The Strictly class of 2017 – and I realise this is cheesy – really is like a family. We’ve all become incredibly close and when we’re not together on a Friday and Saturday, we chat incessantly on our WhatsApp group.


And although a few people have left us after they left the show – which I understand, because there are a lot of messages constantly coming through – I can’t imagine not speaking to everyone else every day.

How would I describe my role in the Strictly family dynamic? I hope that I encourage everyone to smile and be positive. I can sometimes be quite loud and hyper, though, so I hope I’m not the annoying little sister!

The other day Gorka called me “annoyingly happy”. And maybe I can be, but it’s better than being annoyingly sad.

My Strictly family…

Davood Ghadami is like my big brother. He always looks out for me and has my back. We also rehearse in the same space and on Monday, when I needed five minutes and a cup of tea, he came to join me and made sure I was all right.

Susan Calman is so considerate and became the mummy of the group from day one when we all met for the first time in Roehampton in south-west London. We were learning the group dance and had been rehearsing for hours when she just said, “Listen, I’m flagging and this is all a bit intense – can we take a break and eat?” We were all exhausted, but too shy to ask.

DebbieMcGee is amazing on and off the dance floor. I knew from the elegant way she walks and holds herself she would be a great dancer, but I didn’t realise that she would be so warm. She has also experienced loss recently and texts me supportive messages.

Jonnie Peacock is such a good-looking chap, but he doesn’t realise how beautiful he is. He’s smart, hasn’t got a bad word to say about anyone and is always smiling and making other people smile with him.

Joe McFadden likes to have a laugh, especially when we’re rehearsing group dances. He’s always in the corner distracting us all. But he has such a cute smile that you’d never guess he’s the cheeky one causing mischief!

Gemma Atkinson is nervous and focused before we perform, but once the show is over her fun side comes out and she loves joking around with all of us and cracking jokes. She’s a lot of fun to be around.


Mollie King is a sweetheart. She’s not a goody-two-shoes, because she’s got a feisty side to her, but she is very prim and proper.