TV & Movies

Strictlys Zara McDermott rehearsing 10 hours a day as dancing doesnt come naturally

Zara McDermott has spent 10 hours a day in the rehearsal studio ahead of her Strictly Come Dancing debut.

The 26-year-old presenter and documentary maker will be taking to the dance floor for the first time tonight on the BBC.

Despite being in the capable hands of her partner, Graziano Di Prima, Zara's mum has said that she will be "nervous" to be dancing the cha cha to Crush by Jennifer Paige.

Zara's mum, Karen, told OK! that dancing hasn't came "naturally" for her daughter as she has "no dance experience whatsoever."

In an exclusive chat, Karen said of her joining Strictly: "I was obviously absolutely thrilled for her first of all, but having watched the show a fair bit through the years, and knowing the standard of the dancing, I was slightly worried because she has absolutely no dance experience whatsoever.

"So I was thrilled but at the same time thinking oh my goodness how is she going to step up."

The former Love Island contestant has been in rehearsals for about 10 hours a day in the lead up to the show, according to her mum.

She added: "She’s been in the rehearsal studio then just coming home, having some dinner, going to bed and then getting up and off again the following day.

"So I think she has just thrown everything into being in the rehearsal studio, and because she hasn’t had any dance experience, she is really having to work on it, probably for some people it's more natural than others, but for her it isn’t really.

"It doesn’t feel natural so she’s having to put the extra work in, so she really isn’t doing anything else apart from rehearsing."

The process hasn't been easy so far, with Zara often sending her family and boyfriend, TV personality Sam Thompson, updates daily.

Her mum said she previously sent pictures of her feet, covered in blisters, after a day of rehearsals.

Karen added: "It’s nice to hear her feedback everyday. The first week I think was really tough, a bit of a baptism of fire, but this last week I think she’s feeling a little bit more comfortable.

"Again, still doesn't come naturally but it’s starting to sink in now what she needs to do."

Even though Zara used to love watching Strictly with her grandparents as a child, it never inspired her to dance from a young age. Instead her mum said she would spend a lot of her time doing school work.

She has been described as an "introvert" as a child, her mum added: "She was never one to really want to be the centre of attention, at school she just wanted to knuckle down and get on with her work.

"She wasn’t one that really wanted to stand out from the crowd, never part of who can shout the loudest kind of thing. She’d be part of a group but one of the quieter ones in the group."

Other celebrities in the mix for the Glitterball Trophy this year include actress Amanda Abbington, broadcaster Angela Rippon, former Family Fortunes host Les Dennis and EastEnders star Bobby Brazier.

Strictly Come Dancing will go live on Saturday from 6.15pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Strictly It Takes Two will return to BBC Two from 6.30pm on September 25, with presenters and singers Janette Manrara and Fleur East.

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