Sandy Jawanda from this year’s season of Married at First Sight (MAFS) has revealed the fears she had about being thrust in front of a mainstream television audience while trying to remain true to herself, her culture and her heritage. 

She also noted the difficulties and complexities of telling her story, given that most of her friends weren’t even aware of many aspects of her life.

“I’m generally quite a private person, so a lot of what the viewers saw, my friends saw for the first time too. Like a lot of those things about my story, a lot of women or people can relate to. It’s weird to think that even my friends didn’t know about that, and growing up and not being around boys and the restrictions that were put on me,” she said on a Channel 9 panel today about how to encourage people to be more authentic and how brands can tap into consumers who are looking to be more true to themselves.

Sandy was asked how she grappled with her identity, wedding customs and family culture clashes being exposed to a “a really big mainstream audience”.

“So there’s that sense that, yea, you feel pride in sharing that story and hoping that someone can maybe relate to that and feel that ‘If she has the power and the courage to go share her story, I can go out there and share my story as well’,” she said.

“But also, you know, just, I think looking back at it, there’s that fear as well. You don’t want to go on a platform like that and disrespect anyone, disrespect your culture, so you’re really trying to juggle, you know, that sense of ‘Yes I want to go out there and be powerful’, but you sometimes feel like you have to hold back a bit, and that’s what I want to change – like, be authentic to yourself, who you are, what your story is. Be proud to share that and feel that you can and hopefully it’s going to pave the path for others to do the same thing.”

The dental hygienist turned reality TV star was also asked what if there were any negative repercussions of exposing her authentic self on MAFS and how she managed those.

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Her answer, however, indicated that most of the battles and struggles were internal.

“So growing up I had to, you know, hide who I really was and conform to what my parents wanted for me, but then to go on the show, I had to go against all of that – so that deep, in-set values and things that have been taught to me, to push against that is difficult. It’s not easy to do,” she said.

Sandy was paired with Dan Hunjas on the Channel 9 program, however they were not a match and did not last as a couple.

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