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19/10/2020 4:05 PM AEDT | Updated 24/11/2020 7:58 PM AEDT

SAS Australia Star Sabrina Frederick: Fighting Racism And Sexism Is Exhausting, But Here's Why I Won't Stop

“I’m a Black woman in a same sex relationship working in a male dominated sport," says the AFLW player.

Sabrina Frederick has a point to prove when appearing on new reality television show, ‘SAS Australia’ where contestants complete challenges from the real SAS (Special Air Service Regiment) selection process. 

The 23-year-old AFLW Richmond Tigers player said her “whole life is a constant fight” and  “there’s always someone that’s got to do those things first to pave the way”.  

“I’m a Black woman in a same sex relationship working in a male dominated sport,” she said in a promo for the Channel 7 show. “I’m in this experience to prove that women can do this. I know what women can do, I’ve never had men beat me in my industry anyway.” 

Channel 7
'SAS Australia' contestant Sabrina Frederick has played 29 AFLW games for the Brisbane Lions and Richmond Tigers.

Speaking to HuffPost Australia, the Tigers forward, whose mother is Australian and father is of Jamaican and Antiguan descent, said she’s faced racism ever since moving from the UK to a rural town in Western Australia at age seven.

“I felt quite accepted when I lived in the UK so when I moved to Australia I felt on the outer and I did feel like I was constantly trying to fit in,” she said. 

“And that’s part of being a kid anyway, you’re trying to make friends and trying to figure things. But moving to a rural area, I don’t think many people at that time in that area were used to seeing a woman of colour who wasn’t Aboriginal. So I think there were still kids that were trying to understand all of that.”

Frederick, who has played 29 games for the Brisbane Lions and Richmond, said facing racism and sexism has continued into adulthood and while pursuing a career as a professional sportswoman. 

“For me casual racism has been something I’ve been exposed to my whole life growing up, and I don’t necessarily think it’s always malicious but it’s definitely something you take into account,” she said. “People unfortunately do see you differently still.”  

Kelly Defina via Getty Images
Sabrina Frederick of the Tigers kicks a goal during the round one AFLW match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at Ikon Park on February 07, 2020 in Melbourne.

While she’s vowed to set an example and fight the status quo, it’s been exhausting at times.  

“It is tough because you have moments of, ‘Why can’t you just see us as the same?’ There are times when you get tired,” she explained. “It’s not going to ever stop me, but there are definitely moments when I feel like this isn’t changing anything.”

But despite those moments, Sabrina is still driven to challenging people’s views, and she’ll do just that on ‘SAS Australia’.

“I don’t ever think of myself as a victim, but I always see it as if I don’t do it, who’s going to do it? Women haven’t always been able to vote but now they can. There’s always someone that’s got to do those things first, to pave the way.

“I got given this opportunity and I thought, ‘You know what, in the real SAS they just introduced women to the course four years ago,’ so I thought ,‘Why not give something a go?’”

‘SAS Australia’ will feature 17 celebrities taking on a series of strenuous physical and psychological tests from the real SAS selection process.

The cast includes ’The Bachelorette’s Ali Oetjen, glamour model Arabella Del Busso, ironwoman and cricket WAG Candice Warner, ‘Love Island’ star Eden Dally, former Miss Universe Australia Erin McNaught, actor Firas Dirani, Shane Warne’s son Jackson, swimmer James Magnussen, comedian Merrick Watts, cricketer Mitchell Johnson, rally car champion Molly Taylor, former ‘Bachelor’ and rugby union player Nick ‘Honeybadger’ Cummins, PR queen Roxy Jacenko, AFLW player Sabrina Frederick, former Bali inmate Schapelle Corby, ex ‘Biggest Loser’ trainer Shannon Ponton and swimming gold medallist Shayna Jack. 

An elite team of ex-Special Forces soldiers will be on hand to put the stars through their paces: Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and his DS (Directing Staff) Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham, Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox and Ollie Ollerton from the UK version of the series.

SAS Australia premieres on Monday October 19 at 7:30pm on Channel 7.

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