Natalie Lowe had been planning to hang up her dancing shoes for a bit, and focus on her upcoming wedding, after quitting Strictly Come Dancing. But there was one offer that was impossible to resist - the chance to star alongside former Strictly champions Louis Smith and Jay McGuiness in the 1950s-themed show Rip it Up. “I was brought up on that music,” Natalie says. “My mum and dad used to play it when we’d be in the car for 12 hours at a time travelling to dance competitions in Australia."
Natalie, Louis and Jay will take part in a 42-date tour which will see them swinging, jiving and jitterbugging to a host of familiar hits from the 1950s. And while she’s left the show, it still feels part of her. “Leaving was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” admits 36-year-old Natalie in the new issue of HELLO!. “It’s been the best 14 years of my life. Nothing will take away from my time on the show."
Natalie Lowe, Louis Smith and Jay McGuiness will star in a new musical together
Of the new tour four-times Olympic medallist Louis Smith tells us, “Doing a show is terrifying, but really good fun. I like being outside my comfort zone. It’s either fight or flight. “As I get older in gymnastics, I think it’s more important to do things like this. I want to learn more about theatre, dancing and acting. I’m not going to be the next Fred Astaire, but it’s a new avenue.”
And The Wanted's Jay say his career has gone “better than he could have expected” since winning Strictly with Aliona Vilani in 2015. “With the Wanted, we were running around singing our heads off, but we didn’t really dance,” says Jay. Does he miss his Wanted days? “It’s really good to do that when you’re young and get all that mad energy out of your system,” he says. “It was like winning the lottery, I had one of the best times of my life."
READ: HELLO! exclusive: Strictly Come Dancing star Natalie Lowe announces engagement
Natalie reveals she will be taking a trip back home at the end of the year to where her family live in Australia to plan her wedding. “We’re going home at Christmas to plan,” says Natalie, who became engaged to company director James Knibbs in 2015.
“As I live here now, my mum and dad wanted me to get married in Australia, and dad hasn’t been very well. When I was on Strictly, we only had a small window in which to do it,” adds Natalie, revealing that they want to get married at a waterside venue in Sydney. “I’ve not stopped thinking about my dress,” she says. “I’ve worn so many beautiful dresses on Strictly where I think ‘Oh I love this’. But I’m going to look at a few British designers and a couple of Australian ones.”
Rip It Up is on tour across the UK during September and October. See www.ripituptheshow.com or www.ticketmaster.co.uk for tickets.
For the full interview and photoshoot see this week’s HELLO!