There are some reality television moments that will be remembered for years to come.
From 16-year-old Jessica Mauboy auditioning for Australian Idol in Alice Springs, the emotional Welcome to Country for Brooke Blurton’s debut as the Bachelorette, to Mitch Tambo singing a Farnham classic in Gamilaraay on Australia’s Got Talent.
And on Wednesday night, there’s sure to be another.
Erub, Saibai and Yindinji woman Sari Thaiday will make her debut on Network Ten’s The Real Love Boat – becoming the first Torres Strait woman to feature on a reality dating show.
“That was the number one thing in the back of my mind,” Sari told NITV.
“Obviously, you go for your own personal reasons, but at the same time, it kind of felt a little selfish to not go for that representation.
“I knew regardless of the outcome, or whatever happened, I would still be achieving something.”
There’s no secret that Sari is mob, carrying the infamous Thaiday last name.
“Obviously you can probably tell by my last name,” she laughed.
“I’m happy that people are going to know that that’s who I am. And it’ll be interesting if people are educated if they’ll understand the way I communicate, which is different to the cast.
“It shows growing up differently, being socialised in a different way. And that impacts my experience.”
With her suitcase packed to the brim, Sari cruised to the Mediterranean alongside 21 other singles.
The contestants will be on board the ‘love boat’ for a month, while visiting some of the world’s most romantic locations, in the hope to fall in love.
Sari already has a following online, turning heads with her make-up and gymnast talents.
But, the 25-year-old self-proclaimed introvert admits her talents don’t extend to dating.
While the trip was alluring, Sari said it was a chance to get out of her comfort zone.
“I think everybody wanted to go specifically for the experience. It’s a trip to the Mediterranean on a cruise ship and the opportunity to meet a lot of other people . . . you know you’re going to meet interesting people,” she laughed.
“When you are a little bit introverted, you are really selective with the types of people that you want to enjoy life with and that you want to be around. And so you are running the risk of being with people that you wouldn’t necessarily talk to in real life.
“But, then again there might be someone that you could connect with, and it is quite rare but special – so, you know, I was just ready for it.”
Sari Thaiday is one of 21 contestants taking the month-long holiday across the sea to find love. Credit: Network Ten
The series debuts on Wednesday evening, the run-up is “surreal” for Sari, who is still processing it all.
Talent scouts for The Real Love Boat reached out to Sari online, prompting her to throw her hat in the ring.
“I was reached out to but I went through the entire interview process,” she said.
Sari went through a series of interviews where producers cut through applications, landing finally on the final 21.
The final hurdle to being a confirmed contestant was anxiety-inducing said Sari. But finally, the call came.
“I was actually at work at the time. I’m not supposed to have my phone out but I had it with me. I just had a feeling I was going to get a call, and I got the call,” she laughed.
“I was just like ‘hang on, hang on’ and I just had to breathe for a second. I didn’t know if they were serious, I just didn’t know what to do! I just thought, oh my god!”
Sari Thaiday alongside other female contestants on Network Ten’s The Real Love Boat Credit: Network Ten
Tips for a trip
Despite being used to the Cairns heat, Sari said the Mediterranean heat was something else entirely – with it having her rethinking her packing moments after stepping on-ship.
With her newfound knowledge and experiences, Sari delivered three how-to tips on packing for the Mediterranean.
“Firstly, don’t pack heels. I packed absolutely no flats, my feet were so sore. It’s a big cruise ship I was going to have a lot of walking. So, leave the heels,” she laughed.
“Two, pick your best dresses. 100 per cent, because you’re going on holiday, you don’t want everyday clothes – dress to impress for those pictures.
“Last, I would have to say, bring sunscreen, 50 plus. The Mediterranean sun was a different type of burn that I’ve never experienced in my life – and I come from Cairns!”
Now back on the mainland and back to reality, Sari is eagerly awaiting the series debut, and said she wouldn’t shy away from another reality TV experience.
“I just kind of felt like now that I’ve done that. I can go and do it again,” she said.
“I really feel like people are going to be exposed to more diverse people that you know, it’s going to normalise having us on mainstream television.”
The Real Love Boat will premiere on Channel 10 at 7:30pm, October 5.