NICKI Wendt readily admitted to having racist thoughts about Aboriginal Australians in tonight's premiere of First Contact.
But it didn't take long for the Perth-born, Melbourne-based actress to question her misconceptions on the documentary series, which takes six well-known Australians on a journey through remote communities in the Northern Territory.
"I went in one way and I am very surprised at the way I came out," Wendt told APN.
"Growing up I associated fear with a lot of the Aboriginal people I came into contact with. To sit down face-to-face with a lot of people has broadened my horizons so much. It sounds a bit dramatic but it genuinely changed my life on every level."
She said she was nervous about what viewers would think about her, particularly based on tonight's first episode.
"I made the decision to tell the truth early on and I have had moments of regret," she said.
"I see myself on television on those promos and I just think 'why did you say that? You knew anything you said was their property'. But I said it and I own that I said it, and I assure you I would never say it again, not for my own protection but because I was wrong or if I wasn't wrong then I was very flippant; I was cavalier with my remarks.
"I would hate to think any of the people we met out there would be hurt by anything I said; that's what I'm most nervous about. I don't want the people I met to suffer one second longer than they already have."
The season two premiere continues to be a top-trending topic on Twitter tonight as viewers reacted to the six participants, in particular former One Nation politician David Oldfield.
Wendt tried to be diplomatic in describing her observations about Oldfield.
"There was one person in particular who didn't want to learn anything different to what he already knew and I wish he'd opened his heart up a little bit because he might have got more out of it," she said.
Tonight's premiere didn't show a welcome to country ceremony the six participants experienced in Kununurra, which Wendt also found eye-opening.
"I used to be a person who would slightly roll their eyes at welcome to country," she said.
"Then on day one of this adventure we were taken by a woman named Carol, an elder in Kununurra, who stood on a riverbank and this beautiful, calm, powerful woman had this branch of gum leaves and she dipped it in the water and welcomed us to country. It was so beautiful and heartfelt and I understood immediately what it felt like to be welcomed to country."
First Contact continues tomorrow at 8.30pm on SBS and NITV.
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