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Interview with Fleur East on Strictly Come Dancing 2022

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What made you want to take part in the show this year?
Firstly, it’s the best show ever. Secondly, for me it’s a personal reason – my dad passed away in 2020 and this was his favourite show. He even used to get annoyed that he had to miss out on Strictly when I was on The X Factor because they were on at the same time. When I was deciding whether or not to do it I spoke to my sister and she reminded me of dad watching it all the time and then that was that the deciding factor straightaway, so that’s my motivation for doing it.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

Learning technical dancing, because I’m comfortable on a night out with friends, and I’m comfortable when I’ve got a microphone in my hand and I’m singing and I can sort of freestyle and do what I want. But having to follow a strict routine and being picked up on things like my posture, my arms or whether my neck was in the right place is going to be really difficult for me. It’s almost like I need to erase everything else I’ve learned and start again, so that’s going to be tough.

How would you feel about being ‘Strictly-fied’?

That’s the thing I’m most excited about, getting the hair and make-up done and wearing the costumes. The outfits, are just so incredible, so being able to dance in a tasselled sequinned dress! I’m embracing all of that. I’ll be wishing that I can keep every outfit from the show.

Are there any standout or memorable moments from previous series for you?

Firstly, Rose from last year. It took my breath away when they did their routine with the silent moment and I’ll never forget watching it. I watched it over and over again. I wasn’t surprised at all when it won the BAFTA, it was incredible.

I loved watching Alesha Dixon, Rachel Stevens and Abbey Clancy as well. And Bill Bailey! When he did his routine to Rapper’s Delight with Oti, with the newspapers, it was so cool and different. It was everything.

Do you have any previous dance experience?

Apart from dancing in the club, and when I’m singing on stage, no. I’ve had no technical training, I didn’t go to stage school, so I’m just going to be thrown into the deep end when it comes to that. It’s going to be really different for me.

How are you prepping for the show?

I’m doing a lot of cardio so that I have stamina, because I can’t learn the Cha Cha Cha at home! There’s no point in me trying to master a Waltz in my living room, I wouldn’t even know where to start! So the only thing I can do is work on my physical fitness and because I know that it’s going to be hardcore.

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

Yes, Gemma Atkinson told me to put Deep Heat on my soles and to bring good snacks to rehearsals. People have just said to me to just embrace it, because it’s going to be the best experience of your life, and that I am going to make friends for life, so I’m looking forward to that.

Do you know any of your 2022 fellow contestants?

Yes, last year Helen Skelton and I started learning golf together! Tyler West, works in the same building as me on the radio, so we’re going to do an East meets West situation. That’d be fun!

Who do you think your biggest competition is?

Having watched the show for years, you can’t predict who’s going to do well, so I just think I’m going to focus on myself. I’m so hard on myself anyway, I know that I’ll be watching back everything I’ve done picking it apart and trying to compete with my last performance. That may be a cheesy answer, but genuinely I can’t suss anyone, because everyone’s going to be different, everyone’s got their own story, everyone’s got their own reason, and it’s lots of different personalities.

Do you have your eyes on the glitterball?

I don’t really want to come into it focusing on that, for me I just want to try and have the best experience possible and get a taste of every part of it. I want to be able to get to experience the themed weeks, I want to be able to do couples choice, that would be amazing. And of course to get to Blackpool, that’s the pinnacle of the Strictly experience, isn’t it? The glitterball would just be the cherry on the top of the cake really, that would be awesome!

Do you have a signature dance move that you do at parties?

There’s always a hair whip and some form of hip thrusting, that’s what usually happens! But I don’t know if I can incorporate any of that into the ballroom dancing!