HELLO! DIGITAL COVER STORY

Exclusive: Dianne Buswell on her love of Strictly, boyfriend Joe Sugg and exciting plans for 2021

The professional dancer is launching her brand new podcast series this month

Ainhoa Barcelona

Life is looking rosy for Strictly Come Dancing fan favourite, Dianne Buswell. The flame-haired dancer has just wrapped another "magical" series of Strictly despite coronavirus restrictions; she's feeling more at home in the UK than ever with boyfriend Joe Sugg; and she has a wealth of exciting projects up her sleeve for 2021, including her brand new podcast series.

Taking part in an exclusive photoshoot for HELLO! magazine in London, Dianne showed us a side to her fans may not have seen before.

MORE: Inside Dianna Buswell's camera roll - exclusive photos with boyfriend Joe Sugg

"I love experimenting with my style, wearing things that are a bit different, experimenting with colour and textures and having fun with it," she told us. "I'm looking forward to 2021, I try to always have an open mind and love the start of a new year." We caught up with the lovable Aussie as she spoke about her hopes and dreams for 2021…

Dianne stars on our January digital cover

2020 wasn't the year anyone expected. What was the highlight for you?

"The highlight was definitely being able to do Strictly. We didn't know if it was going to happen or not, and everything else got cancelled throughout the year so it was a bit up in the air. Being able to work again, dance again and entertain people was the best.

"I think Strictly pulled it off really well. To be honest, it didn't feel that different to any other series other than the fact that you had to stay in your bubble with your partner. The show still felt as magical as ever. We knew it might not have been able to happen, so we appreciated it a lot more."

MORE: Joe Sugg reacts after Dianne Buswell's Strictly 2020 exit

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WATCH: We go behind the scenes with Dianne Buswell

Tell us something about Strictly that fans don't already know…

"I don't think people realise how much the celebrities actually fall in love with the show, that's a big thing. They get so into it. None of the celebrities want to go home each week. Even though it's probably the hardest thing they've ever done, it's also the most rewarding, and they genuinely do not want to leave.

"Their nerves for the results show are so real, as well as for the pros; none of us want to go home. People probably think you leave the show, you get a bit of a break, but none of us think like that. We all want to be there until the very, very end. The more we work, the happier we are."

MORE: The most gorgeous Strictly Come Dancing hair transformations - see photos

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Dianne looks stunning in a pale pink tulle tiered, ruffled gown by Zeynep Kartal

Who would be your dream celebrity contestant?

"I always say Hugh Jackman because he's Australian and I reckon he'd be really good!"

And your dream royal contestant?

"Any royal would be absolutely incredible! I would love to dance with Prince William or Prince Harry. Any of the royals that want to take part, sign them up. I'll be their partner any day."

MORE: Dianne Buswell reveals how many children she'd like

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Dianne wearing a one-shouldered leotard and hosiery by Zara

What's your teaching style like?

"I'm fun. I want my celebrity partners to have the best time they can. They have this one chance to do it and I tell them every single day when it gets hard, you only have this one chance so make the most of it. Work hard but also make it something to remember.

"I don't want them to leave Strictly hating the experience. I want them all to really, genuinely love it and they all really do. But I can be quite firm. I will put the hours in. If it means that we have to start at the crack of dawn and then sleep in the studio, I will do that. But at the same time, I understand the difference that I am a professional dancer and so I'm used to it and they're probably not so used to it.

"You have to really gauge your partner and guide them towards your teaching technique because you never want it to be a chore for them. You always want them to want to be there and make it feel fresh and exciting."

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Dianne models a red top and matching skirt by Laura Green London

What was it like teaching your now boyfriend Joe Sugg?

"Joe was a lot of fun. We clicked straight away with our humour. We loved being there because it was just really fun. We would crack jokes but then there was also the very serious side to it. He was the perfect student and was willing to work hard, but he needed to because he wasn't a natural dancer and to get him to the level that we got him to."

Do you still dance with Joe?

"We still practise a lot, especially when Strictly is on. He always says, 'I wish I could go back and do it now. I reckon I'd get more tens than when I did it.' He loves it, I think he definitely found his love for dance and a newfound confidence after Strictly.

"He found a lot of confidence, which helped him go on and land a West End Show (Waitress), it was amazing to see someone grow so much in that way. He wasn't really a confident person. His confidence really grew on Strictly and he took that with him after the show and it's opened so many doors. That was a big thing he learnt."

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Diana dances around the room in a cami top and tulle skirt by Sassi Holford

Was it difficult being apart from each other during the last series?

"It was and it wasn't. I'm used to being away on tour for months at a time and we're both so career-focused that we both get it. He gets what Strictly is all about. He understands. For him, if I was away until the final, he would have been absolutely fine and really proud of my achievement. I would have as well and I just think that's what we're like, we're both very career-focused. We just get on with it."

Who is the more romantic out of you and Joe?

"I would probably say Joe. It's a close call but I reckon Joe would tip that one, he's very sweet. He loves writing me little notes, if there's a special occasion or I've got a big job. He'll write a good luck note and stick it in my bag, which is sweet. I keep all of those notes."

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Dianne covers up with a gold double-breasted blazer by Reiss

Do you feel happy and settled in the UK?

