Strictly’s Jayde Adams On Her Inspirational Body Positivity Dance: ‘The Response Has Been Completely And Utterly Overwhelming.’

Jayde Adams speaks to Grazia about her journey on Strictly Come Dancing so far and the dance that continues to inspire the nation.

jayde adams

by Aaliyah Harry |
Published on

'Who knew that a dance to Irene Cara's What a Feeling would make people cry?' Comedian Jayde Adams chuckles over the phone. Dressed in black leotards and leg warmers, Adams and her partner Karen Hauer dazzled on the Strictlydance floor, performing a Cha Cha Cha to What a Feeling from the eighties classic - Flashdance. Their inspirational dance sent a powerful message about body positivity and ignited a wave of praise from viewers on social media. 'I didn't realise quite how much of a stir it was going to create. I knew people would love it but the impact it's had and the messages I've received from people who have felt moved is amazing. It was absolutely one of the highlights of my entire life doing that dance.' Her humble nature makes her that much more endearing.

'This week for me is all about showing that dancers come in all different shapes and sizes,’ Jayde said prior to her routine. ‘You don't have to look a certain way in order to make people feel happy. Two women with very different physiques, dancing together and nailing it.’ And they did just that.

Life is too short to spend any of it worrying about what people think about you.

Flashdance star Jennifer Beals even co-signed her performance commenting 'Bellissima' under the clip of her routine on Twitter. 'That was truly an iconic moment in my life,' she squeals. 'I have also been inundated with messages from people who are struggling with their body image and said that after seeing the dance they wanted to start being a bit more brave with themselves,' Jayde says. 'As someone who has this absolute innate desire to make people happy, I can't tell you how amazing that makes me feel.' She adds, 'I'm really chuffed that I would ever have that effect on people.'

However, with the nature of social media - a wave of praise and positivity sadly always comes with some negativity. In response to it Jayde put out an iconic Instagram post to shut down the hate. The caption reads, 'I'm getting lots of Dm's worrying about my mental health because stupid people are saying silly things about my weight after my thighs went viral on Saturday night.

'Women always get it in the neck don't they. I'm not ignoring it, I'm not addressing it. The more I show resilience to it, the more other people will be able to and that's useful I think.' She signed off, 'All MY love, from me and my massive thighs.'

Jayde explains why she made the post, 'I put it up because it is absolutely ridiculous that people would say "She's too fat to be on Strictly," when being on Strictly would make me less fat. Where's the logic in that?' She adds, 'You can't argue with stupid people so, I'm just going to carry on being positive.'

The comedian continues, 'The interesting thing about a troll is they are also people. I always see people and I see their trauma - being someone that's been through quite a lot of it in my life. When people react negatively to me, and they've never met me before, I know it's nothing to do with me.'

Women in the spotlight are constantly picked apart on the internet - from their bodies, to their very existence - and sadly it's no different for the women on Strictly. According to a report by Amnesty International UK, online abuse of women is widespread in the UK with one in five women having suffered online abuse or harassment. Jayde says, 'Women constantly get criticised for their figure, it dosen't matter what body type you have. Me and Karen talk about exactly the same stuff but Karen's got a completely different body to me. She still experiences the same sort of critique's about her physique.' She adds, 'All the women on the show do as well, every single one of us experience it on the internet, every Saturday night.'

I want women to feel incredible - it's my life's ambition.

But how does Jayde weather the storm? 'I stay resilient' she replies. 'Once you do this you start changing the way people react to it. The less you react to something, the less people do it.' Theres an age old saying my mum used to say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me" and I still apply that today.'

Watching from the outside, many would assume that Jayde and her professional dance partner Karen are good friends. According to Jayde, the assumptions are correct. She admits over the phone,' I am currently sat in a car with Karen and we are on our way to get our hair done together. We are balayage babes!'

And that special bond extends throughout the whole Strictly cast. Jayde reveals, 'The other day me, Helen Skelton, Fleur East,Karen and a couple of people from production all had a Chinese feast, gin and tonics and got our nails done together.' So, could we have a Strictly After After show then? 'I know you lot would love that but no we need some private time,' she laughs. 'We genuinely all do have a really close relationship. We've got this big Whatsapp groupand we all talk in it.'

All the women on Strictly get critiqued about their bodies on the internet.

Although Jayde never expected such an outpouring of praise for her dance - the sentiment behind it has stuck with millions of viewers across the UK. So, what advice would she give to those struggling with their confidence? Jayde says, 'Theres a saying, "Magic happens outside of your comfort zone," and I've had so many examples of that. There have been moments where I've been absolutely terrified but there's this elation I feel after I've succeeded and it's so worth going through that stress.' She continues, 'I think confidence really is a personal journey for lots of people. I hope that what Karen and I do on this show will help people because I just want women to feel incredible- It's my life's ambition.

Last week on Strictly, Jayde emotionally opened up about her sisters death. Jenna was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour after having a seizure, and sadly passed away in 2011 after fighting her illness for six years. Jayde reflects on a touching moment with her that continues to inspire her performances today. 'When my sister was sick, before she died she grabbed my hand and said, "Can you start making everyone laugh? Because they're all looking at me like I'm about to die and it's really stressing me out." That's what I did. And I'm still doing it to this day.'

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