“It’s really out of my comfort zone and not something I’ve ever done before,” said Piper when asked how prepared she was for the contest.
Revealing that she struggles to clap in time, she added: “Any fear or reservations I have is that I don’t have the natural rhythm. I like that side of it that will be a challenge because I’m quite a competitive person. If I have something in my life that I can’t do then it inspires me to learn it.”
And what Piper lacks in rhythm she makes up for in fitness, revealing she’s been hitting the gym hard. “I’ve been training and been doing lots of running and weight-lifting,” she said, before quickly adding, “not for Strictly, just for life in general.”
She’s also been doing plenty of research on previous Strictly series. “Since I knew I was going to be in [Strictly], I’ve been furiously going back years and years on YouTube trying to get hints,” she said. “Sometimes watching the footage makes you more nervous, though!”
Piper revealed she’d love to pair up with one professional in particular: Giovanni Pernice. “If you’re watching I’m coming for you!” she joked.
However tough Strictly proves, it should pale into insignificance compared with some of the challenges Piper has overcome during her life. In 2008, she was the victim of an acid attack arranged by an ex boyfriend, which severely damaged her face and blinded her in one eye. She told her story in a Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary, Katie: My Beautiful Face.
The one-off Bafta-nominated drama was followed up by the series Katie: My Beautiful Friends in which Piper met other people who had been disfigured or disabled by injuries, illness or surgery and which followed her as she set up charity The Katie Piper Foundation, whose mission statement is “a world where scars do not limit a person’s function, social inclusion or sense of well being”.