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Meet the cast of SAS AUSTRALIA 2021

Eighteen Aussie celebrities take on one of the toughest tests of their lives in the gripping new season of SAS Australia. 

Under the direction of elite ex-Special Forces soldiers Ant Middleton, Mark “Billy” Billingham, Jason “Foxy” Fox and Ollie Ollerton, recruits will face a series of physical and psychological tests from the real SAS selection process – on the most gruelling course ever seen in the UK or Australia.

Faced with extreme challenges in unforgiving terrain, these famous faces will eat, sleep and be tested in punishing conditions, with no allowances or exceptions made for their celebrity status or gender.

As they’re subjected to extreme physical endurance, sleep deprivation, interrogation and psychological testing, these men and women will need to push past their fears and their limits in the hope of passing SAS selection.

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Some will reach breaking point and withdraw. Who has the mental strength to tough it out to the end?

Meet the Cast

Alicia Molik in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Alicia Molik in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Alicia Molik

Age (on course): 40

Current Hometown: Perth

Profession: Tennis Coach

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To completely test myself, seeing I feel as mentally tough at 40 as I’ve ever felt in my life. My kids would think it was pretty cool too.

How would you describe the experience?

Once in a lifetime and an eye opener to not being in control of anything.

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What training did you do to prepare for the course?

Plenty! I’d train twice a day through the week when the kids were at school – strength in the gym, then every afternoon, long walks and runs with a 20kg weight vest, plus some swimming and running in sand with my boots.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

When we ran through the field in our underwear after entering the course – that’s when it hit!

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

So much more challenging. It’s all the in-between preparation time where you’re drying muddy, wet clothes or cleaning yourself and dressing bandages, which is so tedious and time consuming. 

What was your favourite thing about the course?

Nothing was a favourite, it’s all torture. But before the course, a highlight was being so focussed and dedicated to something again. I felt like I was back in training as a professional tennis player in the off season. I was completely preoccupied and said no to a lot of social stuff because I wanted quality rest for training each night. Kind of wacky really.

And least favourite?

Being sore. And I hate heights. I have a huge fear, but I pushed myself as much as I could. Other difficult things were not being able to fully focus on my normal life while I was training for SAS. A complete one-eyed nature overtook me and I was quite selfish for that period.

Did anything surprise you?

Lots did surprise me, especially how silent all the crew were. Also, how quickly you become ingrained in the life of the course. You don’t have a minute to think about a loved one, or home, anything… you are completely preoccupied with what’s next.

What did you learn about yourself?

I do tend to overthink many things, it’s in order to try and get things as right as I can. I like to be prepared as best I can, weigh up my options, and make a plan. This didn’t always help in the course that’s for sure. The less you think, the better. Just do!

Would you ever do it again?

No, because I gave this course every ounce of my energy, planning and dedication leading up to it.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

Completely agree. It’s resilience, mental fortitude, patience, belief, not second guessing, all tied into each other in an instant.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

Do it for sure, don’t overthink the decision like I did. It will be brutal, uncomfortable and torturous at times… the rest I can’t say!

Instagram: @alicia_molik

Bonnie Anderson in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Bonnie Anderson in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Bonnie Anderson

Age (on course): 26

Current Hometown: Melbourne

Profession: Singer / Actor

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I have always loved a challenge, and love to better myself daily. I believe I had what it took to push myself and go into the course with an open mind and hoped I came out with many lessons.

How would you describe the experience?

My experience on SAS was mind blowing, I felt a lot of highs and lows. Achieving and overcoming fears I didn’t even know that I had and also pushing my mind and body beyond my means. It was an extreme experience, physically and mentally, and for me I felt that it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done emotionally. It really stripped me down and forced me to deal with emotions I have supressed in the past.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did a range of CrossFit, boxing, hiking and running. These are my favourite types of training, so I just stuck to what I love, expanded the amount I was doing and pushed myself. 

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

The second that bag went over my head, I knew there was no turning back. Then that first run up the hill after the tear gassing when we couldn’t touch any part of our bodies was the moment for me. The authority and demands from the DS had started. We did not want to upset them by any means.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

WAY MORE! It’s like nothing you could ever imagine. Watching it on the telly isn’t anything like actually being there and doing it.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

The people I met and the realisation of how far I could really push myself. I’ve always thought of myself as a confident person, but I realised I doubt myself far more than I knew. Moving forward that isn’t something I want holding me back!

And least favourite?

Sitting in our freezing cold, wet clothes was hard. The tear gas was horrific, that really scared me. There were a lot of fearful moments for me during the tasks, but I felt proud when I overcame them.

Did anything surprise you?

