A final year forensic student at the University of Teesside has become the youngest woman to win the military-style reality show.
Paige Zima, 26, traveled to the Jordanian desert with 20 other recruits to participate in several brutal tasks set up by a group of former special forces operators. During her time on the show, the single mother-of-two from County Durham had to endure intensive interrogation, hand-to-hand combat, a free fall from a cliff and a room filled with CS gas.
After the loss of her father in 2019, Paige decided to sign up for SAS: Who Dares Wins to not only challenge herself, but to break down barriers and empower others. She was thrilled to have won the show, in her first all-female final, alongside compatriot Shylla Duhaney, 33.
Read more: Teesside University and Teesside Live collaborate to support journalism talent and support new workspace
She said: “Winning the show has changed my life, I now believe in myself more than I can describe. When you come from nothing and life has knocked you down in so many ways, it’s easy to be a victim and feel sorry for yourself.”
“Winning reassures my belief that I can and will move forward in life. My experience on SAS: Who Dares Wins has been horribly phenomenal. It was grueling, it was physically and mentally painful, but I thrived and it made me feel strong and capable.”
The show’s only other female winner was Lousie McCullough in 2019, and now that Paige is making history on the show as the youngest female winner, she hopes to empower audiences by sharing her emotional journey.
Paige said: “I’ve received so many wonderful messages from all ages and walks of life saying I’ve inspired them – some have even told me that watching my story has literally saved their lives.”
“I hope to inspire younger generations to be strong, educated and fierce with whatever they want. I also hope that any woman who watches the series will feel empowered and able to pursue any role in which they wish. to play.”
“I went back to college and chased my dreams; I encourage everyone to do the same no matter what. »
After winning the reality show while studying at university and caring for her two young children, Paige now has a new challenge in sight. She plans to walk from Durham to Scotland, on a 240-mile hike before climbing Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain.
All of this will be sponsored as it aims to raise funds and awareness for men’s mental health. Along with this, Paige also secured a place in the Police Now program, a graduate program with two years of paid training.
The program will provide her with the necessary qualifications to help her in her policing career which she will begin once she finishes her studies.
She said: “I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I have spent almost my entire life in education and finally coming to the end is incredible. I hope to join the National Crime Agency, working on the front- guarding law enforcement and building intelligence on serious and organized crime.”
Professor Tim Thompson, Dean of the School of Health and Life Sciences at Teesside University and President Elect of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, said: “We would like to congratulate Paige on this tremendous achievement.
“During her time on SAS: Who Dares Wins, and throughout her life, she has shown great determination and resilience – key attributes that will carry her far in what is sure to be a very successful career. and impactful.”
Watch Paige on SAS: Who Dares Wins here.