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Strictly Come Dancing 2022 | Meet Ellie Simmonds

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What made you want to take part in this years’ show?

Well, it’s Strictly isn’t it? It’s the show of all shows, I’ve watched it for years and years with my family, so I’ve always wanted to do it. So when they asked me this year I had to say yes! After retiring last year I’ve got more time on my hands, so I can enjoy it. You learn a new skill with the dancing plus the whole shebang with costumes, makeup, hair, the fake tan and the sequins!

What do you think your biggest challenge will be?

The biggest challenge is probably the dancing! I did ballet when I was a kid but that’s it, other than dancing with my friends on the dance floor and shimmying in hotel rooms with my teammates! Also with my disability, dwarfism, it will be a new challenge for me as I am learning something new and unknown, I’m used to being in water and now I’m on dry land!

It’s exciting and nerve racking as well, you see the incredible pro dancers, and they just make it look so easy but who knows if I can actually dance and make those moves?

How do you feel about being Strictly-fied?

Oh, I am so excited! I’m used to so many years of being in the water, not caring really what I looked like, with wet hair, chlorine smelling skin, a tracksuit and no makeup! Whereas now to actually enter this world, it’s a whole new level with the hair, the makeup, everything! Bring it on!

Do you have any memorable or standout moments from previous series?

I loved Danny Mac, I really wanted him to win, he was phenomenal. Last year with Rose and Giovanni, that moment of silence was just so significant and powerful, just wow, a real standout moment.

Do you have any previous dance experience?

Only as a kid when I did ballet and dancing at school but I stopped about when I was five or six!

How are you prepping for the show?

Trying to relax as much as I can and just have some me time before it’s go go go. I’ve been doing exercise, going to the gym, swimming and just trying to relax and enjoy the calm before the storm.

Have you had any advice from anyone who’s done the show before?

I’ve spoken to JJ Chalmers and Ugo Monye, they were both so nice. Everyone has said to just enjoy every second and soak everything in because it’ll fly by!

Did you know any of your fellow 2022 contestants?

I’ve met Jayde Adams before, and she’s really funny. I bought tickets to go and see her later this year but we got an email saying she’s had to reschedule it, and then I saw the news that she had been announced to do the show too, so that’s why! Richie Anderson is so lovely and we’ve been messaging each other already and chatting away. I am really looking forward to getting to know them all as well as the pros!

Who do you think your biggest competition will be?

You never know who can dance so I’d probably say all of them!

Do you have your eye on the Glitterball?

Yes I’m competitive, but I just want to enjoy it all and soak it all in. My aim is just to get through the first week, I just don’t want to be the first one to go home! 

Do you have a signature dance me if you do at parties?

My other half always says I do a shoulder roll, so that must be it!

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