Wind rushed past Erin McNaught's body as she fell backwards from a helicopter hovering over an ice-cold lake. Flipping through the air, she landed face-down in the water.
"I blacked out momentarily from the impact," she tells TV WEEK. When she came too, she was two metres under water, clawing to the surface for air. Once there, she realised her face was numb from impact and she couldn't see out of her left eye.
"Am I dead, did I just die?" she thought. Thankfully, Erin was alive, just concussed and too stubborn to give up on her first challenge on SAS Australia.
"That's the thing with the challenges," she continues. "No matter how scared you are going into them, after they're finished, your sense of achievement, elation and euphoria is second to none."
In her regular life, Erin, 38, wears many hats. She's a mum of two boys, Evander, five, and Ennio, three, a model and a confessed thrill-seeker. But on the show, Erin is known only as Number Seven, one of 17 recruits enduring difficult and terrifying tasks.
Although the former Miss Universe contestant signed up to the reality show to test her personal limits, as the start date drew closer, she realised how important her presence, along with other women, on the show was.
"The SAS only started taking female recruits in the past year," Erin says. "To finally allow women into the most esteemed military course in the world is a huge thing to be a part of.
My kids will grow up, when they're old enough, to understand that women can do anything."
Since the show wrapped after its debut season, Erin has stayed in touch with the cast, especially Sabrina Frederick, Molly Taylor, Nick Cummins, Merrick Watts and Jackson Warne, who she grew close to.
"You feel isolated when you come out, because no-one around you has gone through anything even remotely similar," Erin says. "It's good to have some support."
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Prizes To LoveDec 25, 2020