Long-time Walthamstow resident Ash Bibi chats about her experience on the hit BBC show The Traitors
By Marco Marcelline
[Warning: This article contains spoilers]
Ash Bibi, who participated in the hit TV show The Traitors, is at ease with her freshly achieved celebrity status, breezily jumping from one interview to the next on the day we spoke. “I was just on This Morning,” she says, as a media handler gives us the thumbs up to begin our interview.
The Walthamstow local was the first ‘traitor’ to be booted off the programme but she tells me she wouldn’t have changed a thing about the “amazing” experience.
The popular reality TV game show sees contestants split into two groups: the majority ‘faithful’ and a handful of ‘traitors’. The traitors are aware of each other’s identities and secretly work together to eliminate the faithful by ‘murdering’ one each night, while the faithful must try to identify the traitors among them. Up for grabs is a six-figure cash prize. If only faithfuls make it to the final, the money is theirs, but if a traitor or two sneak in, the traitors take it all.
Ash, who lived on Hoe Street for ten years before moving to Walthamstow Village during the pandemic, says the thing she loves most about Walthamstow is its active community. “I know people throw that word [community] around but genuinely this is why everyone wants to move to Walthamstow and Waltham Forest. When they need to, people will come together. It’s so multicultural, and it is the epitome of who I am and how I want to live my life,” she said.
She found out about the show by word of mouth. Over lockdown she and friends regularly played a game with a similar premise called ‘Werewolves’. “That got us through lockdown”, she says, recalling that a friend nudged and told her: “‘Oh there’s this show called Traitors that you need to know about.”
Ash didn’t apply thinking she would get in, and unlike other contestants, she didn’t have any winning strategy other than being herself. “I just wanted to stay true to myself and be the same person I was from when I walked in to when I left,” she says.
Fans of the show have been hooked by the drama and ruthless treachery on display each night at the roundtable, which is where Ash sadly met her demise. She was the third contestant to be banished after the other traitors tactically voted for her to go.
Despite being betrayed by her fellow traitors, the events executive was reluctant to do the same back, opting to instead accuse faithful contestant Evie of being a traitor. Reflecting on her thought process, she said: “Even at that point at the fourth roundtable, I just couldn’t
[betray other traitors] because in my mind I was thinking, ‘that’s my traitors and I wouldn’t be prepared to throw them under the bus.’”
Ash, who currently rents, had aimed to buy her own house in Walthamstow with the prize money. “I just have to hope I win the EuroMillions jackpot now!” she cackles.
To celebrate her short but sweet time on the show, Ash arranged a last-minute viewing party at her local Walthamstow Village pub. She put in a quick word to the landlord who set aside the main TV for her and magically got 45 friends to turn up with less than 24 hours notice. Watching the show back was emotional for her. She comments: “What an adventure that I’ve had the privilege to have.
The cast was amazing. I’m just really honoured. I still can’t get over [the fact] that I was chosen to go on the show.”
Would she change anything in her approach if she could go back a second time? Grinning, she says: “I’m happy being a traitor. If I got [the opportunity] to do it again, I would be a traitor – I would just try to be a bit smarter next time.”