Occupation: Professional Boxer
Before discovering Boxing, Shannon was badly behaved growing up, falling in with the wrong crowd, drinking and smoking. She has struggled with authority in the past and wants to make sure she can control the aggression that is vital to her fighting career and submit to the orders of the DS.
Why did you fancy taking on the toughest challenge on TV?
I felt like it would kind of get across the real me. In my industry you only get to see me, mainly my character, come out on fight week. But that's not really the true me. You get amped up, you're wanting to fight, you're full of adrenaline. I feel like the nation hasn't really got to see the real me away from the ring. And if there's any show that can actually break you down, reveal your true colours, it is Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.
How would you describe yourself out outside of the ring?
Believe it or not, I'm actually a softy. I’m a right a softy. I've got a bit of a temper, me, I'm not going to deny that, but I'm a softy. I've got a big heart. I’m quite a nervous person sometimes, to be honest, which people are surprised by. I just feel like this was just the perfect show for me to get across who I really am.
Do you know anybody that's done the show before that you could ask for advice?
Yeah, so I had a quick chat with Tony Bellew. He was like, "Shannon, the show was crazy. Be careful of injuries." But, no, that was it really. Oh, I spoke a little bit to Locksmith actually for like five minutes and I had to stop the conversation because he just scared the hell out of me. But Tony just told me not to overthink things. He said, it will help, as long as I don't get injured, it will help manage my anger. Because it helped change his life and his way of thinking. It helped control his temper. It’s crazy because I feel like me and Tony went in for the same reasons. Just being able to, I guess, tame the beast and to overcome a few mental obstacles as well.
Before you started the course, what was your biggest fear about it?
My biggest fear about the course, was admitting all my insecurities, admitting that I was so unhappy, hated myself as a person, just admitting a lot of things that I've put off for years. Having to openly, out loud, say things that I hadn't said. Because you say it out loud, that's it, it's out there. It's the truth, and you've got to kind of face it. Whereas I just kind of pushed it to the back of the room all the time. I feel like the only time I would've done it was if I was made to do it, like SAS.
Do you think you have the mental strength to cope with the course?
Yeah. I think when it comes to physical activity, you won't meet someone who's mentally stronger in that department because I've got a resilience about me. It's kind of bred into you when you're a boxer, it's almost fight or flight. And I'd always choose to fight, obviously. Look, I'm terrified of heights, petrified of heights, and I was jumping off buildings and stuff. So I think a lot of the fighting tasks were quite testing for me because you don't want to actually fight because it's what you do for a profession. So you feel bad doing it against people who aren't in that category. But I feel like in my mental state towards my physicality definitely helped me. None of the tasks actually scared me. I was more scared of the sit down Mirror Room chats and stuff like that. That's what scared me!
Did the fact there were so many sports stars in the line up make it competitive?
As a camp, I loved every single person there. We all got so close and I've made genuine friends for life from it. But I'm very competitive and everyone to me is a competitor. So I started the show thinking, it is me against all of them. By the end of it, they were just my team.
What do you think about the Directing Staff?
At first I was like, “God, they're horrible.” I hadn't really seen the show before I went on there, so my first ever experience was having Foxy lift my hood off my head and going, “I can smell fucking attitude off this one.” I was thinking, “Oh, for the love of God, I'm quite a nice girl actually!” It's part of my job to read people. I want to see if anyone's got a chink in their armour, because that's my job to see their faults in the boxing ring. After about four or five days, I thought, “Do you know what? They actually want to see the best in us, that's why they're so nasty. It's almost like tough love.” I feel like I had a good little thing going with Rudy. Rudy took a shine into me, he liked that I was willing to try. So he always would whisper little positive things in my ears. It really made a big difference.
Are they intimidating when they're screaming in the face?
Oh my God, so intimidating! Especially Remi, because that man has no expression in his face!
Given you say you have a temper, was it hard staying in control when they’re screaming at you?
Yeah. So my boxing coaches and my team, half the reason they wanted me to do the show is because I’ve got such a bad temper. Everyone thinks when you box you should have a temper and you shouldn't. If anything, you should be completely emotionless so that you are fluid in the ring, not tense up. So they were like, “This will do you the world of good”. And straight away I went into the show with my back up and my temper came out. And then you start to realise that actually the more you react, the more they punished the whole team not just you. I didn't like the thought of everyone else being punished so I just kind of learned to grow up a little bit and bite my tongue!
What is it like being gassed on day one?
Worst experience of my life! It's like your body just shuts down. I was trying to speak and I couldn't. I was trying to open my eyes and they were burning. You can't breathe. And then they're telling you to not touch your eyes, but all you want to do is touch your eyes. And you can't cough because the more you inhale, the more CS gas cuts your lungs. I’m dreading seeing it because I will look like the elephant man climbing out that window!
How would you sum up the whole experience?
Life changing! I've made best friends for life because of it. Everyone says "You're so much calmer now, Shannon." Yeah, it's changed me and I'm very grateful for that, to be honest. And I feel like the show itself is going to show who I am, which will change the public perception of me. I pray to God that it does.