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Katie Piper reveals the real reason she did Strictly, and how she avoided reading criticism

Katie was partnered up with pro dancer Gorka Marquez

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Presenter Katie Piper, who is fronting the new ITV documentary The Death of Aimee Spencerpreviously revealed that she may not be the world's best dancer but she already feels like a winner. In an exclusive interview with HELLO! a week before her elimination from Strictly Come Dancing n October 2018, the presenter revealed: "Post my trauma and having babies, any mum will tell you that you never feel quite the same afterwards. If I'm able to make these changes and have fun along the way then in my eyes I've won." The mum-of-two added: "I took part in Strictly as I knew I still had areas in my life where I don't feel as free and confident and this is one of them. I wanted to use the show as a tool to learn how to let go and feel sexy. I used to feel like this some years ago and would like to get a small bit of it back."

Speaking about her dance partner Gorka Márquez, she continued: "As Gorka and I have become good friends it has made the dancing more natural for me. I'm not even on the scale. I'm so bad I can't even clap to the beat when I'm watching a musical." When asked about the first dance at her wedding in 2015 to husband Richard Sutton, Katie replied: "We had a routine to Michael Jackson. It all went a bit wrong but we had a laugh, then everyone joined in. Dancing definitely doesn't come naturally to me but it's about letting go and enjoying yourself - and that's what I did at my wedding and now on Strictly, but this time in front of millions."

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Katie Piper took part in Strictly in 2018

"I know I'm not the best dancer in the contest but it feels okay to still put myself out there and try my best," added Katie, who revealed she avoided reading negative remarks about her dancing. "I've tried to stop reading comments online because if you believe everything, it makes you feel like rubbish." Katie has come through the darkest of times and undergone 250 operations since an acid attack nearly claimed her life a decade ago. It left her partially blind in one eye and with severe burns, for which she still receives treatment. "The mind is the most powerful tool you can call on in times of need and I've used it many times," she explained. "I've found techniques that work for me – meditation has been a great help over the past two weeks."

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It was recently revealed that the man convicted of the attack against her has been granted parole after just nine years of serving his life sentence for the crime. "Strictly is a great and positive distraction - the time and energy it takes to learn a new dance every week means there's not much time to focus on anything else," she shared. Her commitment to helping survivors of burns and trauma through The Katie Piper Foundation, set up in 2009, is born out of those huge challenges in her own life, which included facing up to the chance that she might not be a mum.

The Strictly star spoke about her experience to HELLO!

"There was a time when I'd resigned myself to never having my own family, so to fall pregnant with Belle was overwhelming," said Katie, who during her recovery from the attack had taken a medication that can affect fertility. "And now with Penelope, I feel completely fulfilled." After long days rehearsing, "to stop and enjoy calm, quality time with my girls is everything to me", the TV star explained. "They have a really special relationship and it's so heart-warming to see. They're very different. Penelope is much quieter and more chilled out than Belle was. Belle is the life and soul of the party and always has been."

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She credits husband Richie, whom she met through friends and who has been in the Strictly audience from week one, for her happy family life. "He always has had my back 110%. He's a wonderful husband and such a great hands-on dad. I'm very lucky to have found him." She added: "We've been through so much together and he’s such an amazing constant in my life." Whatever the future has in store, she will never forget her time on Strictly.