worry beads. Article continues after video. 

Jock was constantly flooded with questions by fans about what exactly they even were, and why he was carrying them.

The attention prompted Jock to explain that they are in fact worry beads, and that he had been carrying a set of them for years, where simply flicking through the beads helped Jock deal with his anxiety, especially while filming MasterChef.

“For me, when filming, it’s not unusual to see them in my hands and I guess people just get used to it and I think normalising it is a big part of it,” he told New Idea in July 2021.

jock zonfrillo worry beads
Jock was rarely seen without a set of worry beads in his hands. (Credit: Supplied)

Not only did flicking through the beads help Jock with his mental health, but he soon found out that actually making them helped a whole lot too.

“I started making them in lockdown,” the chef explained. “I was like I also find it relaxing making them. I found it helped me.”

It came as a pleasant, albeit shocking, surprise to his wife Lauren especially, where she walked in on Jock in his “man-cave” and found him surrounded by hundreds of worry beads.

“We call it a Scottish room… And Loz, my wife, hadn’t been in that room for quite some time and came in looking for me one day,” he recalled.

“There were close to 300 hundred different sets of worry beads pinned onto the wall.”

jock zonfrillo worry beads
“I was like I also find it relaxing making them. I found it helped me.” (Credit: Supplied)

After discovering just how much he enjoyed making them, Jock decided to make his signature worry beads available to the public with the launch of the hand-crafted label, Caim.

The bespoke collection of beads, designed and handmade by Jock himself were limited-edition worry beads made from gemstones and semi-precious stones.

“I’ll go in mad searches to find very unique, semi-precious beads and then make really beautiful worry beads and work out how to string them so they don’t break,” Jock said.

jock zonfrillo masterchef
Jock hoped to raise more awareness on mental health and help others with the worry beads. (Credit: Ten)

By raising more awareness of the worry beads, Jock hoped to also start more conversations about mental health.

“I think it’s so important for people to talk about mental health and be comfortable talking about it and not feel as though they’re a leper,” he said.

“I’ve always felt a bit like a leper when I’ve thought about the way I felt with the anxiety,” he added.

In line with Jock’s transparency of his own mental health struggles, Caim donated $5 from every set of worry beads to Beyond Blue.

WATCH NOW: MasterChef winner Brent Draper reveals he still carries the worry beads Jock gave him. Article continues after video. 

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In August 2023, MasterChef winner Brent Draper revealed that he still carried around the worry beads Jock had given him on his original 2021 season, which he withdraw from due to his mental health struggles at the time. 

After his first stint on the show, Brent took a year off to travel around Australia with his wife Shonleigh, and son Alfie.

“Driving around Australia, there was a little hook, and they [the worry beads] hung there for the whole trip.”

“Now I carry them when I go to something important and need a little reminder or a little bit of confidence in my pocket.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, help is always available. Call Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Reach Out Australia: 1800 RESPECT.

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