Love Island star makes Strictly Come Dancing history

Zara McDermott is swapping the Love Island villa for the dancefloor, as the reality star has been confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing 2023.

She joins the likes of Angela Rippon, Layton Williams, and Amanda Abbington taking part when the dance show returns to BBC later this year.

Confirmation of her filling a slot on the line-up comes after rumours that the influencer and documentary maker was to become the first Love Island contestant to do Strictly.

Unable to contain her excitement to get covered in sequins, Zara said: ‘I am so excited to be joining the world of Strictly!

‘I grew up watching it every year with my nan and she was the biggest Strictly fan. We would dance around the house and I have such fond memories of that time in my life.’

She added: ‘I even remember the first-ever series, and being mesmerised by all the beautiful dresses!

‘I can’t wait to throw myself into this experience and start training. It’s going to be incredible.’

The media personality, 26, rose to fame in 2018 when she appeared on the fourth series of Love Island.

Prior to the show, however, Zara was a government policy advisor, working for the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Department of Education.

With her Love Island platform of millions, she’s pursued one of her biggest passions, which is making documentaries that inspire conversation and educate young people on hard-hitting issues.

She has fronted five successful BBC films so far: Revenge Porn, Uncovering Rape Culture, Disordered Eating, and Gaia: A Death on Dancing Ledge.

Her other broadcasting work includes presenting the entertainment show Love In The Flesh on BBC Three. 

Zara’s work for young people has been recognised on several occasions; she was invited to Clarence House by the Duchess of Cornwall and Refuge charity and worked with the Duchess on a visit to a SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre).

Alongside this, she has worked with the government and the Home Office on several campaigns to end violence against women and girls, most notably fronting a campaign that changed the law for victims of digital abuse.

Zara is also an ambassador for the Shaping Us campaign for the Centre of Early Childhood, which was launched by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.

Her casting announcement comes after Irish presenter Angela Scanlon was confirmed as Strictly star number six.

Also confirmed have been radio DJ and comedian Eddie Kadi, as well as journalist icon KrishnanGuru-Murthy.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One and iPlayer later this year.

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