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Strictly’s Shirley Ballas ‘was almost not eating’ to feel confident next to ex judge Darcey Bussell

‘I was almost not eating!’ Strictly’s Shirley Ballas reveals the unhealthy extremes she went to in order to be a ‘super thin size 6’ and feel confident next to ex judge Darcey Bussell

  • If you’re struggling with body image issues, contact BEAT on 0808 801 0677

They sat alongside each other on the Strictly judging panel for two years. 

And now, Shirley Ballas, 60, has revealed the unhealthy extremes she went to in order to be a ‘super thin size 6’ and feel confident next to ex judge Darcey Bussell, 51.

The Queen of Latin told Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time that she ‘was almost not eating,’ when she first joined the BBC competition in 2017, and took ‘extra steps’ to ensure her appearance was immaculate.  

Candid: Shirley Ballas, 60, has revealed the unhealthy extremes she went to in order to be a ‘super thin size 6’ and look good next to ex judge Darcey Bussell, 51, in 2017 (pictured)

Darcy joined the Strictly judging panel as a fifth judge in the final stages of the 2009 series, and later returned for the 2012 series as a permanent judge and replacement for Alesha Dixon.

In May 2017, it was announced that Shirley would be joining the judging panel, replacing Len Goodman as head judge, and subsequently made her first appearance on the show four months later. 

She confessed she quickly felt intimidated by ‘beautiful’ Darcey who was ‘so slender, so tall and so graceful’. 

In a bid to feel confident sitting next to the famous ballerina, Shirley confessed she practically starved herself to ensure she didn’t look like a ‘fuddy duddy’ in comparison.

Looking back: Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time that she 'was almost not eating,' and took 'extra steps' to ensure her appearance was immaculate (Pictured last week)

Looking back: Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time that she ‘was almost not eating,’ and took ‘extra steps’ to ensure her appearance was immaculate (Pictured last week)

Intimidated: Shirley confessed she quickly felt intimidated by 'beautiful' Darcey who was 'so slender, so tall and so graceful' (Pictured in August 2018)

Intimidated: Shirley confessed she quickly felt intimidated by ‘beautiful’ Darcey who was ‘so slender, so tall and so graceful’ (Pictured in August 2018)

How awful! In a bid to feel confident sitting next to the famous ballerina, Shirley confessed she practically starved herself to ensure she didn't look like a 'fuddy duddy' in comparison

How awful! In a bid to feel confident sitting next to the famous ballerina, Shirley confessed she practically starved herself to ensure she didn’t look like a ‘fuddy duddy’ in comparison

She said: ‘To get super thin as I did in 2017 on Strictly, and drop down to a size 6, it was hard work… I was almost not eating. I cannot and will not do that to myself again.’ 

Although acknowledging the intimidation was ‘in her own head’ it didn’t stop Shirley from taking other extreme measures to feel confident next to Darcey, such as an obsessive approach to preening.

Shirley explained: ‘I was going on [TV] with this most beautiful woman who I had admired, and she seemed [in my mind] everything I wasn’t.

‘So I took those extra steps to make sure the dress was hanging right and the make up was right and the hair was right.’ 

Extreme: 'To get super thin as I did in 2017 on Strictly, and drop down to a size 6, it was hard work... I was almost not eating. I cannot and will not do that to myself again' (Pictured in 2017)

Extreme: ‘To get super thin as I did in 2017 on Strictly, and drop down to a size 6, it was hard work… I was almost not eating. I cannot and will not do that to myself again’ (Pictured in 2017)

Comparison is the thief of joy: Shirley explained: 'I was going on [TV] with this most beautiful woman who I had admired, and she seemed [in my mind] everything I wasn't'

Comparison is the thief of joy: Shirley explained: ‘I was going on [TV] with this most beautiful woman who I had admired, and she seemed [in my mind] everything I wasn’t’

More comfortable: In April 2019, Darcey announced she was stepping down as a judge, and Shirley confessed that from that point she felt more comfortable in her own skin

More comfortable: In April 2019, Darcey announced she was stepping down as a judge, and Shirley confessed that from that point she felt more comfortable in her own skin

Shirley insisted she wasn’t in ‘competition’ with Darcey but was instead focused on ‘not letting anyone down’.

She said: ‘I didn’t want anyone to think “here’s a woman in her late 50s all fuddy duddy”,’ when compared to ballerina Darcey who ‘had big, long legs.’  

On 10 April 2019, Darcey announced that she was stepping down as a judge, and Shirley confessed that she felt more comfortable in her own skin, from that point.

She admitted: ‘I think after she left I just thought: “Ok, I can just be myself”.’  

If you’re struggling with body image issues, contact BEAT on 0808 801 0677 

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