To hell and back as everyday Aussies take on the most extreme SAS course ever
The four-part special event, SAS Australia: Hell Week will feature everyday Australians going to hell and back in the hope of passing SAS selection.
A teacher, fashion designer, stay-at-home mum, dancer, mineworker, bodybuilder, surfer and former Federal Police officer are just some of the 14 ordinary Aussies who have volunteered for the toughest, most intense SAS course ever attempted.
Across one week, these ordinary people will be pushed beyond their limits, subjected to extreme tests of physical, mental and emotional endurance in punishing conditions, with no allowances or exceptions made for age or gender.
No other test asks as much or means as much to the few who’ll survive Hell Week.
The full line-up of everyday Australians hoping to pass selection on SAS Australia: Hell Week are:
Bassim (32), Bodybuilder, NSW
Body builder Bassim is eternally optimistic, positive, motivated and upbeat. He is a full-time fitness trainer and loves to motivate his clients. Four months of every year, Bassim undergoes strict preparation for the Australian Natural Bodybuilding titles (ANB).
In 2016, his best mate committed suicide. Bassim was devastated but competed in a bodybuilding title the day after the funeral, something his friend wanted him to do. In 2020, Bassim found success by taking home the ANB title. Bassim is a self -confessed overthinker who can easily get confused by detail and make a ton of mistakes. Despite this, he has a heart of gold and his intentions are in the right place.
As a Lebanese Australian man, Bassim wants to do his community proud and prove that he has what it takes to make it through selection.
Beck (33), Youth worker, VIC
Beck learnt to use a chainsaw and handgun before she could write her own name.
She was raised on a farm and her parents didn’t send her to school until Year 6, where she was immediately singled out and bullied for being so far behind her classmates. Beck’s strong work ethic and determination saw her complete her Year 12 exams and become a youth worker with the Building Bridges organization, after seeking help from them in her younger years.
Sixteen years later, Beck is now an integral member of the charity, determined to help young people in trouble as she once was. In 2020, Beck ran seven marathons in seven countries in seven days to raise money for the charity that helped shape her life.
Gary (44), Ex-Federal Police, QLD
Gary was the former head of the Prime Minister’s security detail when Kevin Rudd was Prime Minister.
He developed a gambling addiction and found himself in a decade-long spiral, gambling away $1.7 million, $40,000 of which was taxpayer money on a government credit card.
He was found out and faced 64 charges of fraud, serving eight months of community service. Gary is now rebuilding his life and works as a gym owner focusing on men’s health and addiction. He wants to redeem himself after sabotaging his own life and see if he’s the man he thinks he is by taking on the SAS course.
Isabella (25), Rapper, SA
Izzy is currently Australia’s number three canoe sprinter but feels as though she missed out on selection for this year’s Olympics because of nepotism within the sport’s selection committee.
Izzy has since taken up boxing and hopes to make her Olympic dream come true someday. She has always been a multi-sport athlete and put her heart and soul into everything she does.
Izzy is also a musician and rapper, performing under the name ‘Emcee Izzy’. Izzy can get emotional when talking about her family, after losing several family members in a year. She ultimately wants to know what she is capable of and thinks SAS will help her discover her inner soldier.
James (30), Holistic health coach, QLD
James is a holistic health coach who believes in the power of the spirit. He is a fatalist with the firm conviction that everything happens for a reason.
After battling a weight issue at university, James got into the gym and body shaping, becoming obsessed with his physique. His obsession led to steroid use. As a result of overuse, he developed a condition called Gynecomastia, an enlargement or swelling of breast tissue in males.
After several surgeries to reduce what looked like female breasts, he found himself in a very dark place and fell into depression. This marked the beginning of James’ spiritual development, which he continues to work on and now teaches to those needing guidance.
James (29), Dancer, QLD
James grew up in a rough neighbourhood and, as a sports-mad child, did athletics six days a week with his identical twin brother. After high school, James’ relationship with his brother and friends changed when they took a path of violence and crime.
As his twin brother became president of the local bikie gang (which resulted in him serving jail time), James turned to his passion for dance. He followed his dancer girlfriend to France and performed for two years at the Crazy Horse Parisian cabaret.
However, struggling to pay his bills, James lost himself and felt guilty for disappointing his parents. James is now an influential figure in the Australian hip hop dance scene. Tough, focused and determined, he is keen to prove that dancers have the same drive, work ethic and grit required to be an elite soldier. His resilience and wisdom are far beyond his years.
Kellie (27), Teacher, QLD
Kellie is a proud Aboriginal woman who works as a teacher in a specialist school for underprivileged kids. In high school, she was bullied for being Indigenous and for having very broad shoulders.
It wasn’t until she left school that she embraced her heritage and with her muscular physique, she decided to take on competitive bodybuilding.
