Strictly finalist Gemma Atkinson hits back at critics who said she was ‘too muscular’ to dance


by Wendy Douglas |
Published on

Gemma Atkinson has made it to the Strictly Come Dancing 2017 final and we can't wait to see her on the dance floor tonight.

But the actress has revealed that there were some people who told her she is 'too muscular' and has the wrong physique to be a dancer. Not only has she proved them wrong but Gemma says she's proud to break the stereotypes of what a dancer 'should' look like.

Gemma has made it to the final despite the negative comments about her muscular physique ©Instagram/GemmaAtkinson

Gemma explained: "What I’ve loved is that since I’ve started this show, obviously I was training and going to the gym, and I’m not your typical petite kind of dancer’s physique.

"Everyone said to me: “There’s no way you’ll be able to do it, you’re too muscular” or because you’re too much of a tomboy or you’re too much of this, and obviously getting here is a massive achievement."

She continued: ‘But what I’ve loved is women who perhaps do weight training or boxing and perhaps don’t like wearing dresses at the weekend, and who don’t like the spray tans, what they’ve said is “Do you know what, I want to try and do some dancing because you can do it”. ‘That’s what I like, the fact that it’s not like I’m paving the way for anyone, but you shouldn’t be fitted into a stereotype because of your build or because of what you’re naturally good at or what you gravitate to as your hobby.’

And it seems Gemma still can't quite believe how well she's done in the ballroom competition.

Gemma is well known for her love of working out and her strong physique ©Instagram/GemmaAtkinson

The radio presenter said: "I mean I never thought in a million years I’d have a frock on dancing the Viennese Waltz with Aljaž. I feel more comfortable in a boxing ring!

Take a look at the celebrities taking part in the new series of Dancing On Ice


Dancing On Ice 2018 line-up (Closer) - slider

Brooke Vincent1 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Brooke Vincent

Coronation Street star Brooke Vincent was the first Dancing on Ice contestant to be announced! She revealed she's taking part because she "loves a challenge and ice-skating is an amazing skill".Brooke said: "I think I can dance [but] I'm a bit like a bull in the china shop."If I get injured at least I'll look sparkly on the way to the hospital."The exciting news was confirmed on This Morning by presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. Brooke – who plays Sophie Webster – on the ITV soap admitted she found it difficult to keep her new role a secret. She explained: "It's killed me. It's actually killed me to keep it a secret."The 25-year-old star revealed she's been preparing for her new role by going to the gym, "I've been trying to lose a few pounds to get in them leotards."Eek!Brooke has admitted that her co-stars (Samia Ghadie who plays Maria Connor and Andrew Whyment who plays Kirk Sutherland) gave her some advice as they had both previously appeared on Dancing on Ice.

Cheryl Baker2 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Cheryl Baker

TV presenter Cheryl Baker was the second celebrity to confirm her place on the next series of Dancing On Ice!The former singer, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981 as part of group Bucks Fizz, confirmed her place on the show in an appearance on Lorraine.She said: "I started training yesterday. It was such huge fun. I've never skated apart from when I was about 12. I am feeling nervous."

Kem Cetinay3 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Kem Cetinay

Kem, 21, appeared on reality show Love Island earlier this year, and has already become a massive star thanks to his friendship with co-star Chris Hughes, who was embroiled in a heated argument with Katie Price.The young celeb was over the moon to be signed to the show, and said: "I still can't believe I'm going to be on Dancing on Ice! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd be strapping on a pair of skates and dancing in some lycra."Anyone who knows me will know how competitive I am, so I'm going to work very hard to stay on my feet! I can't wait to get my skates on."But Kem had already had an injury on the ice before the show has even started airing!Kem, 21, who won last year's Love Island, reportedly smashed his head on the ice after falling during rehearsals - requiring medical attention.Thankfully, the reality star didn't require any further checking out, and didn't need to be rushed to hospital.Kem told The Sun that it's not the first time he's taken a tumble on the ice: "I have had quite a few falls in training."I fell on the ice and cracked my head which was pretty scary but luckily I was checked and all OK."Ouch...!

Candice Brown4 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Candice Brown

Candice, who won The Great British Bake Off 2016, appeared as a contestant on the ice skating talent show.She said: "It's nerve-wracking. I start my training today. I take my first steps on the ice later on. My friends call me Bambi on Ice and that's just normal day to day!"

Max Evans5 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Max Evans

Max, along with Candice, was confirmed to appear on the show on Chris Evans' BBC Radio Two show.Max said: "I haven't done any skating since I was a kid, and this is completely different having to skate on live television. I've had two training sessions which have hurt my feet a lot. We've all had a dance, which is familiar territory, but skating is so not..."