Everything surprised me! I was always creating stories in my head of what I thought we might be doing next and I was always so wrong. The DS were amazing at keeping us on our toes, but everything they did was for a reason. We really were being conditioned for battle. Everything about the course was so real.

What did you learn about yourself?

I am far more capable, stronger and wiser than I give myself credit for and I doubt myself far too much. I also learnt that it is so important to deal with things in life and not push them aside and think it’s okay. I’ve been through low times and I feel like this course brought all those emotions back up and has forced me to deal with them. I find it a positive outcome and I’m in such a good place.

Would you ever do it again?

If you ask me this in five years I may say yes, but it’s a no for now!

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

Absolutely! It’s tough because it breaks you down, not only physically and mentally, but you are also sleep deprived, limited for food, taken out of your comfort zones and forced to face many of your fears.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

Do it! Its life changing and you can only grow from something like this. My advice is to go in with an open mind and never, ever assume what is coming next.

Instagram: @bonnieandersonmusic

Brynne Edelsten in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Brynne Edelsten in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Brynne Edelsten

Age (on course): 38

Current Hometown: Melbourne

Profession: Event & Functions Co-ordinator

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

If I was ever going to do a show like SAS, this was the year to do it. I had the worst year of my life in 2020 and it forced me to rebuild and put myself back together. After going through tough times, I had become so much stronger, both mentally and physically. I was in the best and most healthy place of my entire life, since finally putting myself first and focusing on my fitness.

How would you describe the experience?

Very physically challenging.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did lots of walking to break in my boots, gradually adding more weight to my backpack. I also did F45 sessions, weights/gym sessions and I cut out alcohol two weeks prior.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

When we first got to Base Camp.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

Way more challenging than I had convinced myself it would be.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

Meeting all the other recruits. Everyone was so lovely and supportive of each other which was so important while trying to push through such difficult and confronting tasks. I also liked the first helicopter task because it was the only thing that wasn’t painful!

And least favourite?

Being gassed, that was pure torture! It feels like the chemicals are burning you from the inside while suffocating at the same time.

Did anything surprise you?

How nice the DS are when you are no longer on the course and under their control.

What did you learn about yourself?

I can block out my fears and zone out when I need to.

Would you ever do it again?

Not unless I had far more time to train and prepare myself.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

This is definitely the toughest thing I have ever attempted. I thought I was in pretty good shape until that first day when I realised that physically, I don’t stand a chance of completing the course.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

Start training now!!

Instagram: @brynne_edelsten

Dan Ewing in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Dan Ewing in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Dan Ewing

Age (on course): 35

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Actor

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I am obsessed with growth and chasing the best version of myself. I came to the course in a very good place. I sought to not only test that state of being in the ultimate pressure cooker, but to take my perspective on life to a whole new level.

How would you describe the experience?

Not to be cliché, but GAIN through PAIN! I have grown more than I could have imagined and pushed myself further and through more pain and suffering than I thought I could endure while gaining some incredible lifelong friends on the way.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I played bunch of basketball. I also worked with a personal trainer on what we call “farmer strength” (no bicep curls here baby). I did lots of long hikes with a weight vest, working my way up from 10kg to 20kg. I never liked endurance events but I grew to love them. Mentally is where I feel my preparation was really key. The DS weren’t about to let me light candles and meditate mid-task, so I researched what the military trains soldiers to do in order to lower stress levels under immense pressure. I came across tactical breathing and box breathing which helped me on the course big time.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

They had me at tear gas.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

You can’t prepare for being as physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted as you are. The course is truly relentless. Nothing can prepare you for it. Childbirth maybe, but I truly hope the doctors don’t call you a c*nt and order you to push harder!

What was your favourite thing about the course?

Hands down the teamwork and bonds forged are my number one highlight. We suffered, we failed, we succeeded, we failed some more, we laughed, we told stories, talked about our families, we cried, we bared the deepest and darkest parts of our souls because all we had was each other.

And least favourite?

Being away from my partner and my son. Also at times I struggled to “attack” some tasks. I was a bit placid. Unleashing levels of aggression onto another recruit was very difficult for me.

Did anything surprise you?

How relentless it was! We never had more than three hours sleep without being woken up for a beasting, a gas drill or an inspection (which inevitably led to a beasting).

What did you learn about yourself?

I learnt that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought and that it’s ok to unleash that competitive edge I possess when I need it. There is no true growth in comfort. Interesting concept as most of us will seek comfort rather than face discomfort at every turn. But is “comfort” or things being “easy”, really going to make us better versions of who we are?

Would you ever do it again?