"I really miss my family in Australia. That's the toughest thing I have to deal with on a daily basis. If my family were here, everything would be absolutely brilliant. But they're so happy that I am here, doing what I love. For now, all my work is here, Joe is here. I feel like the UK has welcomed me so nicely that I do really love it here."

How close are you to Joe's family?

"So close. I feel like I have definitely gained a new family over here. They've been incredible. Joe's parents, his sister, his grandparents. They're all lovely. I've met them all and they've all welcomed me so much."

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Dianne cosies up in a cream knit jumper by French Connection and cream leg warmers by Elle at Sockshop

Your brother was meant to get married this year. Has that made you think about your own possible wedding?

"I don't overplan things. I'm a bit more happy-go-lucky. My brother's wedding was cancelled, which is a shame, but we're hoping that maybe he can come over here and get married in the UK at some point. My whole family would come over. That would be perfect.

"I plan my work a lot, but that's probably as far as I go with planning. I'm quite an unorganised person actually. Joe and I don't really talk about that kind of thing. We're both so relaxed so we just play it by ear. We really enjoy each other's company so much and whatever happens, happens."

MORE: Dianne Buswell shares never-before-seen childhood photo and it's adorable

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Dianne glimmers in a Claire Mischevani metallic gold dress

You're a bridesmaid for your Strictly co-star Amy Dowden next year. What kind of bride do you think she'll be?

"Her wedding was meant to happen in 2020 so hopefully it'll be this year. I can't wait for it. It'll be really fun. Me and Oti and Amy's sister and friends are all bridesmaids. She's so sweet but she can also be so firm as well. She'll have everything under control. I've seen her dress and it's absolutely gorgeous. I can't say any more otherwise I'll be the worst bridesmaid ever!"

MORE: All the details on Amy Dowden's wedding

Who else are you closest to out of the Strictly gang?

"I have worked with Gorka and Nancy for years. They're like my brother and sister. I've grown up with them. I've also known Janette and Aljaz for years as well. I'm close with all of the Strictly pros but some I've known longer than others. Nancy is incredible. She has an amazing personality and is such a great dancer – I can't speak highly enough of her. She's a real asset to Strictly."

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Dianne models another gorgeous Zeynep Kartal gown

Is there anything within Strictly that you'd like to do more of?

"I would like to win it, I would love that! Anything to do with Strictly I would love. If one day I were to be a judge, that would be a dream. I'd love to do what Claudia does. But for now, I'm absolutely loving being a pro. If there's a time when I can't dance any more, then of course I'd love to try other things within the Strictly world. It's the best show to be a part of. Even if I were on the hair team – maybe I could do the hair one day!"

Would you ever dye your iconic red hair?

"I keep saying if I win Strictly, I'll change my hair colour. It hasn't happened yet. I would love to give it a change. If I win, I might change my identity. But for now, the red is staying!"

MORE: Dianne Buswell's new hair makes her look like a princess! Fans react

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Dianne strikes a pose in a ME+EM jumpsuit

Would you sign up to any other shows?

"Every time I'm a Celebrity is on, I think 'I'd love to do that!' Obviously not now, but one day. I love challenges and I get quite competitive. I would love to do something that number one, scares me, and then also challenges me. I would never say no to I'm a Celebrity in the future."

2021 is shaping up to be a very busy year for you. What have you got on your plate?

"I have a podcast coming out in January with BBC Sounds which is really cool. It's a 12-episode podcast series based on the fact that I used to be a hairdresser, which is really fun! Each Thursday I'll have a new guest joining me where we put the worlds to right around their style and key life moments. It's launching from 21 January on BBC sounds, so look out for 'Di's Salon', I can't wait for you to hear it!

"I would absolutely love to create a TV show. Joe's doing a lot of production stuff at the moment so we've been working together on TV ideas and I would love to have my own TV show at one point. It could be a reality TV show, or me being a presenter or a mentor. I have a few ideas up my sleeve.

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Dianne's new podcast series is launching this month

"I'm also planning on creating a lot more workouts for my Buswellness platforms. I want to take it to the next level. It's hard to fit it all in with Strictly, but there'll be more time in the new year to do that."

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Dianne posed exclusively for HELLO!

What have you learnt from 2020 that you'll be taking into the new year?

"Making the most of a situation you can't control. There were so many things that got cancelled and I had a lot of time and I just had to make the most of that time, but it made me more creative and it got me thinking. I managed to come up with my Buswellness platform, which I absolutely love and will continue on in 2021. Making the most of a bad situation is something I've definitely learnt."

What are your New Year's resolutions?

"I've never really done New Year's resolutions. I love Mondays because I always feel like it's a new week. I am excited for the New Year and to get over 2020! But I don't tend to make resolutions. I just take each day as a fresh day and each week as a fresh week. I feel like this is what 2020 taught us. Anything can change so play it by ear."

Dianne's brand new podcast 'Di's Salon' features special guests and launches on BBC Sounds from 21st January. New episodes drop every Thursday. For workouts and recipes by Dianne follow @Buswellness on YouTube and Instagram.

To see Dianne in more stunning photos, pick up a copy of Hello! magazine, out Monday!

Photographer: Liz McAulay

Stylist: Julia May Morgan

Hair: Chad Maxwell

Makeup: Thembi Mkandla

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