After their groundbreaking Channel 4 documentary 'The Family', the Grewal Family from West London have become instant celebrities overnight. One of the stars of the show was Shay Grewal, who's own personal story unfolded during the show, culminating in her wedding with long time partner Sunny.
Monika and Aman caught up with Shay for an exclusive interview, check it out below!
Describe yourself in three words?
Shay Grewal: Spirtual, Passionate and Caring
You’re very strong minded woman. Who has been your role model in life? Who do you look up to?
Shay Grewal: I have always aspired to be like my mother she was one of the strongest women I knew growing up. I always knew that I wanted to have her strength and compassion to take on some of the hardest things in life. I look up to Sunny’s mum – I hope one day to be as calm and loving as she is!
You have a BA in Sociology and an MA in Comparative World Studies. What made you want to study this?
Shay Grewal: I have always analysed the way in which we live and enjoyed studying society. The human sciences fascinate me and I was brought up with two religions in my house. I am a Sikh and my family are Sikh. My father also believed in Jesus Christ as do I.. I therefore wanted to study the similarities and differences in all the world religions. It has given me a deeper respect and understanding for my belief and that of others.
Do you enjoy your current job in London?
Shay Grewal: I certainly do and always new that I wanted to work in the City. You really get to meet people from all walks of life and the City is the hub of the Financial world!
What is your dream job?
Shay Grewal: I would love to be an actress !
If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money?
Shay Grewal: The first thing I would do is buy mum a really big kitchen as it’s been her dream since I have known her! I would then buy Sunny a brand new BMW (his favourite car) and then I would take the whole family on holiday for a year! Asides from that I would love to set up my own charity! Mum on the other hand says that if she won the lottery we would never hear from her again – ha ha!
How do you do deal with your new found fame?
Shay Grewal: I really don’t feel famous and am still shocked that people know who I am! We have received so much love and support from everyone and we’re soooo thankful for it! I feel so humbled by experience and am still surprised when people recognise me!
Wow, 5000 friends on Facebook…impressive stuff! What’s the most number of friend requests you’ve received in one day?
Shay Grewal: I know I’m just as shocked as you! I still don’t understand why people want to be friends with me! I have hundreds of emails I am trying to get back to and please bear with me everyone I will email you all back – thank you for your messages!
You must get a lot of messages; do you get many regarding your decision towards marrying Sunny and the caste system?
Shay Grewal: I have received a lot of messages from women and men who are in mixed relationships or in fact have just generally had disputes with their families. Everyone’s story is unique to them and I really had no idea at how much people would relate to my situation with Sunny. The one common message I have received from everyone is of hope and support and everyone seems to really understand the love Sunny and I share. Thank you all for your best wishes!
How did you feel about your private life being aired on TV?
Shay Grewal: It was something we didn’t take lightly as a family and in fact it took Dragonfly (the production company) a couple of months to reassure us that the project would be reflective of who we are. As a family, we’re all proud of the end result!
Shay and Sunny’s Relationship
Describe Sunny in three words?
Shay Grewal: Arrogant, Funny and Passionate – in some ways he’s happy to be the villain but really he’s My Rock!
How did you and Sunny meet?
Shay Grewal: We met a friends wedding and became really good friends!
Was it love at first sight?
Shay Grewal: Not for me! I found him really arrogant and opinionated. But, once we started talking I couldn’t stop laughing! He really made me smile!
Did you go into the relationship knowing that he wouldn’t be accepted by your mum?
Shay Grewal: I didn’t know that I was getting in to relationship with him. It’s not something I planned.
What drew your attention towards Sunny?
Shay Grewal: Without realising it he became my Best Friend. Sometimes you meet someone and just click with them and Sunny and I definitely did click! Sunny and I have always said that we are friends first and that’s why we get on so well.
What’s Sunnys best feature?
Shay Grewal: His eyes – he has the most beautiful long eye lashes and the most piercing dark brown eyes. They have the ability to scare the hell out of you or mesmerise you.
Who is more romantic – you or Sunny?
Shay Grewal: Sunny is with out doubt the romantic in our relationship!