The DS are sticklers for the course being the closest experience to the real selection process. So yes is my answer, but I feel I wouldn’t get the same out of it.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

Agree! You’re not just physically running on empty, you’re into a reserve that you never knew existed. You barely eat, you’re deprived of sleep, there’s no family, no phone, you’re getting screamed at, drowned, frozen, hit, even gassed! Basically, you are the most fearful and uncomfortable that you will EVER be.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

It will absolutely change your life for the better. You cannot put a ceiling on how much you will grow if you come in with a strong mind, great physical condition and have a completely open heart.

Instagram: @_danewing

Emma Husar in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Emma Husar in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Emma Husar

Age (on course): 41

Current Hometown: Perth

Profession: Speaker, Educator and former Parliamentarian

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

It felt like a way of overcoming the issues I faced in 2018 at the end of my Parliamentary career and ‘prove to Australia’ that I am not what I was accused of. I also had some experience of the ADF as a Member of Parliament and have enormous respect for what our armed services do. This experience offers the ordinary Australian some insight into training and life in the Special Forces, and showcases the skills and dedication required to serve the nation, which can sometimes be hard to understand.

How would you describe the experience?

AMAZING! An opportunity to grow and to overcome. I was surprised at what I learnt about myself. 

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

Before I injured my calf about four weeks out,I was training three to four hours a day. I had two active rest days a week of swimming or a decent walk. I pack marched with weight, working on my times under load. I was deadlifting 109kg and smashing training goals I had never achieved before. Post injury, I increased my training sessions to five to six hours each day, including rehab. I swam every day and ran in an alt-g machine to be weightless to learn to run again. I also worked with an SASR veteran who helped condition my mind to withstand the self-doubt, and negative chatter I believed about myself.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

When I signed on! I knew what I was getting into. I had seen the last season and also the UK version and trained with the Australian SAS. My trainer prepared me really well for this.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

I was prepared for anything, literally anything, so I didn’t hold any expectations. 

What was your favourite thing about the course?

The growth and self-development. I think I learnt more about myself than in the last two years of therapy. Also, the other recruits, learning about their story, hearing how they’d overcome things, watching them grow and achieve. This crew of people were divine to be getting dirty on the course with and I see some solid long-term friendships.

And least favourite?

Coming in injured. Nothing could be worse than being that far at the back of the pack physically, but mentally and emotionally so charged and so ready for it.

Did anything surprise you?

The team dynamic (we stuck together) and the lack of a shower. I expected there to be modest facilities but no shower or privacy to have a bucket shower did throw me a little.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learnt that I don’t have to prove anything to the outside world, they can think of me however they like. I know my truth and I am brave enough to stand in that fire. I am worthwhile. I am enough.

Would you ever do it again?

Yes, absolutely. I not only want to do it again, I need to do it again!

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

There are tougher things I have had to deal with, but this course stretches every part of you all at the same time. 

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

Do it, absolutely. It will be both the best and worst experience of your life.

Instagram: @msemmahusar

Erin Holland in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Erin Holland in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Erin Holland

Age (on course): 32

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: TV Presenter, Singer and former Miss World Australia

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I absolutely cannot say no to a challenge or a life changing opportunity, and this was the ultimate test. How can you say no to an experience that you know one hundred percent will help you grow as a person, no matter how difficult it is? It was a no brainer.

How would you describe the experience?

Without a doubt, the most challenging and eye-opening experience of my life. I feel like I have truly changed and grown as a person.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I threw myself into the most intense training schedule of my life, including nine weeks of sessions with my regular PT, several sessions and a fitness Barrier Test with an SAS PT, plus the recommended Fartlek training program. We tried to increase my fitness level from someone who goes to the gym five days a week to “look good, feel good”, to having the endurance to be able to try and survive the brutality of this course. This also meant plenty of hours trekking around in army boots with 15kg weight packs on my back, listening to the Directing Staff’s audiobooks. I hoped to try and humanise and familiarise myself with them. This definitely made it easier to cope when we were being yelled at!

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

When we got to base and saw the toilet and (lack of) shower situation. I’ve never felt more exposed than trying to use those outdoor toilets!

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

Way more challenging! The experience is 24/7 and there are hours and hours of additional exercises and tasks that aren’t seen on TV. It’s just relentless.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

I never ever thought I would survive a gassing, swing out of a helicopter, tightrope 20m above a coal mine, learn to abseil or make friends for life. I am very much a people person and getting to work amongst a team in this kind of environment was a real thrill for me.

And least favourite?

My challenges were all physical rather than mental. Carrying 18kg on my back, plus the 1L water bottle, was a lot on my 57kg frame. And the gassing! I never, ever thought I’d get tear gassed in a gas chamber in this lifetime.

Did anything surprise you?

Everything. You could never predict anything!

What did you learn about yourself?

