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Strictly's Giovanni Pernice pays tribute to his 'leading lady' after amazing news

Strictly bosses have expanded their team

giovanni pernice
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
12 July 2022
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Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice was quick to congratulate his "leading lady" after show bosses confirmed that four new professional dancers will be joining the team this year.

Exclusive: Giovanni Pernice on fitness, BAFTA win, and learning BSL thanks to Rose Ayling-Ellis

Among the newbies is Lauren Oakley, who has previously worked with the reigning champion and Strictly judge Anton Du Beke.

WATCH: Giovanni Pernice pays tribute to his 'leading lady'

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]."

SEE: Giovanni Pernice and Rose-Ayling Ellis send fans wild in beautifully captured photo after BAFTAs win

READ: Giovanni Pernice's deep connection and protectiveness over Rose Ayling-Ellis explained

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."

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.

giovanni pernice lauren oakley© Photo: Instagram

The professional dancer shared this sweet photo

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."

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."

lauren strictly© Photo: BBC

Lauren started dancing at just two years old

Joining Lauren on the dancefloor are 11-time Italian Latin American Champion Vito Coppola, Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas and Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu.

The four new stars will be joining the likes of Giovanni, Graziano Di Prima and Amy Dowden to compete for that coveted Glitterball trophy, and it certainly sounds like they have the qualifications for the job!

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