Grace (Drama Teacher), 24, Hampshire
Abi (Occupational Therapist), 21, Southampton
Sisters Abi and Grace may look like two peas in a pod but they couldn’t be more different. Abi an Occupational Therapist is laid back, spontaneous and tomboyish whilst Grace, the eldest, is a Drama Teacher who loves Disney and an excel spread sheet. She often jokes she has planned her wedding – and she isn’t even engaged!
They often bicker as sisters do but can’t stay angry at each other for long. The one thing they are always in agreement over is their mum and how important she is in their lives.
Their mum has worked for the NHS for over 40 years and she is their inspiration and motivation to go on the run. If they win, they want to use the money to help clear her mortgage.
Grace lost a lot of weight following the Slimming World programme. Since then, she has become a Slimming World consultant and has been featured on the cover of their magazine twice. She uses her Instagram to promote healthy eating and positive body image.
Since Abi left home, the sisters have worried that they might drift apart and so want to rekindle their relationship on the run, at the same time as hopefully winning the money to help their mum. The pair think they have what it takes to outsmart the hunters but it’s their mum’s 60th whilst they are on the run which is going to make for some difficult decisions as they have conflicting ideas about whether they should try to see her.
Why did you want to take part in Hunted?
Grace: Abi applied on behalf of both of us and didn't tell me about it until I got a phone call from someone who said your sister Abi has applied to go on the show, and I was like, “Oh, OK. That could be fun.” Never thinking that we'd actually get here. And now here we are.
Abi: I've always been a fan of Hunted. I loved the whole premise of the show really. Just how you can see humans really pushed to the extreme. You can see the kindness of human nature and the strangers that help people. You get what is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something that we never would do. I mean, I never anticipated I would be a fugitive on the run in my life, and I certainly don't hope I will be again!
I just think it's amazing to just push yourself to your limit and see the strength that you have. I really just want to know what I'm like: How will I be when I'm pushed to my limits? Who am I? Because I feel like I'll never know myself in that sort of situation. So that was why I applied, and I just thought, there's only one person I'd go on with, and that is Grace, so I'll just put her down. I know that she's a fan of the show too, and we both like it for the same reasons. I knew all the reasons that I wanted to apply and I thought it would be similar for Grace. I just hoped that she would also see the merit of it enough to want to do it. And she did. So that is why we wanted to go on.
What do each of you think you’ll bring to your Hunted partnership? Are you worried about falling out?
Grace: I think what's special about mine and Abi’s relationship is we always seem to balance each other. If one of us is worked up the other one is calming the other down. I'm the most organised person I know. I have a spreadsheet for everything and have worked out the pros and cons of everything, so I think I will bring being really organised. That will be really helpful. But also, when under high pressure situations, I keep a calm head. I like to think that if we need to, I could keep my calm head on and get us out of a situation. But even more so, I think I am going to bring morale for the two of us, let's be honest, I'm going to be the one with my positive pants on and be saying “Let's sing our way through this, it will be OK”.
Abi: I think I'm quite confident in the sense of talking to strangers. I'm very talkative. Even today – Grace told me to stop talking to strangers because we're busy, busy, busy preparing to set off on the run tomorrow. But I love chatting to people. I'm not afraid for someone we approach to turn around and say, “No, I don't want to help you”. I'll be fine – it doesn't really bother me. So that, I think, is quite good. I can be quite determined. If I've got my mind set to something, then I will achieve it and I don't really care what stands in my way. So I hope that that would be a strength to the both of us. I am not so organised though. So at least we've got traits that kind of balance each other out. I think it is what makes us work.
What tactics, if any, are you planning to employ? Are there things you’ve seen in previous Hunted series’ that you’d like to adopt – or avoid?
Abi: Going home? That. Yeah, we definitely want to avoid that. It's, it's our mum's 60th birthday while we're on the run and I think it's getting both of us down a little bit because we're so close to our mum and I think we're missing such a major birthday. It's horrible. But after watching previous series, we just know it's something that we're not willing to do. We just don't want to go home. You just back yourself into a corner doing that and is only really one outcome that's going to come from it, so we don't want to take that risk.
Grace: I think that at any point where you feel vulnerable in the situation you’ve just got to find a way to pick yourself up. We are on day 0 so we don't know what that feels like. We might need to go home, but you know, from what we've watched, what we've learnt, I think the best thing to do is rely on the kindness of strangers. So that is one thing we're definitely looking to do while we're on the run.
Abi: Yeah. And just build up a network of strangers. Hopefully they won't be strangers, they'll be friends. Better to try that, because I think when people seek home comfort it’s because they feel isolated. So if you can seek a home comfort from a stranger like a bed instead of camping or something, that just makes you feel a little bit better, I think we will choose to do that. We know that its just 25 days and I know when you're on the run it probably feels different, but I’ll try and rationalise that this is only temporary and we can get through it because we've got each other and hope that someone will let us have a shower! Yeah, please.