Self-awareness is important in life. My body is capable of way more than I ever gave it credit for, and I plan on training at a similar intensity now, stepping things up and challenging my physical self more, putting myself out of my comfort zone.

Would you ever do it again?

Yes! I got more out of my time on SAS than I have from any other physical challenge in my life. But I would start training right now. Taking my physicality up many notches to meet my mental strength and stubbornness, would set me in much better stead if I ever went in again.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

Absolutely! Every part of you is tested. You are stripped of every creature comfort and challenged physically and mentally in ways you’d never dreamed of. This will break anyone down. But if you let it, you’ll learn more about yourself than you ever could have imagined in such a short time.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

One million percent say yes! I know it’s scary, and if you’re not an athlete like me, it may seem impossible, but it’s truly not. Everyone can get something incredible out of this experience, if you surrender your head and your heart to total vulnerability.

Instagram: @erinvholland

Heath Shaw in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Heath Shaw in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Heath Shaw

Age (on course): 35

Current Hometown: Melbourne

Profession: Retired Athlete

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To try something unique and out of my comfort zone.

How would you describe the experience?

It was the toughest, most positively rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did a lot of weighted hill walking and body weight workouts.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

When I took off my gas mask and tried to talk and couldn’t even say my name.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

It was more challenging mentally than I expected.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

Overcoming the tunnel and the boxing task.

And least favourite?

The tunnel.

Did anything surprise you?

How little I ate. 

What did you learn about yourself?

You can always go a bit more. And don’t overthink things, keep it simple.

Would you ever do it again?

No.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

Yes physically, but more mentally challenging.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

It’s the best experience you will have but train the mind as much as the body.

Instagram: @lordheathshaw

Isabelle Cornish in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Isabelle Cornish in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Isabelle Cornish

Age: 26

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Actor

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I like to seek opportunities that will help me to grow. The SAS selection course was a new challenge to throw myself into.

How would you describe the experience?

Physically and mentally demanding. Fun, cool and exciting.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I already had a good aerobic base from all the running that I do, so my focus was building strength and muscle and my ability to carry heavy weights. I would train in the gym four days a week, for two to three hours most days. Then I would do two long distance running and walking sessions with a 20kg backpack. My training consisted of weightlifting for strength and power, bear crawling across sand, carrying heavy loads, swimming in my clothing and boots, chin ups, push ups and HIIT. I put on 7kg of muscle in training and I’m glad that I did.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

Day one when we got tear gassed then stripped of all our clothing except a bra and underwear. And when the DS made me do 60 punishment push ups in the first five minutes of the course.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

It was nothing like I had experienced before. All the little moments of being cold, dirty and tired definitely added up!

What was your favourite thing about the course?

Getting to do cool shit like jump out of helicopters, get submerged in a car, shoot blank weapons… I love that stuff! I also loved the mental stimulation of the course. The tasks helped me to train in staying focused and gaining control over my mind.

And least favourite?

Sleeping dirty and always being dirty takes its toll. It would have been nice to have clean underwear every day. Bear crawling through the swamp and rocks was my least favourite task. The rocks were extremely painful and the bruises and cuts on my arms and knees hurt for days.

Did anything surprise you?

The tear gassing was intense and unexpected, but I’m glad it was the first task. Also, the no privacy thing. I thought there would be a bathroom to get changed in but nope, the boys could see the girls pee.

What did you learn about yourself?

The importance of committing to courage and backing yourself one hundred percent. When I faced tasks I wasn’t sure I could complete, I just told myself that I could and I did. 

Would you ever do it again?

Yes, one hundred percent but injury free next time.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

It’s tough absolutely, mentally and physically it’s demanding. 

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

You only live once, give it a go!

Instagram: @isabellecornish

Jana Pittman in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Jana Pittman in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Jana Pittman

Age (on course): 38

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Track Athlete, Bobsledder, Doctor and Mum

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I wanted to challenge myself physically, particularly after having a baby only months prior. I also wanted to test my mental strength. I was particularly keen to do SAS as I have always wanted to be involved with the Australian Defence Force. I have several family members, including my brother, who have served and I wanted to experience a little of the world they lived in.

How would you describe the experience?

Extraordinary, scary, challenging, mindset-changing and overall one of the greatest experiences of my life.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I started training about six weeks after the baby was born. I tried to do heaps of gym work (farmer carriers, hanging, weights etc) and lots of long walks. I initially did some great running too, but sadly tore my calf so had to back off that.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

The moment we arrived. They gassed us and stripped us to our undies. It was huge shock value and the outside world (despite the cameras) vanished pretty quickly.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

It was what I expected… very, very tough but also incredibly rewarding.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

All of it, especially the fear-based challenges. I also liked conquering my own mind on some of the team and partner challenges where your body screamed at you to stop, but the group morale pushed you beyond what you thought was humanly possible.

