Celebrity SAS : Who Dares Wins | Jennifer Ellison – Recruit Number 1

Age: 39

From: Liverpool

Occupation: Actress

Having had her confidence knocked by a career hiatus and a troubled relationship, Jennifer wants to test herself on the Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins course to see if she still has the determination and drive she had when performing.

Why did you want to do this show? 

I wanted to do it because I’d not done anything for so long. I’ve had this kind of break from what I grew up doing and love doing, and kind of lost my identity a little bit. So the opportunity came along and I just thought, “I’m going to grab it with both hands and see I can still do my stuff.” It was more of a challenge for me personally, to see if I could test myself and kind of remember who I am and the fire I used to have inside of me.

Did you know what you’d let yourself in for when you said yes? 

I don’t think you should ever, ever assume to know what you’re in for until you are actually there! People just do not realise what happens when you’re in there and how intense it is, how real it is. There’s no break. I just thought it’d be like any other reality TV show I’ve done where the cameras are rolling and you get asked to do that again. Not at all. It was like you were in prison 24/7. People might think we slip off to a hotel but I can promise you we don’t, it’s as brutal as it looks!

Before going out to Jordan did you do any preparation? 

I had about three weeks before I went in, I’d lost a bit of weight before this, so I felt okay but nowhere near ready. If I’d know that I was doing it six months before I’d have gone into some kind of boot camp. But there’s only so much you could do in three weeks. 

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What was your biggest fear? 

Everything! Literally everything. I’m afraid of being away from the kids. I’m afraid to sleep away from my husband, so that even in itself was a massive thing for me. But there are so many crazy things they put you through, I was like “this is inhumane!” I was scared of it all!

What would you say your strength was going into the course?

My strength is probably something people don’t realise, but I’m a grafter. I’ll never back away from a challenge. I’ll put 110% in everything that I do. I’ve kind of let myself go recently, I’ve not been very active, and gained a lot of weight so my weakness is my fitness but my strength was I don’t quit easily. I’m one of those people, who, if I say I’ll do something I’ll put my heart and soul into it, and you won’t see me backing away from anything. I think I have a mental toughness people might not expect. 

What did you think when you saw who you were going to be on the show with? 

I actually thought, “What the hell have I gotten myself into here?” Because they were all Olympians, athletes or really young! So I actually thought, “Oh, shit.” I thought there’d be some women my age but there wasn’t. It’s mad how when I used to be cast in things like Hell’s Kitchen I was always one of the youngest. Now suddenly I walked in, saw everybody and I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m the old, unfit one, how did that happen?”

How did you feel about the Directing Staff? 

Obviously, you’ve just got that massive respect for them because of what they’ve done, who they are, what they’ve achieved. So, I was kind of in awe 100% of the time. 

How did you feel when they were screaming at you? 

Terrified! Like a rabbit in the headlights. But you know what, even on the darkest of times when you’re at your lowest, Billy would just come up and go, “Come on number one. Come on.” Just that little kind of pat on the back like, “you’ve got this”. It just gives you that encouragement to push yourself a little bit further. You know that they want you to do it. They’re terrifying and that sometimes is insane, like when you’re eating dirt during a beasting. In that moment you’re thinking “I hate you!” It’s terrifying in that moment but you know that it’s for the right reasons. 

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How would you sum up the whole experience? 

Honestly the most excruciating, unbearable, going to hell and back thing you can do. And then getting the most incredible reward at the end that stays with you for life and that changes you as a human being, changes you as a person. It’s literally like once you’ve gone through labour you’re never, ever the same person again, and I’ll never be the same person again after Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.