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Strictly's Nicola Adams unfazed by backlash against same-sex coupling

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·3-min read
Nicola Adams will dance in Strictly's first ever same-sex pairing. (BBC)
Nicola Adams will dance in Strictly's first ever same-sex pairing. (BBC)

Nicola Adams has said she won’t allow herself to be fazed by the objections to her dancing with another woman on Strictly Come Dancing.

The announcement that the 37-year-old boxer is to take part in the BBC show as part of the first same-sex couple has already sparked over 100 complaints.

But Adams told the Radio Times: “I'm expecting the same sort of thing I got with women's boxing in the beginning – there will always be some resistors, but once they know you're here to stay, they get used to it.

“Women dance together all the time in nightclubs. Traditionally I guess men and women would dance together when they were courting, so the older generation have that in their heads. They see it as a sexual thing rather than a sport.

Watch: Nicola Adams says it’s time for change on the Strictly dancefloor

Read more: Nicola Adams reveals she wanted to kill her violent father when she was 9

“I've been through so much in my life. I've been through my mum and dad separating, domestic violence, back injuries, having to look after my brother when I was 13 when my mum had meningitis.

“So someone's going to comment on Twitter? It's nothing, it won't faze me at all. It's like – try harder. If they don't like it, they're going to have to deal with it or switch to another channel.”

The boxing champion – who retired undefeated in 2019 – has been in a relationship with 22-year-old model Ella Baig for two years.

And Adams said she would not have signed up to Strictly unless she was able to dance with a woman.

Nicola Adams and Ella Baig at the European Premiere of The Lion King, Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Nicola Adams and partner Ella Baig have been dating for two years. (PA)

She said: “I wouldn't have done it otherwise. I wish I could say it's because I wanted to be a role model, but it didn't even cross my mind at the start. I think it's cool to let kids see someone who represents them, but for me it just felt more comfortable.”

The celebrity contestant’s professional dance partners have not been officially announced but Adams has fuelled rumours she is to be partnered with Russian pro dancer Katya Jones as they were photographed leaving filming together.

Nicola Adams, right, of England  trades punches with Michaela Walsh of Northern Ireland during the gold medal women's flyweight boxing bout at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014, in Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. Adams won the gold medal.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Nicola Adams retired from boxing undefeated in 2019. (AP)

While it will be the first competing same-sex partnership on the show, last year saw two professional male dancers perform together in a routine.

The dance between Johannes Radebe and Graziano di Prima was said to have received almost 200 complaints.

Read more: BBC responds to complaints over 'Strictly Come Dancing's first same-sex pairing

The BBC subsequently issued a statement noting Strictly "is an inclusive show" and that it was "proud to have been able to facilitate" the performance between the two men.

About eight million people tuned in to watch the dance show each week.

Italy, Germany and Ireland have already featured same-sex couples in their versions of the dance show.

And earlier this year ITV’s Dancing On Ice partnered Steps singer Ian “H” Watkins with professional skater Matt Evers.

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