Victoria Pendleton's Strictly Diary: I'm not in control, I feel vulnerable

"It's so hard performing week in and week out not knowing what people's opinion of you really is"

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Victoria Pendleton's Strictly Diary: I'm not in control, I feel vulnerable
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Victoria Pendleton

If the results on a Sunday night really are announced in no particular order, why have they never announced my name first? Under that spotlight those few minutes feel like a lifetime. It’s so hard performing week in and week out not knowing what people’s opinion of you really is.

When I was cycling I would go out and do the best I could – I succeeded or failed on that. Now I have no control over my fate once the dance is over. It all rests in the hands of the judges and the public. All I can do is my best and hope that people vote for me. To be honest, it makes me feel vulnerable.

As a dancer you just don’t know how many people are voting for you – whether you have the public’s support and are coasting through each week or if you are scraping through with only a few votes more than the people in the dance-off.

What I’m really struggling to get used to is living from week to week – I can’t plan anything beyond Saturday night. I’ve got so used to having things planned out years in advance – after all, I’ve only just come to the end of a four-year plan that dominated my life – that I’m not good with uncertainty. Not knowing what I’m doing next week is very unnerving.

But I’m not going to lie, I will be really sad to say goodbye to the amazing world of Strictly. From pretty much the minute I left school at 18 I have been in a male-dominated sports environment, which has made this sparkly, glamorous bubble a real revelation. As a little girl I had a huge dressing-up box that I used to love delving into, so Strictly’s hair, make-up and wardrobe department was made for me. I’ve said it before, but I love getting my hair and make-up done – I love it! I just sit there smiling from ear to ear, scanning the table of products like it’s a treasure trove. At no point have I ever thought, “Ooh, that might be a bit too much…” I’m always telling them to go for it and they all get so excited!

And the costumes! I love dressing up and trying on clothes. Before the show started we had an amazing day where we went into the costume designers’ studio and looked through racks of dresses from previous contestants.

We were meant to pick out our favourites to try on, to see what suited us and what we felt comfortable with. I ended up trying on everything. I was there for hours, immersed in sequins.

Every girl should have the chance to be on Strictly for the day – have their hair and makeup done, try on the amazing dresses, learn to dance with a gorgeous man like Brendan! Someone should organise a Strictly experience for all of the girls out there so that everyone can feel like a princess for the day. Maybe that’s what I’ll do when I leave the show!

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