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Anita Rani reveals surprising way Strictly Come Dancing changed her life

The Britain's Best Parent? presenter reached the Strictly semi-finals in 2015

Sharnaz Shahid

Anita Rani is perhaps best known for presenter BBC's Countryfile and, more recently, Channel 4's Britain's Best Parent? But back in 2015, the TV star managed to dance her way to the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final, a chapter that changed her life "beyond recognition." In 2018, the 42-year-old spoke exclusively to HELLO! about her time on the show and how it impacted her life.

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WATCH: Anita Rani takes HELLO! round her home

The 42-year-old, reminisced on the ballroom competition, including the one thing which has left a lasting impression on Anita. She told HELLO!: "I think I grew a little bit after Strictly actually. I'm sure I grew half an inch, and it must be my posture. But I never did ballet, I think the big giveaway is that I don't have natural poise." She added: "If only my mother had put me into ballet classes! It's kind of learning to sit with your shoulders back, stomach in, all of that... although you do forget it quite quickly! If you've trained from a young age, it's instilled in you."

MORE: Anita Rani talks life in lockdown and support she received after revealing her miscarriage

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Anita took part in Strictly back in 2015

However, it was the taking part in the BBC competition which had the most impact. "My life has changed a lot, beyond recognition," she explained. "I don't think I'd be sitting here talking to HELLO! if I hadn't done Strictly, necessarily, or on Countryfile for that matter. It made me a household name. People really got to know me, and I love that. I go around Britain filming Countryfile and people want to talk about Strictly. They'll always tell me I was robbed!"

When quizzed about the moment she was asked by show bosses to take part, she revealed: "There is nothing that prepares you and nothing in the world like Strictly. I instantly said yes when they asked me to do it because it's amazing and what an opportunity to learn how to dance. But it's the hardest thing." Anita then went to heap praise on the support she received from Strictly fans, saying: "Anybody who watched me will know, how much hard work I put into it. I had to because I'd never danced before. Week in, week out, I trained so hard and - to use the 'J' word - my journey was amazing, but only because the British public got behind me. The British public like a grafter, they like to see someone putting their all in to something and flourishing. I think they could see something that I couldn't even see."

MORE: Countryfile star Anita Rani and husband: see inside their sweet relationship here

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Anita and her partner Gleb reached the semi-finals

Anita took part in the series alongside some other famous names including Georgia May Foote, Ainsley Harriott and Jay McGuiness, who went on to be crowned champion, and many others. Speaking about the antics behind the screen, Anita confessed that everyone was full of excitement. "Being with professional dancers, they are so full of energy," she explained. "They are amazing. Janette Manrara is phenomenal, Karen Clifton is hilarious. They are brilliant fun. In terms of the celebrities, I did it with my year, and I danced with Helen George who is just so lovely, we became really, really good buddies."

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