And least favourite?

The sleep deprivation. You lie awake wondering if they will come in and gas you, or kidnap you, or do a beasting in the middle of the night.

Did anything surprise you?

The DS. Initially they were tough on everyone but as the course progressed, they invested much more time and energy in getting to know you and bringing out your strengths. They are obviously extremely tough, passionate and resilient men but also shared stories and hardships with us which was very endearing.

What did you learn about yourself?

I am tougher than I thought I was. How important my kids and family are to happiness. How I need to care less about opinions and more about things that matter, such as time with family and making a difference in meaningful things (medicine/women’s health). That I am still emotional and dramatic, but that this is my weapon – it’s what I draw on for success and resilience.

Would you ever do it again?

YES, YES, YES!

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

One hundred percent! It pushed me physically (partially because I was not as fit as I would have liked after bubs) and mentally as I had to draw heavily on that side in the physical challenges. The sleep deprivation and continuous adrenaline was really challenging. 

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

Do it! Whether you go out day one or day 13, it will change your life.

Instagram: @janapittmanofficial

Jessica Peris in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Jessica Peris in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Jessica Peris

Age (on course): 31

Current Hometown: Darwin

Profession: Athlete / Senior Community Development Officer

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I wanted to see how far I could push myself, physically and mentally.

How would you describe the experience?

The fear, the anxiety, the sleep deprivation, the hunger, the pain and the fact that I survived… incredible. I accomplished challenges that I thought were not humanly possible for me. I learnt more about myself as a person in 10 days than the 31 years on this earth.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I work a full-time job and I also have a son so it was hard to find routine but we made it work as a family. I did mostly strong-man-type training.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

On day one, task one when we were tear gassed and completely stripped of our egos – and our clothes – in front of each other.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

I knew it would be challenging, but we had such a fit, core group of people, that everything we did was at such a high intensity.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

Becoming self-motivated and getting myself fit and healthy again. Mentally, I felt rejuvenated to train for a purpose again. Also being the first female to complete the helicopter task on day one made me feel really strong.

And least favourite?

The unknown and self-expectation. Being an athlete, I’ve been to a level of physical fitness that I wasn’t able to reach with eight weeks of prep. I found it sometimes put doubt in my mind.

Did anything surprise you?

Being tear gassed.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learnt that I have held myself back so much in my life because of my fear of failure and my fear of committing myself to a task. But without failure there can be no growth. It doesn’t matter how slow you progress as long as you keep moving forward you will eventually get to your destination.

Would you ever do it again?

SAS Unfinished Business Season 1 – I’m ready!

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

I agree, it was hard. It was brutally hard. Lack of sleep, hunger and exhaustion take you to an extreme level of discomfort.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

It’ll be the worst and best experience of your life!

Instagram: @jessicasperis

Jett Kenny in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Jett Kenny in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Jett Kenny

Age (on course): 26

Current Hometown: Sunshine Coast

Profession: Lifeguard

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I went in there with a goal to push myself to either my physical or mental limit, to then try and apply that to my training and life outside of SAS.

How would you describe the experience?

An experience like no other which gave me the opportunity to do a lot of things I would never have been able to do in the outside world.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I continued my training for surf lifesaving and added in some walks in my boots to try and wear them in. Looking back now, I would have liked to have had stronger legs.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

I think it all happened when we turned around at the very start to face Ant and he gave someone a good old spray as his first sentence.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

In some aspects, less challenging. Physically, I thought it was going to be harder.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

Playing out some real life Call of Duty – there aren’t many chances to run around with an M4 in hand.

And least favourite?

Seeing people cruise along at what I believed to be 70% when others were out there giving it their all. And the food. Almost vomiting every morning wasn’t pleasant. And not eating seafood when the only food option one night was fish. It wasn’t fun going to bed on an empty stomach when you’re already drained.

Did anything surprise you?

I was surprised at the lack of punishment and fallout to not passing tasks or being far behind.

What did you learn about yourself?

Even though the person I am and the way I approach things can be difficult on myself, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can physically and mentally push myself further than I had originally thought and all I need in life is a small group of people by my side.

Would you ever do it again?

Yes.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

I believe it could have been the toughest test if some things were different. But for a lot of professional athletes, what they put themselves through to get to the top is one of the toughest things.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

Enjoy it for what it is. There will be times you’ll not want to be there, but as soon as you’re gone and you hear about everything you missed out on, you’ll be disappointed you didn’t get to experience those. Make sure you have nice, strong quads and legs and make sure you eat like a normal person (unlike me).

