Ferne McCann has said she drew on her experience of childbirth to find the “resilience and strength” to get her through Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.
The former The Only Way Is Essex star, 32, is among the 14 famous faces who viewers will see put through their paces when the gruelling Channel 4 show returns to TV screens in early September.
Ahead of the show’s launch, McCann admitted that she cried at “every given opportunity” while filming the show in the Jordanian desert but still found the experience to be “life-changing”.
The reality personality, who has raised her four-year-old daughter Sunday on her own, said: “I kind of went into Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins with exactly the same mindset as when I was leading up to giving birth to my daughter, which sounds ridiculous.
“But honestly, when you’re in that environment and it’s really challenging, you have to draw from experiences that you’ve been through to find the resilience and the strength to get you through.
“Everyone talks about labour, but you don’t really realise how painful it actually is, but I really wanted to feel that pain, which may sound strange.
“And it was the same with this, I really wanted to see how tough it actually is. And I want to prove to myself that I can do it, but whilst I was in there, I did a lot of proving myself to the DS (directing staff). I think they questioned every day why I was there!”
McCann added that going into the show she leaned on her mental willpower as she knew she was not going to be the fittest contestant but said she always knew she was “not a quitter”.
Over the course of the show, the recruits face both physical and mental challenges from the directing staff, who are an elite team of ex-special forces operators from the UK and USA.
The TOWIE star added that she found her experience with the DS team to be the “ultimate therapy session” as they brought things from her subconscious about her younger years to the surface.
She explained: “When I was a teenager my parents divorced. Even though I’m very close to my dad, I didn’t have a male figure in my life throughout my whole puberty and teenage years.
“So I found it really strange having men really shout at me. I felt like I was a little girl. Everything that I really pride myself on, being a mother and being an entrepreneur, running multiple businesses, all the strengths that I feel that I have in day to day life, I felt really inadequate, I felt like a child.
“And it was really hard and I didn’t like it. I’m someone who needs praise!”
McCann also admitted that when the DS members would shout at her she “cried with meaning and reason” and that every morning she woke up and thought “It’s my time to go. I don’t want to do another day”.
Despite the challenges it brought, the reality star described the show as “one of the best experiences of my life”.
Also among the famous faces taking part on the show is former Love Island winner Amber Gill, 25, who also revealed that she was “raging” when the DS team shouted at her.
“Obviously you can’t say anything back, but I was thinking ‘If I wasn’t doing this right now, I wouldn’t dare let you talk to me the way you’re speaking to me now. No one talks to me like that and gets away with it’,” she said.
Gill added: “I was thinking ‘I’m so angry. Stop calling us pathetic. I’m trying my best. What more do you want us to do?’
“There were tears, but they were tears of anger. I don’t really cry for any other reason other than the fact that I’m angry and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Gill explained her motivation for joining the show was to prove that she was more than her reality star background.
She said: “I wanted to just show that I can do whatever I put my mind to, that I can be tough.
“I think coming off a show like Love Island and being on Instagram, people have a certain expectation about me and I wanted to show that I’m more than that.”
Also among the line-up is former footballer Ashley Cain, soap actress Maisie Smith, Strictly Come Dancing professional AJ Pritchard and his former Love Island contestant brother Curtis.
Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins returns to Channel 4 on Sunday September 4 at 9pm.