Sunny Malik Discusses His Time On Snowflake Mountain - Exclusive Interview

10 Gen-Z strangers, one vast mountainous wilderness region across the pond, and two military survival educators as reality show TV hosts — what could possibly go wrong? "Snowflake Mountain" on Netflix centers around both American and U.K. 20-somethings who, by their parents' testament, are spoiled, entitled, and lazy. In an attempt to teach them responsibility, teamwork, and other life values that older generations seem to think the current generation lacks, "Snowflake Mountain" dupes its contestants into thinking they're embarking on a luxurious "Love Island" villa-staying type of adventure. 

When they end up in a chilly climate surrounded by the lush greenery of the Lake District of England, the group finds themselves in an unexpected situation, not yet ready for the experience of a lifetime — one that requires forfeiting their material items, sourcing their own food, and conquering their biggest fears.

One of those contestants is Sunny Malik, the down-to-earth presence who balances the chaotic energy of the other cast members. In an exclusive interview with The List, Malik divulges what it was really like while filming, his reflection of the transformational experience, and what he thinks about a certain problematic cast member.

Why Sunny second-guessed being a finalist

Congratulations, first of all, on the premiere! Can you tell us how it feels to receive all the buzz this week from the airing, but the fact that you made it to the final two?

Overall, it feels super surreal, because we were so isolated that we were so immersed in our little secluded experience. Even the day we left, it felt separate from reality. It's a trip now, having people close to me watching it and commenting on things that felt so private while they were happening. It's definitely a trip, but it's very cool.

When they announced you [as one of the finalists], you had said something like, "You sure?" Right?

Yeah. I was not expecting that.

Why was that your initial reaction?

I know a lot of people felt like they should've been in the final three, but personally, I thought it was going to be Rae, Deandra, and Carl. I was genuinely shocked because I knew I didn't do horribly. I feel like I did change, for sure ... I was associated with Solomon, and I got into all that sneaky stuff, and I wasn't as big of a personality. They said something like, "Just because you're not a big personality, doesn't mean..." Joel said something, I forget exactly [what it was], but yeah, I was genuinely shocked. I did not expect that at all.

How his chill personality was to his advantage

In the show, I feel like you're pretty humble. Do you feel, looking back on this experience now, that you stood out amongst the cast members? Is that why you feel you got so far?

Yeah, definitely. When I got there, I [spoke] in the first episode about how everyone was loud and a little bit obnoxious. I remember the first day, I was like, "Oh, my personality is a lot more mellow. I'm definitely going to fall [by] the wayside, whatever." That's what helped me, because I was one of the more level headed people there — probably me and Randy and that might be it. 

Typically, [there are many different]  regular personalities, and some people who are very big personalities, like Liam [and] Deandra. There were so many big personalities that I stood out from just being a normal guy, just being a dude on the show. It definitely helped because I didn't get involved in any drama. I was friends with Solomon at the beginning while he was there, and that was the closest I got to really being engaged in like the hardcore camp drama.

Sunny explains his soft spot for Solomon

Speaking of Solomon, who left halfway through the show, you had said at some point on the show you had a "soft spot" for him. What made you empathetic toward him?

It was [because] we were roommates, so ... I don't know how much the show really emphasizes it, [but] we were really out there. We became really close, really fast because we were rooming together. So We were talking all night, all day. I had more of a relationship with him than anyone else, and in any relationship, you have family that [can be] terrible people, but you find something to love about them. I'm not saying Solomon's a terrible person, but he did some malicious stuff. He had a malicious attitude, but aside from that, I remember talking to him about [our] families — he asked about my sister. That's where [we became close, and] we had that going on.

How Sunny really feels about militaristic hosts Matt and Joel

Survival instructors Matt and Joel have a strong military background. What did you learn from them and how do you view your experience with them post-show?

My initial reaction when I saw them — I said some derogatory s***. I said something like, "They look like random dudes you'd see at like any Walmart, in the fishing section." [That's how I saw them.] 

It was tough at first, honestly — [dealing with] two kind of alpha male type of guys. That's normally the worst thing for me; I don't like that. At first, it definitely was hard to take them serious[ly]. I genuinely did not like them at first, but over time, [I realized that] when you talk to them, they're very family oriented, and they're very genuine people, honestly.

Joel, definitely, he 100% will go for anything. He's very spontaneous. I really liked watching that, and I definitely took some of that from him. Matt, he's an emotional guy. I feel like we had some deep talks. It's not in the show, so I don't know if it matters to say, but we talked about our dads and stuff like that. We got deep. We had some good, nice emotional conversations. They're both really solid guys. My first impression was wrong. They're not [alpha types who would] spit [in] your face. They're genuinely sweethearts.

How Sunny's experience on the show has changed him the most

Has your confidence or view of yourself on the show changed since the release? And if so, how have you changed the most since filming?

I'm willing to do a lot more stuff that I would've not have done or I would've not [shown] up for. Climbing the tree, if that was something a friend suggested, I'd be like, "No, I'm not going to do it." It was so scary, but it did give you that crazy adrenaline boost. Skinning the deer, as graphic as that was, it really made me willing [to be] open to new things. I'm open to everything. I say yes to any opportunity I get now. I have pretty bad anxiety. Who doesn't? I feel good now. I'm more willing to venture out into new things [and] put myself out there.

What experiences from this show are you taking with you? Are there any moments on the show, either on or off screen, that you felt resentful toward?

Definitely, as weird as it sounds, skinning the deer with Cat [another featured survival instructor] was, in my head, my turning point, because that's so beyond outside my comfort zone that once I did that, that was what opened the door to me being willing to do [adventure challenges] like climbing the tree, climbing the mountain. That was only possible because I was able to [skin] the deer. I actually was ready to leave, but [when] Devon left [that challenge], I was like, "I can't leave too." That forced me into it, but it was for the best. I'm glad I did. I don't want to say [it was] triggering, but [it was], for lack of a better term. That was such a high. Getting over that hump made everything else honestly smooth sailing in comparison.

I'm cool with everything from the show, but I forgot that I s*** in the hole. It's been quite a rude awakening, in a sense, because I've had so many people hit me up about that scene. It's been fun. I had a good time. I was really [a part of the] "Jackass" generation. I was a little inspired.

We're [the cast] all actually really cool. That's something I'd want people to know. We're going to meet up — we're all doing a New York trip. We've had a group chat with most people from the show. You can guess who's not in the group chat.

"Snowflake Mountain" is now streaming on Netflix.