Earlier this month Buckwild star Salwa Amin conducted a jailhouse interview with local television station WVNS in which she candidly, and very humbly, talked about her arrests, her opiate addiction, the death of her Buckwild cast mate Shain Gandee, and MTV’s decision to put the show on hold. (The network has since announced the cancellation of the series, but at the time they had merely announced filming had been put on hold.)
In case you missed it, Salwa was arrested on February 11 and charged with drug possession with the intent to sell after being found with two other suspects in a shed along with three packages of heroin and Oxycodone in her purse. Salwa was later released, but had to return to jail on March 27 after failing a mandatory drug test. At the time of the interview she had been behind bars for just over two weeks.
To be honest, we didn’t really get to know Salwa all that well on the show — unless you count seeing her ample bare pixelated chest jumping off a roof into a dump truck swimming pool. But in this interview I think we finally get to meet the Salwa Amin that is an intelligent college graduate with a degree in accounting and an ample brain to match her other attractive assets. She reveals that she was high while filming some portions of Buckwild, so a large part of the difference might be attributed to Salwa’s sobriety since being in jail — which I think Salwa would agree with.
Here’s the interview in its entirety:
“So, how are things?” the interviewer asks at the very beginning. “Things are not good,” Salwa replies, “but, I’m an optimistic person. Obviously when I first got here the first thing I was trying to do was get out,” Salwa says before revealing that her priorities have since changed, and now her number one priority is getting sober.
“I was an addict, and yeah, I’m a recovering addict,” she confesses.
UPDATE – On April 29 a West Virginia Court ordered that Salwa Amin enter a rehabilitation facility. After she completes her time there she will return to jail and await her court date, which has still yet to be determined.
When asked what her drug of choice was, Salwa replies by simply stating, “It was opiates.” She talks about opiate abuse being an epidemic, and references her fellow MTV reality star, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and his admission to opiate addiction last year as an example. “I got into it because everybody around me was doing it,” she says.
Salwa admits she was using when MTV was filming Buckwild, but when she was asked about her fellow cast members, she smiled and said, “I’m not going to disclose that.”
So what lead up to her relapse and the eventual failed drug test? Salwa says she was waiting for a bed at a recovery center when she tested positive for drug use and had to go back to jail.
As far as her original arrest, Salwa says she knows it sounds cliche but she was just “at the wrong place at the wrong time.” And what about the “intent to sell” charges? “I’m just a user,” Salwa says, before going on to state that she had nothing to do with selling drugs, and the heroin they found on the scene was not hers. She adds that she has never used heroin.
The interviewer then asked about the death of Shain Gandee, which happened April 1 — just 11 days before the interview. “I was in jail and it just drove me crazy that I couldn’t give my condolences to Loretta and Dale, which are his parents, and attend the funeral,” Salwa says. “I really tried my best to be there and pay my respects, because he was an awesome person.”
And what was her favorite off-screen memory with Shain? “You guys didn’t see this,” Salwa says, smiling, “but … when we flew out to L.A. me and Shain … had a lot of fun there. … That’s something you guys didn’t get to experience with us.” She then adds, “my first time mudding was with him, so I’ll definitely cherish those moments.”
When asked about whether or not she has been in contact with MTV throughout her recent ordeals, Salwa says that she was not contacted by the network while in jail the first time, but she did talk with them after she was released. Salwa says MTV was not happy with her arrest, but that they were “surprisingly sympathetic to my problem that I had, because they know that I’m not a criminal.”
Though production had reportedly begun on Buckwild Season 2 already, Salwa reveals that she didn’t have a chance to film before having to go back to jail. She says that MTV was planning to address her arrest on the show and talk about her addiction.
At the time of the interview, MTV had announced that filming on Buckwild Season 2 had been put on hold and the future of the show was still undetermined. (They have since announced the show has been canceled, and recent reports indicate they will not allow Parallel Entertainment and Zoo Productions to take it to another network.) So what did Salwa think of MTV’s decision to halt filming? “Honestly, I think it’s really noble of the network because this was a really highly rated [show] and they chose respect over money, and I think that was noble of them to put it on hold for now, and I think that’s the best decision considering the unfortunate events that [have] happened to the cast members on the show.”
What has Salwa learned from all this? “I just learned that you just can’t be influenced so easily and you just have to stick by your morals.” She adds, “I know it’s cliche, but ‘just say no’ to drugs because they can just take over your whole world. In the flash of an eye you can lose a lot of things. I know there are a lot of girls that would love to be in my position, being able to be on a reality show, and I just didn’t really think about that.”
Salwa is asked if her addiction has caused to her to do scary things she wouldn’t have otherwise, and Salwa says it never really got to that level. “I’ve seen some people do some scary, crazy things to get their high … I just got in trouble.” And getting in trouble led her to see that the drugs were taking over her life.
What are Salwa’s plans if MTV cancels Buckwild for good? (Which it appears that they have.) “I have other goals. I graduated college with my accounting degree, and currently I’m studying for my CPA. So, while I’m in [jail] I’m going to make the best of it, and I’m trying to be ready to sit for my CPA exam as soon as I get out of here.”
Later Salwa talked at length about MTV’s decision to put Buckwild filming on hold. “I think part of the reason why the network put this on hold was because, unlike every other reality show, we didn’t go by a script, and I think that’s what made us one of the top rated shows is because the audience — they were able to see how genuine we were, and how real we were. And I think because — I wouldn’t be able to go on camera right now, after Shain’s death and everything that’s been going on and be able to be just fake about everything. So I think they took that into consideration with putting the show on hold.”
When asked about her fellow cast mates’ campaigns to keep Buckwild on the air in some form or another — be it on another network or whatever, Salwa says that her only issue would be the timing, saying there should be time for the cast members to go through a “respectful grieving process for the main character on the show.” Salwa adds, “I don’t see how they’re trying to campaign for the show like immediately after one of our main cast members is dead.”
Salwa is asked if she understands where her cast mates are coming from with their bids to keep the show on the air, and she says, “I understand where they’re coming from because I’m a big fan of the show, I want the show to continue, and I hope they do continue it. So, I understand where they’re coming from, but I think it’s just too soon to start filming again.”
Salwa is also asked about her modeling career, which she was all set to launch when she was first arrested. Salwa talks about her website, TheRealSalwa.com, and this video clip, which she filmed while on the way to see her probation officer and turn herself back in after testing positive for opiates:
Salwa concludes the jail interview by thanking all the fans, both inside the jail and out, who have been supportive through all of her recent troubles.