When you think of Anna Heinrich, your mind usually jumps straight to The Bachelor. Tim Robards (Anna’s now-husband) is considered the founding father of the Australian franchise, as he was the first eligible suitor to be assume the coveted role back in 2013. Anna quickly stole his heart, and nine years (and one adorable baby later) they’re truly living their happily ever after.
While Anna made a name for herself through the rose-petalled, champagne flute-filled world of bachelor land, she’s determined not to stay in that box. Her latest reality television stint has seen her enter SAS Australia, as Chief Instructor Ant Middleton and his team of Directing Staff put 17 celebrity recruits through their paces.
The show is known for pushing contestants to their absolute limits, and while previous seasons have seen obvious standouts, like the Honey Badger and his brute strength, some celebrity recruits take the nation by surprise when they come out swinging. In season three, Anna Heinrich was one of them.
After surviving a group culling, the remaining recruits were instructed to dunk themselves into a bath of icy water, at which point Anna admitted defeat.
“I think it’s my time. I just, I can’t do this anymore. I feel like I’ve given it my absolute all. I’m really proud of myself,” the 34-year-old told Middleton, before taking off her armband.
Back at camp, Middleton and Heinrich had a heart-to-heart, where Ant admitted that he didn’t expect Anna to last more than a few days, but to his surprise, she’s exceeded all his expectations.
“When we first looked at you, and we don’t judge a book by its cover, we thought, three, four days max. And then you just peaked like this, and all of a sudden it’s like, alright. You’ve done amazing… You go back to your daughter. What a role model she has in you,” he told her.
“You should realise that, how headstrong you are,” he continued. “Don’t let anyone get into your head and tell you otherwise, ’cause they’ll have me to deal with.”
Despite Middleton revealing that he and his team may have judged Anna by her appearance, her flawless execution of the terrifying helicopter stunt quickly changed their minds. Leaping from a boat onto the rungs of a helicopter before swinging herself up and inside, Anna completed the challenge with ease, solidifying herself as one to be watched.
“Yes!” DS Ollie Ollerton shouted, before first pumping and adding “good effort,” as Anna clambered inside the moving chopper.
While her SAS journey may be over, the impact Anna has had during her time cannot be understated. At every turn and every challenge, she was up there leading the pack, diving headfirst into the unknown and tackling anything that was thrown her way. Despite being up against professional athletes like Olympic swimmers, NRL stars and title-holding boxers, Anna repeatedly demonstrated that she was a force to be reckoned with.
From almost developing hypothermia during a freezing water challenge to breaking down during a confronting interrogation, there were countless moments when it felt as though the reality-star might quit, but didn’t.
During one particularly emotional scene where the recruits were asked to share something shameful about themselves, Anna revealed that she’s been fighting an ongoing battle with low self-esteem.
“I just don’t feel like I’m ever good enough and I’m just ashamed sometimes of who I am,” she confessed.
“I want to be better and not so negative and have more self-belief… and especially now that I’ve got a daughter, I want to make sure I can instil that in her.”
Her emotional confession was a poignant reminder that social media is a truly warped perception of a person’s life. Behind her glamorous wardrobe and socialite status is a real human, struggling with low-self esteem and self-doubt like the rest of us. Lifting the veil on that part of her life was a huge moment of relatability for the reality star.
While some may be disappointed that Anna didn’t see it through to the finish line, SAS has always established that its purpose is far greater than just ‘winning.’ No matter who crosses the finish line, every person who enters and leaves the course is considered a winner in their own right.
Despite being separated from her young daughter and pushed to physical and mental breaking point, Anna can say that she’s grateful for the journey and the things it’s taught her about herself. After all, how many people can say they’ve sprinted through the bush while on fire?
No matter the personal or physical cost, Anna gave the show her all, no holds barred. She’s an inspiration to to women everywhere, whether it be a young woman learning to believe in herself or a new mother being reminded of how powerful her body is, her time on SAS is a reminder that women are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. In fact, it’s when we least expect it that we’re able to achieve things beyond our wildest measure.
Anna, you might have been known as number twelve, but to us, you’ll always be number one.