Shirley Ballas almost ‘stopped eating’ as she compared herself to Darcey Bussell

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Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas bravely spoke of her past insecurities.

The star shared how, upon joining the show’s roster of judges in 2017, she quickly began to compare her own appearance to that of Darcey Bussell.

The 60-year-old dancer had not, at the time, worked on television and was relatively unknown, not wanting viewers to get to know her to think she was a “fuddy dude”.

“It was in my head,” she said, “I continued with this most beautiful woman that I have ever admired, Darcey Bussell, and she was so slim and tall and so graceful.

“She just seemed, in my mind, to be everything that I wasn’t.

Shirley said she lost a lot of weight after comparing herself to Darcey
(Image: Getty)

“So I just took those extra steps to make sure the dress hung up, the makeup was right, and the hair was fine.

Shirley added, “Not competing with her, but competing with myself to not want to let anyone down. I didn’t want anyone thinking “oh, here’s a woman in her 50’s” or some crazy guy, I didn’t want that feeling. ”

Although Darcey, who left the show in 2018, was “lovely and really encouraging,” Shirley fell to a size six as she almost stopped eating.

Shirley continued, “I’ve always had a very curvy shape.

Darcey left the show in 2018
(Image: PA)
Shirley is back on our screens for Strictly 2020
(Image: BBC / Ray Burmiston)

“Being ultra thin like I did in 2017 on Strictly and upgrading to a size 6 was tough work.

“It was almost not eating. I can’t and I don’t want to do this to myself anymore. ”

She also opened up about the bullying she suffered from “top men” when she launched her career.

It first happened, Shirley recalls, when I was a young child and it “intensified from the age of 50. ”

HRVY is one of the pioneers to win the show
(Image: BBC / Guy Levy)
Fans were shocked to see Clara leave
(Image: PA)

Strictly is shaping up to be fierce and close competition this year, with several possible champions emerging in the past six weeks.

YouTube star and singer HRVY is one of the pioneers, as is Maisie Smith of EastEnders.

Fans thought Clara Amfo might be okay with lifting the Glitterball Trophy, before Saturday’s show saw her kicked out after a dance with Jamie Laing.

* Strictly Come Dancing returns on BBC One tomorrow night at 7:25 p.m.

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