In a video shared on her Instagram Stories new pro Lauren Oakley joked: "@giovannipernice is still following me around," as Giovanni appeared behind her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. The Italian national cheekily then reshared the clip on his own Stories where he added a string of heart emojis. The pair aren't an item, but have a close bond as they have previously worked together on separate tours.
WATCH: Giovanni Pernice and Lauren Oakley dance together ahead of Strictly rehearsals
Lauren is one of the new faces joining Strictly for its 20th series and Giovanni was quick to give her a welcome to remember.
Taking to his Instagram Stories following the announcement, Giovanni shared a sweet throwback picture of himself planting a kiss on Lauren's cheek - and remarked: "Nobody deserves it more than you @laurenmayoakley [heart emoji]… go on super [star]."
Moments later, the 31-year-old uploaded a backstage video of Lauren dressing up in his clothes. "My leading lady and now @bbcstrictly professional… THAT's @laurenmayoakley everyone."
Giovanni and Lauren already have a close bond
Birmingham-born Lauren started dancing at just two years old and went on to win the Juvenile Champion across both Ballroom and Latin. She went on to become Under 21 British National Champion before going on tour.
Speaking about Strictly, she said: "I've grown up watching Strictly, always hoping that one day I could be part of the best show on television, doing what I love the most.
"Now that it's happening, it doesn't quite seem real. I can't wait to start this new sequined adventure and join this incredible family."
Lauren is one of the new faces this year
The professional dancer later added on Instagram: "Dreams do come true. Beyond grateful and so excited to be joining @bbcstrictly as a professional dancer this year! Somebody pinch me."
The other new faces are 11-time Italian Latin American Champion Vito Coppola, Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas and Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu.
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