Strictly star Zara McDermott has revealed that her grueling rehearsals are leaving her struggling to spend enough quality time with her boyfriend.
The former Love Island contestant, who is linked to Italian hunk Graziano Di Prima, confessed that their 11-hour sessions mean radio DJ partner Sam Thompson is working when she gets home.
Mrs McDermott, 26, who insists she won’t fall victim to the show’s Strictly curse, even says she has to practice her steps with one of her cats Albus or Carlo because he’s not there.
She said: ‘We worked 11 hours last week, from 8pm to 7pm, and we really haven’t stopped.
‘Sam does his radio show every night, so when I get home from training he’s at work, so I rehearse alone or use one of the cats.
Tough: Zara McDermott, 26, has admitted she’s struggling to spend time with her boyfriend Sam Thompson amid an intense rehearsal schedule
Clashing schedules: The former Love Island contestant confessed their 11-hour sessions mean radio DJ partner Sam is working when she gets home
“But he was great… we talk on the phone all the time, especially because I’m rehearsing a lot.
‘He’s always on the phone if I want to chat and he’s super supportive. He is very positive.’
Ms McDermott has repeatedly dismissed questions about whether she will be hit with the Strictly curse, despite cheating on Mr Thompson with music boss Brahim Fouradi in 2019 while appearing on X Factor: Celebrity.
Meanwhile, she has admitted that it is unlikely she would have been approached for the lead role in Strictly if she had only appeared on Love Island in 2018.
The reality star, the first ever contestant on the ITV2 dating show to be asked to take part in the BBC One dancing extravaganza, says bosses decided to have her only because she went on to make serious documentaries.
Ms McDermott said: ‘I don’t think there was necessarily a ban or anything like that for Love Island contestants or reality contestants.
‘I just think it’s who’s a good fit for the show and I don’t just see myself as a ‘Love Island contestant’, which is something I did when I was 21, but I’m now 26 and for the past four years I’ve I have been I work so hard to make the documentaries that I make so that has a lot to do with why I’m on the show now because of the work I’ve done alongside Love Island and not just because of that.
Communicating: ‘But he was great… we talk on the phone all the time, especially because I’m rehearsing a lot,’ Zara admitted
Leaving the past behind: Zara has repeatedly dismissed the question of whether she will be affected by the Strictly curse
‘I am in no way ashamed of my past. I think everything I’ve done has been a stepping stone to becoming the woman I am today, and it’s given me a great platform, so I do that too’ To be honest, I don’t think there’s necessarily a stigma around it. ‘
Since leaving the villa, Ms McDermott has presented BBC documentaries exploring issues such as rape culture, eating disorders and revenge porn.
One of her shows was Gaia: A Death on Dancing Ledge, in which she delved deeper into the disappearance of teenager Gaia Pope.
Mr Di Prima, 29, praised her for her work, saying: ‘I’ve seen Zara’s documentaries… I’m Italian, apart from Strictly and dancing and eating, apart from those things, I don’t have time for TV to watch. be honest with you.
“But I obviously knew her, and Sam and I started researching her documentaries, and I love that she worked with so many inspiring people.
‘I’m the type of guy where I get emotional every time… I was crying the other day watching a video about someone who was extraordinary, so imagine me watching her documentaries.
“We talked a lot about what it feels like to be in front of people who are having a hard time in life. I’m someone who wants to learn a lot, so I asked questions about how it works. I learned during our lunch breaks.”
The pair danced the quickstep during Saturday night’s show to George Ezra’s song Everyone For You after starting their Strictly series with the cha, cha, cha during last week’s first live broadcast.
Strictly professional: Zara has been linked to Italian hunk Graziano Di Prima, who has praised the star for her documentary work
Friends: Zara and Sam spend time with Graziano and his wife Giada Lini
Zara, who has never danced before except in TikTok videos with boyfriend Sam, says there isn’t a routine that doesn’t “intimidate” her, but she is looking forward to learning the rumba, which is known for its sensual hip action. and seductive stories.
She said: “For someone like me, who has never danced before, every dance will take me out of my comfort zone in some way.
“I’m intimidated by all of them in completely different ways to be real with you. I’m really excited about something like a rumba because I learned a lot of technique in the cha, cha and it’s kind of a slowed down version of that…
‘It will be scary to learn something completely new and techniques every week, but I take my life day by day, hour by hour and try not to look too far ahead and focus on the here and now. ‘