The Strictly Come Dancing judging panel welcomed a new member, Motsi Mabuse, for the 2019 series - and she's certainly made a big impression! Bubbly, warm and a great deal of fun, the 38-year-old South African dancer was perhaps best known for appearing as a judge on German TV show, Let's Dance, as well as being the older sister of Strictly favourite, Oti Mabuse. Read on for everything you need to know about the new Strictly judge…
Motsi Mabuse and her family
The new Strictly judge was previously married to her dance partner, Timo Kulczak, with whom she competed at the British open championships in Blackpool. The couple tied the knot in 2003 and went on to compete at home in Germany. Ten years later, Motsi won the German Latin dance contest with Ukrainian dancer Evgenij Voznyuk. Romance blossomed and the following year Motsi's marriage to Timo ended. Motsi and Evgenij tied the knot in an intimate legal ceremony, before celebrating with a larger wedding in Majorca in 2017. The couple share one child together.
Motsi shares one child with husband Evgenij Voznyuk
Motsi rarely speaks about her family in interviews, but during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show, she revealed the hilarious way her husband helps her deal with trolls. "I get so upset – well angry – then I write everything down, I answer them then I go to my husband and I put on my angry voice and [read my response] then he's like 'Okay darling, do you feel better?' and I'm like, 'Yes.' [He says] 'So delete it' so it never gets out but I've got it out of the system."
She also spoke about her mother's reaction to her and her sisters being so successful. "I have a baby and my sister in Cape Town has two babies, so [my mum] is just flying to Cape Town, Frankfurt, London. I'm like, 'Look at you!' She is having a really great time," laughed Motsi.
Motsi Mabuse and her dancing career
Growing up, Motsi was expected to join the family law firm. But her passion for dance took over while she was studying at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Motsi, who has replaced Darcey Bussell on the panel, is a former South African Champion and German Latin Champion. She has been a judge on Let's Dance in Germany since 2011, after joining the show in 2007 as a professional dancer. She took over as a judge from Isabel Edvardsson in the fourth series.
Motsi has been a judge on Let's Dance since 2011
Motsi paid tribute to the show in her Strictly announcement post, revealing that she wasn't saying goodbye for good. "@letsdance dance has always and will always have a place in my heart," she wrote. "I grew up with @letsdance and learned so much, so don't worry I am not going anywhere soon and November I will be certainly on our first tour!!
"Thank you to the team @rtl.tv & SEAPOINT Kai Sturm, Steffi Frebel, Nina Klinik, Jan Philipp and Nora Kurven. You guys are amazing and I will be forever grateful. Thank you for the support and 11 Wonderful years! Thank you to @oana_nechiti @erichklann @kathrin_menzinger & @vadim.garbuzov great colleagues who jumped in when I called! Thank you guys and can't wait for our secret project 2020 @motsimabuse_taunustanzschule & @millennium_tanzschule!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't do all this without the support of my husband, my family and my dance school team!!!! Exciting times ahead and I can't wait to meet all of @bbcstrictly team."
Oti Mabuse and her sisters Motsi and Phemelo
Motsi Mabuse and Strictly Come Dancing
In her Instagram announcement, Motsi said: "I am absolutely thrilled and overjoyed to be joining the @bbcstrictly judging panel. I have so much respect and admiration for the other three judges and hope to add my own bit of sparkle to the show. I can't wait to get started!"
Motsi will, of course, be judging her younger sister Oti in the 2019 series. After the big news was revealed, Oti took to Instagram to celebrate, sharing a glamorous photo of her sibling alongside the caption: "Welcome to Strictly."
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