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When you're by yourself, you can only hurt yourself. I'd call that safer.

Toni to Faber and Young, Day Six

Toni Shalifoe is a main character in the first and second seasons of The Wilds. She is potrayed by Erana James and debuted in Day One.

A lesbian with anger issues, Toni feels like everyone is out to screw her over... since almost everyone in her life has. Despite her aggression, Toni has a softer side and a great capacity for love, as evidenced by her fierce loyalty to her best friend Martha[1].

Early Life[]

Toni is a 17 year old from a rez-adjacent small town in northern Minnesota. Her father was never present in her life, and her mother is an addict who remains in and out of rehab. Due to her difficult family life, or lack thereof, she is in the foster system and stays with her foster family. Despite that, Toni has stayed with her past girlfriend, Regan, and her best friend, Martha. Toni attends Hopewell Lake High School, and once served as the captain of the girls basketball team.

Throughout the Series[]

From Season One, it is established that Toni struggles with both anger and abandonment issues. This makes her lash out and constantly question her self-worth. Due to being in the foster system her whole life, Toni has had no real support outside of Martha and Martha's network. After initially being annoyed and irritated by Shelby's personality, especially when she tries to 'steal' Martha away from her and calls Toni's sexuality a 'sin', Toni eventually realises that Shelby is scared to show her true self and softens towards her. At the end of Season One, they begin a relationship after having a few secret kisses and sex by the lychee tree.

In Season Two, Toni is mellowed and blissfully happy in her relationship with Shelby. After Martha finds out, they're able to be together out in the open. Toni still however struggles with her self-worth, which is evident when Shelby says 'I love you' in episode 6, which Toni initally does not say back, causing some communication issues and awkwardness between them. However, after a pep talk from Martha, Toni tells Shelby that she loves her too. After Martha has a breakdown nearing the end of the season, Toni and Shelby's relationship hits turmoil when Toni blames Shelby for Martha's decline in mental health. Shelby, knowing Toni well, understands that Toni will not be able to forgive her yet, returning her sweatshirt and causing a break in the relationship. Hope is not lost however, as Shelby declares that she will 'never not love' Toni, plus a touching reunion in the bunker during the season finale, meaning that there is still a lot to find out with this couple.

Personality[]

Toni is a girl who can get angry at the slightest thing that happens to her as no one has ever wanted to understand or expect anything from her. Toni doesn't easily trust other people around her and thinks they'll hurt her or someone else she loves. None of this is her fault, she is just a victim of human contempt.

Despite her anger, Toni eventually has a change in behavior when she and the rest of the girls spend more time on the island. She gets more friendly with everyone and even has a budding, romantic relationship with Shelby.

Physical Appearance[]

Toni has an olive skin tone and long, wavy brown hair. She is Native American, specifically from the Ojibwe Nation. Toni has a slim physique, and she is among the shortest of the eight girls. Despite her height, she excels in basketball, becoming a captain of her high school team. She also has freckles and brown eyes, which are a little honey-colored.

Relationships[]

Martha Blackburn[]

Martha is Toni's best friend. Toni moved in with Martha's family after a series of foster homes didn't work out. Toni is intensely protective over Martha due to her sweetness. With how strong their friendship is, they're like sisters. They love each other very much and have practically grown up together.

Their friendship is on the rocks during the early days on the island, with Martha spending more time with Shelby and less with Toni. This makes Toni upset because she thinks Shelby is only going to hurt Martha in the end and not care about her after they get rescued. When Toni lets out her anger and ends up destroying the shelter her team was building, an upset Martha storms off and harshly scolds Toni, saying that she's tired of picking up after her.

The two aren't on good terms for a few days, but it's shown that Martha still cares about Toni, especially when they get food poisoning due to the mussels. They slowly spend more time with each other again, and it's implied they're back to being good friends in Day Twenty-Two, with them happily reminiscing fourth-grade memories. However, when Martha purposely lets the goat escape, Toni calls out her for her naiveness: she tells her that she cannot keep living as if bad things don't happen, indirectly referring to when Martha, rather than face what her abuser did to her, preferred to deny what happened in front of the judge. Martha tries to object, but Toni dismisses it. This scolding, while harsh, allows Martha to move on and to personally kill the goat, saving the rest of the girls from starvation.

Regan[]

Regan is, as of present time, Toni's ex-girlfriend. Regan was the new girl in school whom Toni first laid eyes on her during a basketball game; the two had briefly locked eyes before Toni looked away. They spend more time together during a Biology class, forming an instant connection.

