The Circle 2021 on Channel 4 has introduced another contestant – meet new player Shabaz here!
Shabaz is a 28-year-old Secondary school teacher from Blackburn.
However on The Circle he’ll be playing as 23-year-old chemistry teacher Alice.
Follow Shabaz on Instagram and TikTok
Shabaz says of being on The Circle: “I thought it was such an interesting concept. The minute I saw it, I knew I’d want to play this girl. I’ve been on social media for so long and this girl has always sort of been my competition.
“She’s the type of person that everybody hangs on her every word; everybody buys her merch; she gets millions of views. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to live in this type of person’s shoes and see what it’s like having the world treat me completely differently. ”
Meet Shabaz – and Alice
Shabaz says of his catfish persona: “Her background and her upbringing is totally different to mine. I grew up in a small northern town with working class parents who came from abroad. Alice grew up as the quintessential middle-class white girl in an affluent southern area. I think she grew up quite privileged.
“She went on holidays every year, she did horse riding as a kid, she took violin lessons. Her later years, post 18, will be quite similar to mine: She went to uni where I went to uni; She travelled where I travelled; She’s a teacher and I’m a teacher.”
He explains: “Growing up, I never really saw people like me online. Alice has always been a role model to all types of people. I call her my “last girl” because she’s the girl that survives to the end of the horror film. She’s Sidney Prescott. She’s that girl who goes on the journey from being the simple girl next door to crawling through the mud as a survivor.
“When I was growing up, and I’m sure it’s true for a lot of people of colour, this type of girl was the cool girl role model portrayed in the media and it didn’t make a difference to us. Whereas I think for white people, they wouldn’t have seen many role models from another race.
“Someone like Alice and I could both go online and talk about things like bullying and racism. We could both be saying the same core message, but she would be the one who gets more views because people instantly relate to Alice as a role model. People from all walks of life might relate to Alice straight away, whereas I think some people seeing me, Shabaz, could think “I don’t get his life. I don’t get his struggle” just because we aren’t similar.”
Shabaz continues: “Being a teacher, you have to be very open minded and Alice and I would be on the same page on a lot of social issues like black lives matter, trans rights, immigration, Brexit, poverty, gay rights, gender inequality etc.
“If someone were to ask about a topic like Brexit or something, I would give my own opinion of it because Alice’s adult life and Shabaz’s adult life have been very similar and we’re likely to agree on things like that. ”
Fronted by Emma Willis, the series features voice-over comedian Sophie Willan.
The Circle 2021 airs Sunday-Fridays at 10PM on Channel 4 with episodes available to All 4.