Instagram: @jettkenny

John Steffensen in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
John Steffensen in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

John Steffensen

Age (on course): 38

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Entrepreneur / Speed Agility Performance Coach

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To see if I can still push myself both physically and mentally like when I was athlete.

How would you describe the experience?

It was the worst and best experience of my life. I was able to delve back into the mindset I used as an athlete and grow and refine it to help me, post-show, to be a better human.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I keep very fit in my normal life, but nothing can prepare you for this!

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

When I got tear gassed in the first 45 minutes of entering the compound.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

It was as bad as I imagined LOL.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

I loved the mateship I was able to develop. Koby, Mark, Heath and Sam were just rock stars and made my time a lot of fun when we could, which wasn’t often.

And least favourite?

The back to back days of the course, the bloody cold and the water. I hated it. I’m a land baby and have African heritage LOL.

Did anything surprise you?

Yes, I was surprised at the food. I really thought I would be a lot hungrier. I think I was able to just focus on what I had, not what I didn’t have.

What did you learn about yourself?

That I am one resilient mofo!

Would you ever do it again?

Nooooooooooo, you mad?

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

Yes, because it takes you to places physically, mentally and emotionally that you just can’t replicate in outside life. This course will expose you if you are hiding anything.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

I would laugh in their face, laugh some more, then ask ‘you sure’? And then laugh some more. Then say do it! Life-changing.

Instagram: @johnsteffensen

Kerri Pottharst in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Kerri Pottharst in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Kerri Pottharst

Age (on course): 55

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Motivational Speaker

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I couldn’t resist the challenge to push past what I thought was possible and what others thought was possible. I wanted to do something most women wouldn’t do and would think was crazy, especially at my age, to show what’s possible when you let go of your fears and doubts. I wanted to prove that there is no “over the hill”.

How would you describe the experience?

It was both the hardest and the most courageous time of my life. Nothing can compare to the tasks we completed and the daily “grind” of being ready for anything, at any moment.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did all round strength training, focussing on legs, upper body, forearms, grip strength and pack walking. I also got into the pool and did laps (I rarely ever swim!). I did a session with two former Army Commandos where they hammered me physically and mentally for 24hrs to replicate a selection course, with no sleep and no food. I did a breathing workshop to learn how to calm myself and I took ice baths and cold showers as much as I could to get ready for the cold immersion.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

The boat carry up the hill! I was team leader and my team wasn’t easy to lead. I got absolutely grilled by the DS. It made me feel like shit!

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

I expected it to be incredibly physically challenging, and it was!

What was your favourite thing about the course?

The tasks that pushed me past my fears, especially the helicopter ladder and the death by drowning. I was so proud of myself. And I loved getting to know the other recruits in that peeled-back and egoless environment. You could really see who people were and it was so incredible to watch some of them grow and face their own fears.

And least favourite?

Dealing with my knee. Injuries suck! The other thing I found difficult was the constant state of “readiness” and “uncertainty” we were living in. I felt like we were never able to relax or chill, we were always on standby. And I hated running with that Bergen every day!

Did anything surprise you?

Yes, the tear gas on the first day. Total surprise and an absolute wake-up call as to what we had in store for us! I’d never had that feeling of not being able to breathe. So incredibly frightening.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that we, as humans, can go SO much further than we believe we can. We live in our comfort zones too much. We limit ourselves by carrying around so much fear and doubt. Once you learn to let go of those thoughts and calm your mind, it’s incredible what you can actually do!

Would you ever do it again?

No, I don’t need to.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

I think all the recruits would agree that it’s the toughest test, by far. It’s so physical, but then so mental, in that you have to be able to calm ALL the voices in your head that reason with you to be scared and to not do things. You also need to be an ultimate team player, incredibly disciplined and ready for anything, at any time!

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

Do it!

Instagram: @kerripottharst

Koby Abberton in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Koby Abberton in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Koby Abberton

Age (on course): 42

Current Hometown: Bali

Profession: Yoga Teacher, High Level Surf Coach/Guide

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I like easy money and enjoy training. I also like to tease people and have a good time. Fourteen days training in the dirt with celebs and hard men sounded alright to me. 

How would you describe the experience?

