Why did you want to join the cast on I’m a Celebrity?
Being able to support Minus18 and to talk about sexuality, not just through the lens of sexual identity but also through the lens of religion and culture, is something I have always felt is under-represented in mainstream media. I came here to break the mould and show people that I don’t have to look or act a certain way to be something. It’s important to show you don’t have to fit certain stereotypes and we should all respect one another.
You have a South Asian-Australian background. How has that influenced your journey?
I grew up in a very Christian household – my dad is a former Catholic priest. Sex and sexual intimacy were viewed as very negative in the cultural and religious framework I was raised in. As I grew older, it felt like rebellion when I wanted to go on dates with women. But I’ve been very lucky to have parents, who over the past eight years since my brother Dom has come out as gay, have been on a journey with him. It’s been wonderful to see how they have unlearned some of the ideologies they had. They are watching this show and seeing everything I am doing and I love that they are getting behind me as they love their kids.
What are you looking for in a partner?
Kindness is really important to me, I want to be with someone who is empathic and compassionate towards others. I look for someone with confidence and ambition – someone I can build something with. A good sense of humour, not taking yourself too seriously and positive energy are also important.
Why did you choose Minus18 as your charity?
I chose them, not just because they serve the LGBTQIA+ community, but also young people. Through charity work, I’ve seen young people end up in really vulnerable circumstances because of their sexuality. I want to help stop this. If I’d had access to a charity like this when I was younger, then maybe I would have been more confident about exploring my own sexuality when I was at school. I got crushes on girls but didn’t tell anyone as I was worried about being teased about being a lesbian. I love that they are making things different. Being in the jungle is all about stepping out of your comfort zone.
What were you surprised to learn about yourself?
I’ve spent the past 12 months being very career-driven and focused on using this amazing platform. After being stripped bare and having everything taken away that I use as armour, I was surprised to find out that without the title or achievements, I am enough. I was still strong, confident, secure and shared everything. And now there is nothing left that I’m not going to be open about anymore.
What did you miss the most from your everyday life?
I missed good food. You really do spend all your time fantasising about food because you are starving! I really missed my family and realised how blessed I am to have them and that I never want to take them for granted. When Nathan [Buckley] had his medical episode in the camp, it was so scary as he reminded me of my dad, who has an underlying health condition. It was a real reminder of how short life is and that it can be changed in an instant. I’m going to be much more present now when I am with loved ones.
I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! Australia airs Sun-Thu., 7.30pm on Network Ten.