What’s the most romantic thing Sunny has ever done for you?
Shay Grewal: There are too many to mention but I always smile at the way he proposed to me. He closed down a restaurant for me and we had a lovely candle lit dinner. He then proposed to me by standing me in front of the Picadilly Circus fountain. Above our heads it said Shay will you Marry me on the bright billboards! It was fantastic and a day I will never forget!
How long did it take you to prepare for the wedding?
Shay Grewal: We started preparing about 9 months before the wedding. I did book the hall and Gurudwara one year before the wedding though as it would have booked out!
You looked amazing, where did you get your wedding outfit from?
Shay Grewal: Thank you! I designed the blouse and had 400 turqouise stones put on the dress. It was designed and made in Ludhiana in Punjab.
It’s so romantic how you booked the wedding for the 8th August – did you always know that you wanted to get married on your anniversary?
Shay Grewal: Yes, we like the idea of having our wedding on our anniversary. Sunny still takes me out every 8th of the month on our anniversary so he’s quite a romantic guy!
How did you feel before going into the prayer hall to get married?
Shay Grewal: I was overwhelmed with emotions and couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. It was a mixture of happiness and sheer delight at finally doing our wedding! Sunny and I fought a long time to have our big day and so I enjoyed every second of it!
What is your favourite memory from the whole day?
Shay Grewal: The whole day! I really cherish every moment of the day and can’t believe that it happened!
Did you enjoy meeting your own family before your wedding again?
Shay Grewal: I thoroughly enjoyed spending the three days with my father’s family leading up to the wedding. They were there for me when I needed them the most and because of their love and support I felt like my father was there too. My father’s family mean the world to me and I am so thankful for their undying love and support.
Relationship with Shays' Mum
Many condolences towards the death of your father. Who was most there for you through this traumatic time period?
Shay Grewal: My mother and brother were there for me. When my father died I really started questioning a lot of things and almost gave upon my studies. I was doing my MA at the time as well as studying my A Levels and felt like giving it all up but it was my mum who really helped me to work hard and get through it.
Did your belief in Sikhism help you deal with the death of your father?
Shay Grewal: Most definitely. I am a very spiritual person and without my faith I think I would never have been able to come to terms with my father’s death.
Do you think your mum didn’t accept Sunny purely because of caste or other issues as well?
Shay Grewal: There were various reasons and most of them were discussed on the programme. You can still download the programmes on Channel 4.com
What is your view on the caste system being used in our society?
Shay Grewal: I have always believed that we are all equal and think that before religion, caste and creed we are all human beings first.
You went for the one you love over the Caste system. Many girls see you as their role model. What advise would you give to women currently struggling to make that decision between the love of their life or their family morals on the caste system?
Shay Grewal: Everyone is different and everyone’s circumstances will be different. The only advice I can give is not to make any big steps without advice from your loved ones and leaving home should be your last resort. Try to keep the communication open at all times and always be honest to yourself and everyone around you.
The Grewal Family
We see such a loving relationship between you and Sunny’s parents, how did you feel when you first moved in with them?
Shay Grewal: They have showered me with such love since I have met them and my respect and love for them has grown so much over the years! It’s true to say that they are not my in-laws but are my parents. Being a young vivacious woman there have been times that they have helped me understand and accept the situation I am in with my mum. Without them I don’t think I could have stayed strong!
How is Kaki and your new nephew?
Shay Grewal: They are both doing well! Jaskaranjeet has grown so much and he’s such a beautiful little boy… he’s always laughing and makes us smile everyday!
Will there be more baby Grewals on the way? Are you and Sunny planning on having children of your own?
Shay Grewal: Sunny and I would love to have children one day! So, watch this space!
What was your best experience throughout the show?
Shay Grewal: Finally getting married! It’s a day I waited for years and was the happiest day of my life! I am proud to call Sunny my husband and feel lucky enough to have shared my happiest day with everyone who watched the show!
We love the Grewals! Is there a possibility of doing a second series due to the success of the show?
Shay Grewal: Thank you! At the moment there isn’t a plan of doing another show but you never know what the future holds!