Although their time on the reality competition show was not as long as they hoped, the girls did achieve their target of seeing more of the land down under with plans to do more domestic travel in 2021.
So, what was the greatest lesson they learned about the country they call home?
“We learned what a ‘dunny’ was,” Malaan said with Tina in firm agreement.
On a more serious note, what the two women — who boast the impressive distinction of having worked for the UN — didn’t realise, was how deeply important their experience would be for other people.
“At first we did it just for us, we just thought it was a fun thing for us to do, a bucket list item,” Tina told The Latch in an interview after their elimination.
“What I didn’t really realise was the amount of impact that it would have. Since we’ve been on the show, we’ve had so much support from the community, everyone loves that we’re on there. I think we’ve inspired other people to also want to do it, who just didn’t think that they could. It’s just bigger than us. We didn’t realise that it was just so much bigger than us.”
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Both Tina and Malaan recognise that their time on the show, and the inspiration it provided, was likely more timely due to the global reckoning of 2020 where conversations around human rights and social equality were brought to the forefront of social consciousness.
“I think that’s what’s so good about the race and showing the diversity, is the different teams, and the different abilities as well,” Tina said. “I think what was important for us was just going there and being ourselves, being representative of who we are, as opposed to going in and having a particular narrative. We wanted to go there and show two Aussie girls who have fun together, but we also happen to have been born overseas so it shows that Australia is multicultural. There’s a lot of diversity here. And just to be able to portray that was what I like about the show.”
Born in Sudan before moving to other parts of Africa as refugees, the girls have faced great challenges in their lives, with Tina being separated from her mother and youngest sister for three years as they waited to be able to join Tina, her father and brothers in Australia.
These challenges, according to both women, gave them the resilience that is needed to participate in a show as demanding as The Amazing Race.
“You can’t take life too seriously”, Tina said. “Things can always be worse and they can always be better, you just sort of take every day as it goes.”
“She just literally took the words out of my mouth,” added Malaan who also noted the respect both women feel for their parents, having gone through the experiences they have.
“There’s a lot that happens around the world, but when you’re young, you don’t really see that. But I think as we grow older, I have a lot of respect and appreciation for my parents, because you start to understand, I suppose the situation that we were in,” Malaan said.
“But one thing our parents always wanted for us was to always feel confident and that we can do anything. By bringing us here as well, it was to give us more opportunities in life. They never wanted us to feel disadvantaged in any way and they wanted us to be confident young woman and that’s what we’ve become.”
As for who the childhood friends would like to see win The Amazing Race, the women say it might be too early and too tough to call as the competition is prone to changing on a dime.
“I really like Jobelle and Rani,” Tina said. “They are such a good team and they’re really out there giving it their all.”
“We also really like Shane and Deb,” added Malaan. “They are just so lovely. In fact, we call them Mum and Dad!”
Watch The Amazing Race Australia on Network Ten and TenPlay.