Profession: Fitness Trainer
Kim’s parents emigrated from Vietnam to Wales, and eventually settled in London with their family. Growing up, Kim was an average inner-city London teen with a rebellious side. Her mum became fearful for her as a teen when she started to take her grime MCing seriously, so she pushed her to study maths so she could work towards a more stable career. When her mum became really strict and threatened to kick her out of the house, she realised she had to put this lifestyle behind her and turned her attention to her studies. She planned to become an investment banker and in fact, worked for five years as an auditor but her heart wasn’t in it, despite the good salary and stability. It was at this point when she decided to get involved in fitness.
Tell me about your experience on SAS: Who Dares Wins?
It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. I thought I knew what my limits were before doing the course. I now know I wasn’t even close. The DS come in and tear down your self-perceived limits and expose you for who you really are. That’s when it either makes you or breaks you. Despite it being awful, it was also amazing. I learnt so much. I came out feeling like a new person and I would do it again in a heartbeat…
Did you find it difficult? Was it more difficult than you expected?
It was so difficult! It was tougher than I expected but mainly because every person has such an individual experience that it is difficult to walk in with expectations. I went in with zero expectations and walked out with countless surprises on what I found difficult.
Were you surprised to find out this course was taking place in the home of the SAS – Scotland?
Yes… initially I thought that would make it easier. I was so wrong!
How did you cope with the harsh Scottish weather conditions? Did the weather conditions play a part in how hard you found the course?
For me it was probably the most challenging part. Like many, when the sun shines, I feel happier but when the rain hits hard it also hits my mood. Sunshine was rare so we had to become best friends with the wet beastly weather. We were either being dunked in the sea by the DS or battered by Scottish storms and winds, so we spent most of our time wet and cold.
It’s the smaller constant things that will wear you down. The constant feeling of being cold and wet with no hot shower (there was no shower) was definitely a huge challenge, if not one of the biggest challenges!
Did spending so much time in freezing water make the course more difficult for you?
We all dreaded being in the freezing water and we never knew when the next time would be. We might be tasked to get into the freezing water several times in a day. In fact, our first day consisted of two back to back tasks where we were in the sea. It could really mess with your head if you let it. And if you made the rookie mistake of wearing your dry kit on a task you could easily end up with two sets of wet kit and very miserable.
You were the first recruits to take part in weapons training. How did you find that?
A reality check of how tough it is to use weapons in high pressured situations and just how important it is for every armed individual to be trained to use weapons in high pressure situations.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
What training did you do in preparation for this course?
In the week I had to train I scrapped the suggested training regime which consisted of running, press ups, pull ups and swimming. My priorities were rest, trying to be more of a confident swimmer and wearing my two pairs of boots in.
I slept eight hours plus as much as I could every night because I knew we weren’t going to get much sleep, so I needed all the rest I could get ahead of the course.
I knew I was a rubbish swimmer so I called my mate up who is a swimming instructor, hit the pool everyday and tried to get more confident
Now that you have this experience, would you like to join the real Special Forces?
No, it’s not for me. I have a huge respect for the individuals who make it into the Special Forces but there are a lot of aspects of the role that I wouldn’t be comfortable with doing or going through.
What was the best part of the series for you?
In my head every single thing we did had a reason. Whether we were being thrashed for hours on end or dunked into the freezing sea multiple times. There was a lesson to everything and I really enjoyed trying to unravel what the DS were trying to teach us.
What was the hardest part of the series for you?
Failing tasks and not being able to try again. I wanted to try again but I couldn’t, everything is one chance only. If I had my way, I’d keep trying until I passed.
I still struggle with it now. In my head I go back and relive the tasks I failed and try and think of the what ifs and how I could have passed, what I could have done. Then I have to check myself and find what the lesson is in the fail. If I see it as just a fail then that’s what it will be, just a fail, but if I can turn it into a lesson, it is a personal win. That’s what I’m still currently working on.
Do you think you found it harder than the male recruits?
This is completely dependent on the task and scenario. I think there were some tasks that were easier for male recruits versus female due to their height and size advantage. We all had the same Bergens that weighed the same so whether you weighed 50kg or 100kg, we all carried the same weight up the same mountain.
But when we were crawling underneath thick roots in our escape and evade task it was easier to be small and nimble so a lot of the women found that easier.
You had to share all your space with men for the whole time you were there, including sleeping and toilets. How did you find that?
I was so focused I didn’t have time to care. I much would prefer to quickly do what I needed to do in a toilet beside my fellow male recruit rather than have the DS down my neck. There were bigger fish to fry!
Did getting to know Jay as a recruit make it difficult for you to have the same respect for him once he became one of the DS?
No, I had an even bigger respect for him. I felt privileged knowing that I had completed tasks with an ex-SF soldier. It was surreal when he gave us a thrashing though, I just thought gosh this is bonkers! What is happening right now!
What were Ant, Foxy, Ollie, Billy and Jay like?
All absolute legends.
Ant is so passionate, you can’t fake how passionate he is. You can see he really puts his heart and soul into it. Everything he said really got me, on a level I never expected. I took so many lessons away from him that I’m so grateful for.
I looked up to Foxy. He was like the dad who doesn’t say much, but when he does you better listen and take it in because you’re gonna p*ss him off if you ask him to repeat it. He had that aura about him.
There were times that it got dangerous on tasks and Ollie would be the first to make sure we were safe. I didn’t want to do anything wrong around him, I didn’t want to disappoint him.
Billy is the hardest DS to impress. I don’t think anyone impressed him. But he could uplift the group with one comment. He was hilarious. I don’t think I ever saw him smile though!
Having Jay as a DS was surreal but awesome! I had to stop myself from wanting to talk to him more, I reckon he wanted to talk to us too but had to stay in role.
Would you ever do it again?
In a heartbeat!