'SAS: Who Dares Wins' stars address racism in powerful mirror room interview

·3-min read

Watch: SAS: Who Dares Wins stars address racism in powerful mirror room interview

SAS: Who Dares Wins is set to include one of its most powerful scenes ever this weekend as one recruit opens up about the racism she has faced throughout her life and Remi Adeleke shares his own experiences with her.

In Sunday's episode, viewers of the Channel 4 show which put contestants through a condensed version of the tough special forces training will find out more about Shylla, 33.

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The post officer and semi-pro footballer is devastated when the group votes her as least trustworthy recruit and in her mirror room interview with drill sergeants Adeleke and Rudy Reyes, she explains how her extreme shyness has often been misconstrued as rudeness, sharing the racism that she has been subjected to throughout her life.

Recruits have a tough time ahead of them in Jordan. (Channel 4)
Recruits have a tough time ahead of them in Jordan. (Channel 4)

Shylla had selective mutism as a child, and a clip from the mirror room shows her telling how being misinterpreted as rude has lead to her being characterised as an "angry Black woman" and has made her too nervous to show her personality.

As Reyes asks her about her social anxiety, she says: "Growing up as a Black girl, I used to get stereotyped as the angry Black girl...I just found it easier to not express myself and be quiet and not react to things, because whenever I would react to something, someone would tell me to calm down before I even said two words."

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During the chat Adeleke looks sympathetic and says: "Put your arm out. What do we see?"

Shylla replies "the same colour", as Adeleke then goes on to describe his own experiences of racism.

Remi Adeleke and Rudy Reyes
Remi Adeleke and Rudy Reyes encourage Shylla to be herself. (Channel 4)

Former US Navy Seal Adeleke says: "I go in the store sometimes and guess what - I still get looked at like I'm going to rob the store.

"Do I let that affect me? Maybe in the moment. But at the end of the day that's something that they have to deal with themselves. The last thing I want to do is let that affect the rest of my day because when I do that, I've allowed racism to win.

"Here, it's not about race. It's not about gender. It's about performance. And you have performed top notch. We see an amazing person. I don't care what other people have said about you. All that s*** is a lie and you need to refuse to believe the lie."

Undated handout photo issued by Channel 4 of the directing staff line-up of (left to right) Mark 'Billy' Billingham, Rudy Reyes, Remi Adeleke, and Jason 'Foxy' Fox, on the new series of SAS: Who Dares Wins. Issue date: Saturday April 9, 2022.
The SAS: Who Dares Wins team is Mark 'Billy' Billingham, Rudy Reyes, Remi Adeleke, and Jason 'Foxy' Fox. (PA)

As he and Reyes tell her to hold her head up high and put her shoulders back, Adeleke says: "That's how I want you to be. Not just in this course, but for the rest of your damn life, do you understand?"

Talking about the show after taking part, Shylla said: "Ultimately my biggest take away was that I’m actually a lot stronger than I could have ever imagined, not physically but mentally. That I am more capable than I ever allow myself to believe and how much of my own worst enemy I had been to myself before this experience."

SAS: Who Dares Wins airs on Sunday at 9pm on Channel 4.

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