Entertainment

Oti Mabuse reveals racist ‘backlash' performing on Strictly Come Dancing

The professional dancer replaced John Barrowman on the Dancing On Ice judging panel.

Dancing On Ice judge Oti Mabuse has revealed she received racist abuse as a professional on Strictly Come Dancing.

The South African-born dancer, 31, won the BBC competition twice, triumphing alongside soap star Kelvin Fletcher in 2019, then winning a year later with comedian Bill Bailey.

Last season she was paired with rugby player Ugo Monye. She later replaced actor John Barrowman on ITV’s Dancing On Ice judging panel.

Radio Times
Radio Times front cover (Radio Times)

Talking about her time on Strictly, Mabuse told the Radio Times: “I’ve faced some backlash while performing on the show.

“I’ve never really spoken about it because I’ve tried for so long to think about it this way: I work on a show that 10 million people love; if 10 or 100 people aren’t nice to me, that is not representative of everyone else’s view.

“It’s taken years for me to get that into my head.

“To get tweeted or receive a message in my inbox being racially abusive, or fat-shaming me, is horrible.

“But it’s written by a person who can’t even face themselves in the mirror.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2020
Oti Mabuse won Strictly Come Dancing 2020 with comedian Bill Bailey (Guy Levy/BBC)

Mabuse added that the hate she receives motivates her to “carry on” doing her job to show young girls that “anything is possible.”

She added: “I have to fight, and be strong.”

The TV star also hosts a Radio 4 podcast about her dancing inspirations, speaking to some of the most renowned names in the field alongside some of her personal heroes.

The professional dancer said that her sister, Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse, is her inspiration after she became the first black girl to travel overseas and become a German dance champion.

Oti Mabuse’s Dancing Legends is on Wednesday on Radio 4 and the whole series is on the BBC.

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