Who is Sair Khan? I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! 2018 profile

The actor who plays Corrie’s Alya Nazir swaps the cobbles for the call of the wild as she heads Down Under

Sair Khan, Getty

I’m a Celebrity 2018 contestants: Sair Khan

Age: 30

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Famous for: Playing Coronation Street’s own Alya Nazir

Twitter: @SairKhan

Sair Khan, I'm a Celeb (ITV)
Sair Khan, I’m a Celeb (ITV)

Phobias: Confined spaces and mosquitos

Is Sair Khan single?: Nope. She has a long-term partner in the shape of BBC’s Our Girl star Simon Lennon.

She says: “I am not a very big personality and I am happy to sit back. But I don’t like bullies and I won’t stand for it. If I snap, then they will face my wrath!”

Biography: Sair Khan was born in Leeds in 1988, with big ambitions of becoming an actor. After attending the National Youth Theatre, she landed her first role in BBC daytime soap Doctors, playing one-off character Nina Chopra in 2011.

Before landing her big break as Alya Nazir in Coronation Street in 2014, she was working as a receptionist in an advertising agency.

Khan’s casting in Coronation Street was a landmark in the soap, as she was part of Corrie’s first ever Muslim family.

In an official statement announcing her role, Khan said in 2014, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the cast of Coronation Street. As a northerner I’ve grown up watching the show and so can’t quite believe that I’ll soon be walking on the famous cobbles.”

Her addition of the soap was reportedly to bring more “eye candy” back to Corrie after the departure of Michelle Keegan, who played Tina McIntyre, earlier that year.

Since arriving on the infamous cobbles, Khan has had more of her fair share of dramatic storylines.

Her character Alya initially took a shine to Gary Windass, with the pair having a one night stand behind the back of his then-girlfriend, Izzy.

While romance eventually blossomed between the pair, her father Kal, (played by Jimi Mistry) tragically died in fire – seeing Alya hit the bottle and have a night of passion with Jason Grimshaw (Ryan Thomas).
Her wedding to Gary is then quickly called off when he discovers news of her one night stand.

Alya’s ill-fated love life only got worse last year when she fell for doomed mechanic Luke Britton, who was brutally slaughtered by Corrie’s answer to Fred West, Pat Phelan.

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Other storylines saw Alya battle to carry on Aidan Connor’s legacy as she fought to take control of knicker factory Underworld, and face racism over Christmas last year – a storyline Khan herself pitched to writers.

Explaining the motivation behind the story, she explained to the BBC, “This was an issue that I definitely wanted to raise and wanted addressed, because I get a lot of people coming up to me, young Asian girls, Asian guys, that are so happy to see me on the television a representation of them.

“I’m so happy to be that voice for them in all the positive elements that come with that, but there is negativity and I thought that was definitely worth exploring.”

Khan’s portrayal as Alya saw her nominated for Best Newcomer at the National Television Awards in 2015.

Now heading into the jungle, Khan is keen to prove she is very different to the serious and stern Alya.

“The weirdest thing for me is going in as myself,” she said. “My character is so different to me. She is serious, stern and she can be uptight. I am the opposite! I am such a goof, I am always laughing, being cheeky and I don’t take myself too seriously.”

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I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! returns Sunday at 9pm on ITV


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