Ellie Leach said she has surprised herself by how much her confidence has grown since joining Strictly Come Dancing three months ago.
The former Coronation Street star, 22, agreed she is a “completely different person” at the semi-final stage of the BBC competition, compared with when it began in September after being paired with professional Vito Coppola.
“I think that I didn’t realise how much of a personal journey I would go on throughout Strictly, I think that I’m so much more confident in myself now,” she said.
“I think I’m starting to really believe in myself, not just in dancing, but just in life.
“I feel like I’ve actually matured a lot and I think that I’ve got a different outlook on life now which I think is really incredible.
“I think I’ve become more of like a yes person, whereas before I was a bit of a no person because kind of that fear of the unknown being scared and stuff…I think I’ve really thrown myself into this experience and been like ‘You know what Vito, you’re a professional – if you trust me to do this, then why not’.”
Leach said professional partner Coppola helped her on her personal journey by believing in her ability to perform the choreography.
“I think that before I was just a bit scared and a bit like ‘I don’t think I can do that’ and ‘what if I try it and what if it goes wrong?’, then I’ll feel silly, but now I just throw myself into it because if Vito trusts me, he’s a professional and he knows exactly what he’s doing.”
The pair said they were living in the present and were not thinking about lifting the Glitterball Trophy, despite being the bookies favourite to win the show.
Coppola said Leach’s pain tolerance has improved since starting the show.
He said: When you practise for many hours and your body’s not used to it, at the beginning she really couldn’t handle a little muscle pain or one little bruise.
“And now she really can handle it very good. The resilience, the way of standing full of bruises, full of blisters but she’s still there. That’s my warrior, I’m so proud.”
Leach said physically and mentally she has become “so much stronger” over the past 11 weeks.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.