Twenty-two year-old Alyssa Chan is a reality TV star and a final year BA (Hons) Business Management student at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Alyssa rose to fame as one of the contestants on the hit BBC Reality TV show ‘The Traitors’ which broadcast during 2022. The show features a group of contestants participating in a game, in which a small group become the titular "The Traitors" and must work together to eliminate the other contestants in order to win a grand prize. Normally known for her honesty and integrity, Alyssa had the challenge of continuously lying to the other 19 contestants as they vied for the whopping £120,000 cash prize.
Since filming the television show, Alyssa has gone on to cultivate a large social media presence with the aid of skills she developed in her Marketing modules, as part of her BA (Hons) Business Management. Now, in her final year at QMU, she looks ahead at her opportunities in the professional world.
Alyssa tells us more about her experience in the last year of University, what it was like to film a BBC Reality Television show and her hopes for the future.
What were you doing before QMU?
Before coming to QMU I was studying at secondary school back home in Cork, Ireland.
Why did you choose to study at QMU?
I chose QMU because of the size of the university. It offers a more intimate learning experience compared to other very large universities, which is better for discussions and debates. Moreover, at QMU, your lecturers know you by name and you can build relationships with them.
The community feeling of Queen Margaret, was also a huge draw. The University is incredibly diverse and inclusive. Coming from an Asian background, I can definitely see that, and I feel really welcome here.
Why did you choose this course?
I have always had an interest in business. When I researched the module schedule at QMU for business I fell in love with it - it really ticked all the boxes for me.
"I was looking for something that was quite broad and that would provide me with a lot of options when I graduate. The BSc (Hons) Business Management at QMU offers me that - it has modules in negotiation, marketing, economics and finance. It really allowed me to try the different modules and is helping me decide what I liked and wanted to pursue."
Have you engaged in any support services?
The Effective Learning Service (ELS), which provides 1-2-1 support for students with many different aspects of learning, works closely with our course and is incorporated into a lot of our modules. The ELS staff would come into our classes to give talks on different modules and give us support.
Queen Margaret University has a very strong focus on employability. One talk looked at that we were going to do after graduation and how to look for jobs. It was great, and they are really good at getting us prepared for what’s to come in the future.
How did you get involved with the BBC Reality Show ‘The Traitors’?
I got an Instagram message from one of their casting people inviting me to apply and go through their fairly rigorous application process. However, because it was the first season, they really couldn’t tell me much about what the show would involve. They roughly outlined the premise of the show and it sounded really different and interesting.
There can be a lot of stigma attached to reality TV programmes, which comes from shows like Love Island, but this one was more focused on your intellect and your ability to think quickly. It was something completely different. It was a really diverse cast, so I decided to give it a go.
I love pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and I had the chance to do it over the summer between my third and fourth year, so it wouldn’t interrupt my studies.
How did you find the filming?
It was exciting, as I hadn’t done anything like it before. I enjoyed the filming process and the challenges were fun but, simply because of the premise of the show, there were a lot of challenges. I was a Traitor, so I was lying to people all day over these 16-hour filming days - that was tough!
Are you involved in any extra-curricular courses at QMU?
I’m in the music society. I’ve been an avid member for the past few years. I sing and play piano. It’s a really great group of people. We do a lot of fundraisers and other events. It is a really good way to meet people and make friends. It was a little tough for me because Covid hit at the end of my first year and disrupted everything, but I still had time to get to know people prior to the lockdown.
Socialising is such an important part of being a student and it’s been great to have societies like this where I can meet people.
What are your plans when you graduate from QMU?
I had a plan about going into real estate but now I have completely fallen in love with content creation ever since I was in 'The Traitors'.
I understand that it is not financially viable for me to do content creation on its own. I want to keep it as a side hustle, something I can enjoy and not see as a job.
However, I am looking at marketing now - it's something I have enjoyed at University, and since the show, I have had to market myself using social media. I enjoy it a lot and I think I have a flair for it. I think I would like to go into that as a career.