Their relationship starts when Regan drove Toni to her foster home, kissing her while Toni was in the middle of her apology after her small outburst over one of her foster brothers threw something on the front of Regan's car. After that occurrence, they start to hang out more; going on dates, studying together, cuddling, and eventually telling each other that they were in love with each other.

Their breakup happens after an unfortunate event once Toni and Regan finish watching a movie. Three drunk men approach the girls to catcall and sexually harass them, asking Regan and Toni if they could "join" the two. Toni gets defensive and loses her cool, starting a fight with all three men. In the midst of the fight, Toni accidentally hits Regan. Toni comforts Regan at the scene after the men leave, but later that night, after driving Toni back home, Regan ends up breaking up with her. Regan tells Toni her fiery personality is what she loves most about her, but it's also something she doesn't know how to handle.

When Toni gets out of Regan's car shortly after their conversation, she ends up smashing the back of Regan's car due to her intense emotions over the breakup. Despite all of that, Martha mentions that Regan called her to make sure Toni was okay. This shows that Regan still cares for Toni even if they aren't together anymore.

Shelby Goodkind[]

In the start of the series, Toni shows a jealous dislike towards Shelby due to the fact that Martha had grown to like Shelby. Seeing that Martha was drifting away from her, she often finds herself becoming angry and arguing with Shelby. In Day Six, Shelby reveals her (most likely influenced) homophobia to the group, which causes Toni to dislike her more.

In Day Fifteen, the tensions between the two slowly dissipate after Leah makes Shelby reveal that she uses dentures. Toni makes an effort to cheer Shelby up when she finds her while collecting firewood, cracking up a joke about her fake teeth. They get into a little argument which ends with Toni telling Shelby that she should take advantage of being on the island without any expectations she had back at home. Because of this, Shelby acts on Toni's advice and kisses her, but runs away right after separating from the kiss.

They never get to properly talk about the kiss until the next day. Toni starts to say to Shelby that her religious upbringing and beliefs can't exactly help her with figuring out who she is, but Shelby cuts her off and denies her identity, replying that she knows exactly who she is and she can't wait to get back to her old life.

They go on a food run in Day Twenty-Two, and soon enough they find a tree full of lychees. In the wave of euphoria from finding a food source, Shelby kisses Toni once more. They end up making out and having sex, but not before Toni asks Shelby if she's sure about it. The next morning, Shelby admits to Toni that she enjoyed what happened but didn't yet feel ready to talk about it, which Toni accepts.

Later that day, Shelby begins to think that what happened between them didn't matter to Toni because she wasn't showing any kind of emotion about it. She confronts Toni about this, and Toni says that she trusts Shelby, hence her calm composure. Shelby then expresses her fears about what could happen between them if they begin a relationship, to which Toni points out how they're already in a bad situation, alone on an island where they don't have any certainty of survival, so she doesn't have any intention of fearing for something that could be, instead, a good thing. The two kiss once more and solidify their relationship.

In Season Two, 'Shoni' are in the honeymoon stage of their relationship.

In Day 30, Shelby and Toni have a heart to heart about their relationship, confessing how happy they are with one another. After Toni tells Shelby how beautiful she is, they start making out and have sex. After this, Martha catches the pair kissing in the woods, asking Fatin if she's sensed any lingering feelings amongst the group, to which Fatin responds by calling them 'Shoni.' Martha tells Shelby and Toni that she is completely fine with the relationship, with them then creating a bed for the two to sleep in due to relocating to the woods.

Over the next few episodes, Shelby and Toni show their affection towards each other, with Shelby endearingly calling Toni 'babe' and Toni calling Shelby 'bee'. Even with a little hiccup as Martha struggles with the changing dynamic, Toni and Shelby thrive together, with Shelby being referred to as Toni's 'girlfriend' by Fatin. After a close call with a tree falling near Toni, Shelby is exceptionally frightened by the idea of losing Toni like Rachel has lost Nora. Toni eventually reassures Shelby about the situation, and with a few moves by Shelby the two are kissing and having sex again in the woods.

Toni falls more and more for Shelby throughout the days spent together, even calling Shelby's bossiness 'sexy' to the surprise of Martha. Toni confides to Martha that she trusts Shelby and feels safe with her. Shelby, with the weight of religion pressing down on her shoulders, kisses Toni passionately after gifting her cross necklace to Rachel. Toni reads the situation and understands that Shelby is struggling with the church's 'lies', comforting Shelby in the process.

