stacey dooley

Strictly's Stacey Dooley reveals past struggle with confidence

The documentary-maker is one of Britain's most talented broadcasters

Sharnaz Shahid

Her career may be going from strength to strength, but Stacey Dooley has revealed she doubted herself when she first started her job in journalism. In a candid new video for NatWest bank, the 32-year-old – who was crowed last year's Strictly Come Dancing winner – admitted her struggle with "imposter syndrome" due to her lack of confidence. "I work in current affairs and I make lots of documentaries often about very highbrow issues I suppose," she shared. "I left school at 15, no GCSEs, no qualifications. When I started my career, I remember walking into this very foreign, daunting environment and thinking, 'I don't sound the same, I don't look the same, I didn't study in any of these guys' places.'"


Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton won Strictly last year

"But you either let that cripple you and there's that temptation to conform and behave the same, mimic their behaviour, or you think, 'Actually, I've got to really take ownership of it here, work really hard and prove myself,'" she added. "It is not always easy always silencing that voice of doubt in your own mind... I've certainly struggled with imposter syndrome, yeah, there's no doubt about it." Despite leaving school aged 15 with no GCSEs or qualifications, Stacey has become one of the most sought-after presenters, landing primetime slots and travelling the world to make powerful documentaries."

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"I suppose at the start, current affairs is very typically middle aged, middle class, male heavy, it's very serious, quite highbrow, and I walked in as a 20-year-old girl from Luton," she continued. "I sounded different, looked different, and didn't study where they went to school. You do question whether or not you belong and I think there is that temptation to mimic their behaviour and conform. But I think that's the worst things you can do, I think you've got to celebrate how unique you are and take hold of those differences, make it work for you." Stacey was taking part in the NatWest #OwnYourImposter panel, which aims to help budding female entrepreneurs. NatWest is committed to helping female entrepreneurs overcome their Imposter Syndrome and has launched a CrowdFunding Platform, entitled Back Her Business, to encourage women to start their own business.

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