With a keen sense of adventure and a son to set example for, Darwin’s Deadly Duo Jasmin and Jerome are taking The Amazing Race – and the world – by storm.
Proud Bindal and Gunditjmara woman and successful lawyer, Jasmin Onus, 30, said initially she had to convince her husband, Wadjigan and Larrakia man, Jerome Cubillo, 30, to join this year’s season of The Amazing Race.
For the young couple, joining the show was about portraying a positive representation of Indigenous Australians on national television.
“I had to rope Jerome into it. I’ve always been a fan of the show and it kind of combines what we love. We love to travel we love to experience other cultures,” Ms Onus said.
“We also wanted to be present on TV in terms of providing Indigenous people on TV. We turn on TV a lot of the time [and] we don’t see people like us on TV … when we do see Indigenous people represented on TV or in the mainstream media it’s always a negative portrayal and stereotypes.”
“We know there’s so much strength in our communities, in our culture, in our families, we wanted to highlight and show that.”
The couple said they also wanted to make their two-year-old son, Jerome Jr. proud of his parents.
“We want to show him that you can do these crazy amazing things and put yourself out there and challenge the whole notion of shame,” Mr Cubillo said.
“[We wanted to] share a bit about the culture and change the … stereotypes.”
“We wanted to show that there’s no limit to what you can achieve … put your hand up and be proud of moving out of your comfort zone,” Ms Onus added.
Mr Cubillo summed the entire Amazing Race experience into one word: unreal.
“I struggle to put it into words … to be able to travel together, do these challenges together, and experience different cultures, to meet local people in their communities … you wouldn’t normally be able to access them and have this experience,” Mr Cubillo said.
The experience wasn’t without its challenges, however.
“You’re under so much pressure, you are in countries that you can’t speak the language … you’re absolutely jet lagged … we were away from our two-year-old son as well … feeling like you’re worlds away,” Ms Onus said.
“It all combines to be this crazy environment but it’s just absolutely mad and we just absolutely loved it.”
The experience was a mixture of terror and excitement for the couple.
“When we were struggling, we thought of our son and we thought of why we were here – [for] our boy, to represent our mob, our family,” Ms Onus said.
“To be a positive representation for our mob and also the Northern Territory, and our son.”
Mr Cubillo said apart from being away from their son, it was a struggle to back it up each day.
“To be able to switch on, stay focused, you know you’re going to have a big day ahead physically … making sure you’re switched on mentally, trying to keep our emotions in check,” Mr Cubillo said.
“[And] to continue to portray our mob and our family in the best light we could.”
“We wanted to make sure we came across as real and authentic,” Mr Cubillo said.
“It was on our mind that we wanted to be positive characters on TV and represent our mob in a good way and make our mob proud,” Ms Onus said.
The deadly duo said they wanted to spread positive messages of identity and self-determination to other Indigenous Australians through this experience.
“For me, it’s about having no shame, willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone, to push the barriers, break stereotypes, to get out there and take opportunities that come up,” Mr Cubillo said.
Ms Onus echoed similar sentiments, saying it’s possible to achieve anything in life.
“Don’t worry about society’s expectations on you … you’re the master of your own destiny,” Ms Onus said.
“We hope the next generation can follow suit.”
Speaking of this year’s teams, Ms Onus said the diversity in cast was incredible.
“It really is reflective of modern Australia today … there are different teams on this season that will appeal to every sector of Australia,” Ms Onus said.
“We’re really proud to be a part of that.”
Other couples on the show included Muslim mother-daughter duo Rowah and Amani, Nigerian nurses Femi and Nick, NSW nuns Judy and Therese, self-proclaimed influencers Sid and Ash, and young Gen Z siblings Alana and Niko.
Mr Cubillo said the friendships they formed with other contestants on the show were unique.
The show also afforded the couple the chance to explore other cultures and people, something they found very rewarding.
“[It was] the opportunity to meet other mob from different countries and to really get engaged and involved in some of their culture, practices and traditional customs … they’re experiences that money can’t buy,” Ms Onus said.
For now, it’s back to reality for the deadly duo.
“Just focusing on our boy, we’re not going to leave him again for a while,” Ms Onus said.
The couple are very involved with their local community, Mr Cubillo is currently President at local football club, Wanderers FC.
“A lot of local Indigenous mob play for Wanderers, they’re a community-focused place,” Ms Onus said.
“I’m also very involved with the Healing Foundation, which is a Stolen Generations focused entity.”
The Healing Foundation’s 10-year anniversary is coming up, so Ms Onus is investing a lot of her time into the celebrations.
“Back to reality really, and back to our community,” Ms Onus said.
By Hannah Cross