In episode 6, Shelby tells Toni that she loves her after a playful interaction together. Toni kisses Shelby after the declaration, but does not say it back, causing awkwardness and uncertainty between the pair. Toni asks Martha for her advice about the situation, stating how she struggles to believe that Shelby does in fact love her. Martha says she is the 'most worthy person she knows' when it comes to love, helping Toni sort through her self-worth issues. Toni then finds Shelby, where she tearfully admits that she loves her too.

After Martha's mental health takes a steep decline, Shelby and Toni have a rocky time in their relationship, due to Toni blaming Shelby for Martha's downfall because of Shelby having failed to flag down a ship in the distance, and thus potentially saving the girls from the island, in an earlier episode. Shelby knows that Toni won't be able to forgive her for Martha's episode and for failing to seize the opportunity, crying as she returns Toni's sweatshirt to her that she had been wearing for the majority of the season. This breakup causes Shelby to break down herself, cutting off almost all of her hair as the heartbreak kicks in. Shelby has hopes of a reconciliation though, as she admits to Fatin that she will 'never not love' Toni and wants to fight to get their relationship back. When the subjects have all been rescued from the island and come together in the bunker, Toni see's Shelby with her shaved head for the first time. With a smile, Toni tells Shelby 'I like it,' leaving their story open for a season 3.

Bernice Blackburn[]

Before the events of the series, Toni lived with Martha and her family. In a flashback in Day Twenty-Two, she talks to Bernice about Martha and they seem to have a good relationship. They both fear that Martha's obsessively positive attitude comes from a desperate need to protect herself from the terrible things she suffered, acting as if they didn't happen at all.

Appearances[]

Season One
Episode Appearance Status
Day OneAppears
Day TwoAppears
Day ThreeAppears
Day SixAppears
Day SevenAppears
Day TwelveAppears
Day FifteenAppears
Day SixteenAppears
Day Twenty-TwoAppears
Day Twenty-ThreeAppears

Quotes[]

Shelby: "But don't worry, 'cause if God brought us to it, God'll bring us through it."
Toni: "You know, the whole 'Jesus saves' thing isn't, like, literal. He's not gonna jetpack down and pull us out of here."
-- in Day One
Toni (to Shelby): "You know what? Maybe I will go. Make sure Christ doesn't lead your ass into a fucking sinkhole."
-- in Day One


Toni (to Shelby): "I'm so sick of looking at your fucking ponytail, I feel like it thinks it's better than me."
-- in Day One


Martha: "Someone's coming for us, right?"
Toni: "Yeah, duh! You see how many rich white girls there are on this island? Society will never let them perish."
-- in Day Two


Shelby: "How about we take a step back and get a good clear read of the situation?"
Toni (about the Takis): "The situation is that they're mine and anyone who tries to take them is a colonizer."
-- in Day Six


Toni (to the girls): "Would you rather eat nothing but plain yoghurt, like not vanilla yoghurt, like I'm talking plain... or suck off your dad?"
-- in Day Seven


Toni: "If you wanna know how to eat this soft, beautiful treasure, I can show you, and it does not take garlic butter. All it takes is finesse."
-- in Day Twelve


Toni: "Do you ever play pranks, those fangs of yours? You know, take 'em out, put 'em on your brother's lasagna when he's not looking?"
Shelby: "No."
Toni: "You should think about it. It could be a dope signature move."
-- in Day Fifteen


Shelby (about her hair): "How bad is it?"
Toni: "Not bad. I mean, looks like you get your hair cut at a salon staffed by toddlers, but not bad."
-- in Day Twenty-Two


Toni (to Shelby): "What if our plane crashes, and what if we nosedive into the ocean and, you know, end up stranded, and what if we wind up lost and starving? All of that already happened. The worst has already fucking happened. I don't think I've got it in me to get that scared about something that could be good."
-- in Day Twenty-Three

Notes & Trivia[]

  • Toni leads her basketball team in triple-doubles. She also leads the team in technical fouls. [2]
  • The jacket that Toni wears in the flashbacks was her mom's. It's taken her a few years to grow into it. [3]
  • Toni learned how to swim by sneaking into her neighbors' above-ground pool by night until she kind of just taught herself. [4]
  • Toni is a collector of mementos. She's got a cigar box full of souvenirs that she carries with her whenever she moves to a new home. [5]
  • The Wilds Instagram confirmed Toni is an Aries on 1/8/22 and 1/19/22.

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B08PQ3RZN3/ref=atv_wp_cancel
  2. Field Note #040
  3. Field Note #046
  4. Field Note #61
  5. Field Note #103
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