Rishi Nair ‘proud’ of Hollyoaks plot helping kids overcoming racist bullies

Rishi Nair ‘proud’ of Hollyoaks plot helping kids overcoming racist bullies

Rishi Nair feels "really proud" of Hollyoaks’ far-right storyline after the plot helped school kids overcome "horrific" racist bullies.
The 28-year-old actor – who plays Sami Maalik on the Channel 4 soap – has been inundated with messages from people detailing their experiences of racism after they watched the show’s radicalisation storyline continue to unfold with Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) finally realising he has been groomed by a far-right gang.
Rishi, whose character Sami has been on the end of Ste’s racist retorts in recent months, exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "I’ve had people message me who have suffered from horrific racist abuse.
"I’ve had messages from kids in school saying, ‘I’ve noticed this person wasn’t happy and now I realise they’re being picked on, and now I realise it was actually racism.’ And they’ve been able to do something about it.
"These stories you hear make the process worthwhile. If it changes one person’s life it was all worth it.
"For it to be the first time to be covered by a UK soap, I’m really proud to be a part of that."
Rishi admits it has been a "challenging" storyline to take on because he has had to delve into personal experiences, but he is pleased the plot has made a "huge impact".
He added: "It’s been tough, it’s a big storyline, it’s hard-hitting, it’s emotional.
"Playing those scenes, essentially a victim of racist abuse, is at times quite challenging as an actor having to delve into any personal experiences.
"Or if not that, putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, which is equally as hard.
"The storyline has received such a great reception. It’s made a huge impact.
"So many positive messages coming through from people. I feel really proud to be part of that storyline, and I think it’s done what it wanted to."
But off-screen, Rishi "gets on well" with Kieron, despite the pair’s characters going up against one another a lot lately.
Speaking at the Inside Soap Awards at Sway Bar in central London on Monday night (07.10.19), he added: "Kieron is a nice lad, we get on well.
"It’s been good working with Kieron, it’s been great. A lot of our scenes are us two squaring up to one another.
"So we pick up another script and go, ‘Oh, we go again.’ "