The One Lesson I Learned from Life: Strict Dancer Katya Jones Says It’s Worth Spending Time on Yourself
- Katya Jones, who lives in London, has been on Strictly Come Dancing since 2016 2016
- The 32-year-old says her parents inspired her to work hard and invest in herself
- During the lockdown she learned Spanish and Lithuanian, while also reading more
Katya Jones, 32, the Russian professional dancer has been featured on Strictly Come Dancing since 2016. She lives in London and has been single since divorcing her husband Neil Jones, a fellow Strictly pro dancer, in 2019.
We grew up in Saint Petersburg and lived in a common three-bedroom flat with three other families – so my mom, dad, brother and I shared one room. It was small, but we were happy.
My parents taught us to be careful with money, so I’ve always saved: I didn’t like to spend a lot. If I needed more money, I’d pick things like lettuce and cilantro from my mom’s yard and sell them back to her! We are still laughing about this. She says she found it fascinating.
Katya Jones, 32, (pictured) who lives in London, reveals that her parents inspired her to work hard and invest in herself
My parents worked hard to give us a better life and encouraged us to prioritize our education. When they realized I had a talent for dance, they went above and beyond to help me become a professional dancer, despite the cost. Lessons can cost £200 and dresses up to £4,000 so Mum would make them for me.
She was one of those devoted, busy moms. I don’t remember her having any free time. During the day she worked as a real estate agent, then she drove me to the dance, came home to make dinner, picked me up, sewed my dresses, took my brother to clubs and traveled with me to competitions.
My mom and dad have inspired me to work hard and invest in myself – not just with money, but with time. I still only buy what I need – I didn’t even have a TV until 2020!
I also made a promise for a year, ending in July 2020, not to buy any clothes. Now I only buy necessary things and I often opt for second-hand.
During the lockdown I lived alone and finally had time to acquire new skills – learning Spanish and Lithuanian. I also played the piano and read more. And I got in touch with new people through projects like the National Numeracy Challenge, with mathematician Bobby Seagull, which I hope will inspire others to invest in their education as well.
I also taught my mother, 57, to dance via Zoom. I hope my parents are proud of me. They taught me that we are all permanent students in this life: as long as you live, you learn.
Katya is an ambassador for the National Numeracy charity, nationalnumeracy.org.uk