SAS star Erin Holland spills on the un-aired challenges: ‘More intense’

SAS Australia has been described as the most brutal reality TV show in the country, but it turns out viewers haven’t even seen half of what the recruits experienced.

Speaking to Yahoo Lifestyle, contestant Erin Holland opened up about the realities of the quasi-military training show, what didn’t make it to air and what really happened with her “unfair” exit.

Erin Holland on SAS Australia.
While Erin Holland was the second recruit to voluntarily withdraw from the show, she says she was “basically forced” to leave. Photo: Channel Seven

The former Miss World Australia became the second recruit to hand in their number and leave the show - something she says she was “basically forced” to do - after she was unable to carry actor Dan Ewing on her shoulders and complete the task.

“Dan is massive and he weighs 91kg,” she details. “He’s an absolute unit and he had just come off doing an action movie as well so he was super beefy… So I’m not surprised that that’s what ended up getting me out.”


While only a few tests were shown over the two episodes that Erin was a part of, she reveals that there were a number of exhausting challenges that didn’t make it to air.

SAS is a 24/7 process,” she explains. “That night, we’d already had a 1 am wake up call where we poured freezing cold water over our heads for about an hour and a half, running back and forth to keep filling up out in the parade square.

“And we had all the running with the pack to get to the challenges, as well as crawling our way across these rocky sand dunes in the coal mine. What was shown was that we got there and next second we were covered in mud looking dishevelled because we had already had a couple of challenges within the challenge.

“It’s so much more intense than what you see on the TV.”

Erin Holland in the water on SAS Australia.
Erin reveals that there were a number of moments that didn’t make it to air. Photo: Channel Seven

A major aspect of the show is dealing with the tough directing staff who constantly drill the contestants.

“A lot of the insults don't make it to air, a lot of them probably weren't really appropriate to air,” Erin says.

“But that's another level to it as well - can you deal with the humiliation when you're not doing something that's right or you're lagging behind or how do you deal with them verbalising all the things that are going through your head at the time.

“But to be perfectly honest, I did not hear a single thing that they said to me. I was just in the zone, trying to survive, feeling the hurt. They could have said anything to me, I don't think it would have been registered.”

Coming back home after the intense experience and reflecting on her exit, Erin says she found it “really frustrating”.

“I was really upset about it,” she admits. “I kept being like, ‘It felt really unfair’, but then you go, the battlefield isn't fair and that's what they're trying to recreate as well. I knew I had more to give and I think that was what was most frustrating as well.

“It's just the most incredible experience and I was devastated to have to leave and to be given something that I just couldn't physically do.

“I'm looking at things now and I actually think ‘I would have been good at that’, so it's a shame I didn't get to undertake some of those challenges later on.”

Erin had nine weeks to prepare for the show, exercising multiple times a day - including plenty of running and regular sessions with her personal trainer Ben Lucas - and trying to bulk up her weight.

“Watching last season, we knew the food was going to be minimal and the exercise was just going to go for hours and hours a day, so it was just trying to get to as much of a physical standard as I could in a short period of time,” she says.

Erin Holland with Krave mixed grain bars.
Erin Holland is an ambassador for Krave mixed grain bars. Photo: Supplied

After eating small portions of oatmeal for breakfast and soup for lunch on SAS and then returning home and developing a snacking habit, as well as plenty of bruises, she has become an ambassador for Krave bars.

“They’re such an amazing way to satiate that afternoon craving when you want something really sweet but you want a healthy alternative,” she describes.

The mixed grain bars, which have less than 110 calories per serve, are available nationwide at Woolworths, Coles and independent supermarkets.

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