Anyone who knows me, knows I always have a good time and that I did. I laughed the whole time and was also scared the whole time. I even broke some personal boundaries, being screamed at and trying not to react. I ended up an angel and my life has changed for the worse. I nodded at policemen last week. I despised myself after it cause my heart remains the same. I really respect what the SAS are trying to do. We’re living in a weak world of sheep and do-good little bitches. The DS are men and they have morals and reason and the world is missing out on this today. I think them boys should be running countries.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

Not a lot. I always train, surf and do yoga daily and I do a lot of breath work. I’m a strong, fit man in his forties who believes in himself. I was born into this stuff. I ran a lot cause I ain’t ran since I was 30, got the legs back in. And I got plenty of massages to loosen up the back as best as I could.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

From the day I left my beautiful family and boarded the flight out of Bali. Luxury is seeing my family every day and loving them.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

It was hard. If you was some fatty you ain’t getting through the first day. They also liked smashing the weak.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

Only the rich fly in helicopters, so more time in a helicopter was fun. It was a buzz checking out the views. I love seeing our beautiful country. I enjoyed the words of wisdom from people with real pain in their eyes. I connected to them.

And least favourite?

The worst was the daily car rides on rough roads. My back is still f*cked. The food intake and quality of food was next-level hard. I was weak for the whole period. And I hated the water. We swam in everything from gutters to rivers to swamps to chemical plant outlets (f*ck knows what that water was).

Did anything surprise you?

The staff spoke to the women like they were men. Calling our Australian icons c*nts shocked me.

What did you learn about yourself?

I make my life hard constantly. I am my own worst enemy. I constantly turn simple into hard. I now understand it’s all my brain, it’s me doing this. We have hundreds of thoughts and emotions a day and humans seem to jump and hold onto the grenades. I will now let negative thoughts slide and keep it simple.

Would you ever do it again?

I would do it again and lie about my back to the doctors and insurers.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

It was really tough. Constantly fatigued in every way. The food was a killer. I missed reading that in contract. Not eating real foods sucks all your energy. I felt like I had no blood or oxygen in my body.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

It’s hard, it’s cold and it’s no joke. Expect to be ridiculed and made a fool. The DS want you to learn through pain, fatigue and anxiety! They strip away the layers and want you to be the best you. Go learn something about yourself through torture! Good times either way.

Instagram: @kobyabberton

Manu Feildel in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Manu Feildel in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Manu Feildel

Age (on course): 48

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Chef / TV host

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

After watching the first Australian series, I thought it would be a great challenge to put myself through.

How would you describe the experience?

Tougher than I was ready for, not physically but mentally.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did so much preparation for this, such as personal training, walking with weights, walking with a 25kg backpack, runs, boxing, mountain treks, thousands of stairs (even in the middle of the night), ice baths etc. Except I didn’t prepare for the mental challenges, and how could I?

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

I knew before I went in.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

It was much more challenging that I expected as I wasn’t ready to deal with my phobias.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

The helicopter challenge was really exhilarating.

And least favourite?

The worst thing was my fears and phobias surfacing and being unable to shake them off. I really should have learnt to be in control of my emotions.

Did anything surprise you?

Yes, the mental strength of some of my fellow recruits.

What did you learn about yourself?

That I’ve achieved a hell of a lot in my life and I should be more than satisfied with what I have accomplished.

Would you ever do it again?

Yes.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

I completely agree! It takes you out of your comfort zone in every way to the point where you are no longer in charge of yourself.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

I would try to scare them with my experience so they could try to get ready for it.

Instagram: @manufeildelofficial

Mark Philippoussis in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Mark Philippoussis in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Mark Philippoussis

Age (on course): 44

Current Hometown: Melbourne Surf Coast

Profession: Tennis Pro

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

To get out of my comfort zone and push myself to my limits and beyond, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Also, to prove to myself that I could do it.

How would you describe the experience?

The hardest, most fulfilling time of my life.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

My main focus was my knees. I lost around 4kg by hiking and doing lots of stairs carrying weight. I did a lot of core work too.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

Day One, as soon as that bag was taken off our heads and we were gassed.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

It was more challenging than I expected because of the emotional and psychological side.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

The highlight wasn’t one specific thing. I learnt something new from the Staff and about myself every day. Also connecting and getting to know the recruits as time passed… I formed some special friendships which I didn’t expect and I am so grateful for that!

And least favourite?

The first helicopter task. I put so much pressure on myself and never gave myself a chance, knowing that was a huge weakness for me as I didn’t train on bars at all. The toughest thing was not being able to contact my family.

Did anything surprise you?

How my body adapted the longer I was there.

What did you learn about yourself?

That I’m even stronger than I think and capable of anything.

Would you ever do it again?

Ha, no way!

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

I one hundred percent agree. I knew it was going to be the toughest thing I have ever done physically, but didn’t know how hard it would be psychologically and emotionally too.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

You’ve got to do it!

Instagram: @mphilippoussis

Pete Murray in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Pete Murray in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Pete Murray

Age (on course): 51

Current Hometown: Byron Bay

Profession: Musician  

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

Believe it or not, this kind of thing excites me. You can’t do these tasks in normal life and being pushed as far as you can, physically and mentally, is something I feel will only benefit me in my future. 