Jake Quickenden6 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Jake Quickenden

Jake, who appeared on the singing show in both 2012 and 2014, was confirmed on Lorraine.He said: "I'm terrified. I had my first training session yesterday - I was freezing! Ice is cold! But it was amazing, the coaches are unbelievable. I just feel so lucky that I've been asked to do it."I'm so buzzing, I can't even explain. It's my mum's favourite! I've been wearing Danielle's tights to get used to the lycra!"

Monty Panesar7 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Monty Panesar

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Monty announced his signing to the show as the seventh celeb.He said: "This is a great opportunity to keep myself fit and motivated and try a different sport. I'm looking forward to it, it's going to be very exciting."Unfortunately, Monty had to leave the show after he broke his ankle. A show insider told The Sun: "Monty suffered a nasty fall during training and has badly injured his ankle. It's a quite serious fracture and he's out of the competition."He's been told there's no way he can be part of the new series, which he's absolutely devastated about."

Lemar Obika8 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Lemar Obika

Due to Monty's injury, Lemar has stepped in as a back-up to take part in Dancing On Ice 2018. He's been rehearsing in secret just in case anyone seriously injured themselves, and now he's stepped up to the plate. According to The Sun, he was "gutted" to hear that Monty had been injured, but was "thrilled" to be able to have a go on the show.An ITV spokesperson said: "Owing to an injury sustained in training, Monty has had to withdraw from the competition."

Alex Beresford9 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Alex Beresford

Alex confirmed his appearance after he presented a weather segment on Good Morning Britain.He said: "I literally started training on Tuesday so I'm at the beginning of my journey. I'm actually finding out who my partner is after this show so I'm really excited."I've wanted to do this show for ages. It's been the biggest secret I've ever kept."He added: "My son Cruz is seven and I told him I was doing it when I found out and I said, 'Look you've got to keep this as a big secret, you can't tell anyone' and he's not told a single person, I'm so proud of him – but now he can go and shout about it in school."

Donna Air10 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Donna Air

Donna, 38, who once dated James Middleton - brother of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge - previously appeared on Splash!, a show fronted by Tom Daly which saw celebs learn how to dive.Unlike the other contestants, Donna revealed that she was actually quite scared about appearing on the show.She said: "It is absolutely terrifying. It's exciting though, it's looking like it's going to be a great series. It's really difficult."Apparently, my posture's terrible so I've got to work on that. I need to build more core strength. My daughter's like, 'Oh no, mum you're going to be so embarrassing!'"

Perri Shakes-Drayton11 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Perri Shakes-Drayton

Perri, 28, who competed as a sprinter in the 2012 London Olympics, confirmed her appearance in an interview on BBC Radio 1Xtra.She said: "It is an opportunity and I was told in the past I'd never be able to run again and that was not nice to be told."Now the fact my body feels good, I've been given a challenge, an opportunity, I'm going to go give it my best shot."Perri added that she'd already met some of her show rivals: "I came across Kem from Love Island and we saw each other at the ice rink. He saw my skills, I saw his skills... I'm better than him. I'm most excited about the costumes!"

Antony Cotton12 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Antony Cotton

Coronation Street fans definitely enjoyed the tenth series of Dancing on Ice as TWO Weatherfield residents took part!Antony Cotton, aka Sean Tully, will be dancing his way onto the ice rink to join his co-star Brooke Vincent.The 42-year-old star confirmed the exciting news after Monday night's Coronation Street episode. While the credits appeared on the screen, the Corrie actor said: "I'm Antony Cotton from 'Coronation Street' and I've got some really cool news."Dancing On Ice is back and guess what - I'm a contestant."I better get my skates on - I've got practicing to do!"

Stephanie Waring13 of 13
CREDIT: ITV Pictures

Stephanie Waring

Stephanie, 39, confirmed that she was the last celebrity to sign up to the show.The actress, who has starred as Cindy Cunningham in Hollyoaks on and off since 1996, revealed that she would be appearing on the show in an interview with AOL Build.Stephanie met her partner and began training - revealing that it has not exactly been easy...She said: "It's quite a daunting challenge. The first day was pretty tough. I thought I'd be better than I was. I fell over once. It's very technical; it's the way you hold yourself, the positioning of your feet."Balancing is the hardest thing to do. I thought, 'Well I can do yoga, I can obviously skate on ice...' No Steph, you can't!"

"But I’ve done it, we’ve done it, so I’d like to think that women that aren’t little 5ft and tiny, you can do it, be my height and my build and you can enjoy it. ‘So that’s what I’ve liked about it!"

We agree with Gemma and she's been one of our favourites in this year's series.

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