From Whitehall to Waltz: Zara McDermott joins Strictly Come Dancing 2023


Who is Zara McDermott?

Zara McDermott is a former civil servant who worked as a policy advisor for the Department for Education, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She left the civil service in 2018 to take part in the popular reality TV show Love Island, where she had a brief romance with Adam Collard. Since then, she has become a documentarian for BBC Three, covering topics such as revenge porn and eating disorders. She is also in a relationship with Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson.

Why is she joining Strictly Come Dancing?

Zara McDermott has been announced as one of the contestants for the 2023 series of Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC’s hit ballroom show. She said in a statement: “I am so excited to be joining the world of Strictly! I grew up watching it every year with my nan and she was the biggest Strictly fan. We would dance around the house and I have such fond memories of that time in my life. I even remember the first ever series, and being mesmerised by all the beautiful dresses! I can’t wait to throw myself into this experience and start training. It’s going to be incredible.”

Zara is not the first Love Island star to join Strictly, as Curtis Pritchard, who appeared on the 2019 series of the dating show, was a professional dancer on the Irish version of Strictly, Dancing with the Stars. However, Zara is the first former Love Island contestant to compete on the UK version of Strictly, breaking the supposed ban on reality TV stars taking part in the show.

What are her chances of winning?

Zara McDermott may have an advantage over some of her fellow celebrities, as she has some dancing experience from her West End debut in Hairspray earlier this year. She played the role of Amber Von Tussle, the spoiled daughter of a TV producer who competes against Tracy Turnblad for the crown of Miss Teenage Hairspray. Zara received positive reviews for her performance, with one critic saying she “sparkled” on stage.

From Whitehall to Waltz

However, Zara will face some stiff competition from other rumoured contestants, such as Wham! legend Andrew Ridgeley, Coronation Street actress Ellie Leach, and West End star Layton Williams. The full line-up of celebrities and professional dancers will be revealed later this month, ahead of the launch show in September.

How will she balance her work and personal life?

Zara McDermott is a busy woman, as she juggles her TV career with her activism and her relationship. She has been working with the Home Office on campaigns to end violence against women and girls, including fronting a campaign that helped change the law for victims of digital abuse. She has also been filming a new documentary for BBC Three about the inner workings of Ibiza, which is set to be released in 2024.

Zara has also been spending quality time with her boyfriend Sam Thompson, who she met on another reality TV show, Celebs Go Dating. The couple have been dating since 2019, and have moved in together in London. They often share their love on social media, posting cute pictures and videos of their adventures. Sam has also expressed his support for Zara’s Strictly journey, saying he is “so proud” of her.

Zara will have to balance her work and personal life with her Strictly commitments, which will involve hours of rehearsals and live shows every week. She will also have to deal with the infamous “Strictly curse”, which refers to the tendency of some celebrities and dancers to fall in love or have affairs with each other during or after the show. Zara has said she is not worried about the curse, as she trusts Sam and knows he will be cheering her on.


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