She won the first competition she entered but while the experience was initially positive, it did eventually leave Kellie with some body dysmorphia issues. She’s since developed a healthy attitude towards fitness and runs her own body attack classes. Kellie hopes to inspire her students and is as wise as she is fun. She loves to dance and her energy and laugh are infectious.
Kirsten (24), Mineworker, WA
Kirsten is a mine worker who does hard labour for a living. At her last job, Kirsten used a sledgehammer for hours on end and shoveled tonnes of rocks by hand.
Kirsten is extremely fit and has played the women’s NRL State of Origin. She plays for the Fremantle Roosters, and when she’s not at work, she loves the finer things in life – despite being a tomboy.
Her father served in the army and spent eight years in the SAS. Growing up Kirsten moved around a lot, living in numerous states. She is tough with a wild spirit and never stays put for long.
Lena (42), Fashion designer, NSW
Lena is a mother, author and fashion designer. In 2011, Lena’s boyfriend attacked her in the kitchen at her home, repeatedly hitting her with a saucepan.
Her two young children were screaming at him to stop. She held up a knife and he defiantly stepped forward into the blade which pierced his chest and hit a blood vessel close to his heart.
He died five days later. Charged with murder, tried in the NSW Supreme Court and acquitted in just three days, Lena experienced the best and worst of the treatment of domestic violence victims. She received a lot of media attention and criticism for appearing in court in high heels and expensive dresses. She didn’t play the victim; she never does. Lena is a strong Armenian woman. She’s fun and loves to smile and laugh but can be feisty and combative.
Lisa (27), Influencer, NSW
Born to Filipino and Spanish parents who migrated to Australia, Lisa grew up not having a lot, but it made her resilient.
As a fitness influencer and trainer, Lisa wants to empower women to be their better selves. Being real is what she’s all about and she prides herself on showing the unfiltered version of herself to her followers. Lisa also has a successful clothing brand.
Twenty years ago, Lisa’s father was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. Her biggest regret is not hearing that her father is proud of her – a pain that she carries to this day.
Luke (31), Tradie, VIC
Luke was drafted into the AFL straight out of school, but due to injury and a spell of partying and drinking, he was let go after just one year.
Luke now works as a tradie, but a fear of failure has plagued him ever since he lost his shot at living his sporting dream and he’s been looking to make more of himself ever since.
Luke’s father is a Vietnam War veteran who has been in and out of hospital with PTSD. His relationship with his father was one of emotional absence which has affected his approach to parenting his five-year-old non-verbal autistic son. Luke sees SAS as a chance to once again do something amazing with his life and try to better understand his father’s experience in the military.
Mitch (22), Surfer, NSW
Mitch is an adrenaline junkie with a seemingly unstoppable adventurous spirit, whose ultimate goal is to BASE jump from the top of Mt Everest.
Mitch works as a barista – a job that helps funds his adventures – and loves to surf, ski, jump out of planes and do CrossFit. On a whim, Mitch ran a half marathon and managed a pace of 4:45 minutes per kilometre for the whole distance.
While on holiday with a friend in Cancun, Mitch was held at gunpoint by a corrupt cop. After an altercation, one of the cops told them to run and that’s exactly what they did. One of Mitch’s greatest physical achievements was to hike through snow up a mountain for six hours before skiing back down. Mitch also has a softer side, admitting he is an absolute mummy’s boy, describing his mum who raised Mitch and his brother by herself as a warrior.
Sandy (35), Stay-at-home mum, QLD
Stay-at-home mum of two Sandy was an accountant for 13 years before giving up her career to look after her family. After a cervical cancer diagnosis, Sandy had a hysterectomy, meaning she and her husband cannot have a much- longed for third child.
Sandy comes from a family with a long line of military service, including a twin sister in the UK who is a squadron leader. Sandy’s father was a paratrooper who quit the military to raise Sandy and her siblings. As the only member of her immediate family who hasn’t served, she is often referred to as the ‘civi’.
Sandy has deep regrets about her grandfather’s passing. Although she was only a child, her last words to him were a lie which bothers her to this day. Sandy loves to freedive, a meditative process which requires great control of the mind and fear. She can hold her breath for three-and-a-half minutes and has managed 28 metres as her deepest freedive.
Sarah (25), Dating coach, SA
Sarah is a men’s dating coach who conducts seminars to rooms of up to 1000 men, giving them tips on how to build the confidence to approach the opposite sex. Prior to her dating career, Sarah was in an emotionally manipulative relationship, which led to a loss of confidence and forgetting who she really was.
Sarah’s ex-boyfriend cheated on her numerous times before she finally summed up the courage to leave him. She is ambitious, growing in confidence and hopes that SAS will play a big part in her personal development.
Sarah is a competitive tennis player who also manages a couple of boxing sessions and Pilates classes every week.