How confident are you in your abilities? Do you think you have what it takes to make it to the end?
Grace: 100% I am looking at making it to the end. I'm very strong willed and determined person. If I want something, I work my butt off and I will get it. Like that's just how we've been built. It’s from our parents and it's just definitely rubbed off on us. Like between us we have five jobs. Yeah, we work hard to get what we want. If we want a nice holiday, we work hard, We put in extra hours. I'm definitely confident in knowing what I've done previously in my life. I can apply to this situation and then I'm going to make it to the end.
Abi: I get to mimic her answer because yeah, there's no doubt in my mind. There's not a single sacrifice I'm not willing to take to make it happen. And I just think, like I said before, I believe I'm strong enough because Grace is here with me. On my down days, she'll be there. All I need is for her to remind me why we're doing it. I'll just push because I just think no matter what, I will do it, and I'm so determined to achieve it. So, yeah, I believe that we have what it takes.
What do you think the experience of being on the run will be like?
Abi: You know what? It’s so hard because right now there's so many unknowns, and I think this is the worst time of the whole experience because your brain is just in overdrive. At least when you're on the run, you're in control of what you do and where you go. I bet it's an absolute emotional rollercoaster and stressful. I can imagine you experience every emotion on the run, it's like you're doing a festival.
Grace: You're going through all those emotions while at your most vulnerable point. Being outside, you might be cold, hungry, tired and not clean.
Abi: It’s like everything thrown at you at once. It must be so emotionally overwhelming to not have the basic things like food, clothes, comfort, that kind of thing. I think the overarching feeling must be just a vulnerability because even having my phone with me makes me feel a little bit better. Sometimes if I'm out in the dark my phone makes me less vulnerable. So even the thought of just letting go of my phone feels daunting.
How do you feel about the prospect of having no technology, no money, no backpack and no possessions?
Abi: I don't know, because I've never done that in my life. I've never been so stripped back from every single thing that makes me feel like me and makes me feel safe. I feel quite intimidated by the prospect because I don't know how I'm going to feel, if that makes sense. I've never been in this situation like it and I think that's the scariest part of it all. And it's only going to be us. That's it. That's all we have. No one and nothing else to rely on. And that’s scary because you have to be so confident in all your choices and decisions.
Abi: And it's just just it's going to be us. That's it. That's all we have. And then to know that it is just you, and you have nothing else to rely on, you have to rely on yourself. And it's like a big thing, but you've got to believe in yourself enough to know you can do it. You have nothing else to rely on. It is just you.
If you manage to avoid capture, what would you spend your winnings on? How big a factor is the money for you?
Abi: It's like the money and the experience are two separate things because we aren't doing it for the money. We're doing this for us, for the experience, because if we were to win the money, we're going to give it to our mum. So for us, it's not like, Oh, think of that holiday, think of the holiday. I don’t like to think of the money because we know it is not ours. Like we, we know we want to do that for her. So we are doing this for the experience and knowing who we are and ourselves and knowing what we can do in that situation together.
Grace: You could say that the thought of the money will push me through as I will know that I'm doing it for someone else. I think in the darkest days, if I knew that it was just for me to go on holiday, then I would probably give up! You can let yourself down, but I cannot let someone else down, especially not our mum, someone who means that much to us, it just isn't going to happen.
What life/career experience have you had that you think would give you the edge over the hunters and other fugitives?
Grace: I think I've experienced quite a lot for someone who's so young. So, I like to think that gives me experience. There are the hunters who have more life experience and fugitives who will have more life experience. But I think people will look at me and Abi and think “at 21 and 24, they're not going to have that much life experience” or “they’re not going to have a sensible head on them”. I think they're going to massively underestimate the fact that we've been through quite a lot. We are very, very sensible and very intelligent girls who are more stubborn and driven than they may think we are.
Abi: I think the same. When anyone and everyone ever hears that I'm 21 and I'm born in 2000, I get the same reaction of, “Oh, I remember the millennium”. It's like, “Well, I'm happy for you!”, but people always tell me I’ve got an old head on such young shoulders. I think we’re actually a lot wiser than people think we are. And we're very sensible for two quite young women. I think people will definitely underestimate us, and I think that's our strength, because the hunters are going to look at us like, “Oh, too naive little girls, you want to get famous and go on TV”, but they have no idea what we're capable of. Our strength is our weakness. I think I am quite happy for people to think I'm naive and probably going to lose, because it just gives me the upper hand because it's not going to happen.