How would you describe the experience?

This was one of the most thrilling things I have ever experienced. It was exactly what I thought it was going to be. In the first task, I felt like I was going to die, but straight after it I was so pumped up with adrenaline that it felt amazing. Nothing you do can really prepare you for what you are about to experience.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

The main thing I needed to focus on was running as I hadn’t run for about 20 years due to damaged knees from rugby. I had a heavy duty backpack and was running with 20kg in it. This was hard. About three weeks out, I strained my calf. This put an end to running! My calf was pretty bad so I used the cross trainer where there was no impact. About two weeks out I was going to the physio every few days. I struggled to run, so I did what I could with lunges and squats, trying to build endurance. I was also doing about 30 minutes a day on the cross trainer with 30kg in my backpack.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

When our oxygen was taken away from us on the very first task. That was as scary and as real as it gets. The DS were very aggressive and they were not there to make friends. 

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

It was more challenging than I thought it was going to be. There was one task we did where you could have died if something went wrong. I think not knowing what the SAS were going to throw at you next always kept you on edge. 

What was your favourite thing about the course?

The helicopter tasks were great, but being submerged underwater in a car with your seatbelt on, while having to wait until you get a tap on the shoulder before you can get out, was my highlight. Exciting and dangerous! It sounds crazy but I was really relaxed under there. I surf quite a bit so I’m used to being relaxed under the water if I get hammered on a big wave. When you are relaxed you can hold your breath for quite a long time.

And least favourite?

The beds weren’t very comfortable. I like sleeping on my belly and this was pretty much impossible to do so I wasn’t getting much sleep in there. I had a calf injury which started flaring up on the first day. By the third day, my old knee injury was flaring up too, so I was in a lot of pain. This made things pretty uncomfortable when running, and I knew there was a lot more running to come.

Did anything surprise you?

Nothing surprised me. I was expecting this to be hard and shocking and it was. It was more full on and intense compared to last season’s course. 

What did you learn about yourself?

I need to believe in myself more. I doubted myself getting through some of the tasks.

Would you ever do it again?

Absolutely. 

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

Yes, I believe this is the toughest test you can do. It is more mental than physical, but they wear you down physically and then see how you can handle the mental game.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

This is not for everybody. Only do this if you really want to push yourself as far as you can go. 

Instagram: @petemurraymusic

Sam Burgess in SAS Australia 2021 (image - Channel 7)
Sam Burgess in SAS Australia 2021 (image – Channel 7)

Sam Burgess

Age (on course): 32

Current Hometown: Sydney

Profession: Retired NRL player

Why did you enlist to SAS Australia?

I retired from sport and sport has been my life since I was five years old. I missed the competing and camaraderie and I wanted to see if I still had that winning mentality.

How would you describe the experience?

My experience was immeasurable really, something that you can never replicate. It challenged me in places that I never thought I would be challenged. Pain, fear, the rush you get from competing. It was extremely hard, but I enjoyed it.

What training did you do to prepare for the course?

I did general training and tried to put myself into uncomfortable positions, carrying things that my mind didn’t want to do. I know how to prepare. For four weekends going in, I did 48-hour fasts.

When did it hit home that this was 100% real?

From the start! It was crazy. The tear gas was terrible. I got smashed in there.

Was SAS more or less challenging than you expected?

Definitely more. I didn’t expect it to be so intense from the first minute to the last minute. There is no down time.

What was your favourite thing about the course?

There was a moment when I thought I genuinely believed it was too much, but I broke through. You have to learn to enjoy the pain of it. I enjoyed the team tasks as I have spent a lifetime working in teams. The in between moments were really great. I have formed strong bonds with some of the other recruits.

And least favourite?

Definitely the lack of food. And cleaning the toilets. Being wet and managing your kit is very tricky but I learnt to enjoy that.

Did anything surprise you?

The female contestants were amazing. And I did not realise the size of Foxy.

What did you learn about yourself?

I just think I took a deeper look at my capabilities and understanding of others and other people’s capabilities. It was a great period of growth.

Would you ever do it again?

Yes.

They call this the toughest test. Do you agree?

I agree. From the moment you arrive to the moment you take off your number, it is a constant test, mentally, physically and emotionally.

What do you say to someone who is considering applying for the next season?

Good luck, be yourself and be prepared!

Instagram: @samburgess8

Kevin Perryhttps://tvblackbox.com.au/author-kevin-perry/
Co-Creator and Editor of the TV Blackbox website, Kevin Perry is an experienced media commentator focused on TV Production, Consumer Tech, SVOD & Sports Broadcasting. Media enquiries please Call or Text 0428-275-111
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