Jamelia calls out Strictly over ‘highly offensive request’ backstage ‘It was like torture’
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Singer Jamelia, 40, took part on Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 with dancer Tristan MacManus. In a recent interview, she claimed the show asked her to chemically straighten her hair which resulted in her having to manage her own appearance on the show each week.
She said: “When I was on Strictly, basically every single day they would tell me that I couldn’t wear my natural hair and they wanted me to relax my hair.
“Every single day for 10 weeks, they’re telling me that ‘you need to relax your hair, your hair doesn’t look elegant’.
“I remember [being like] you don’t even understand the levels of disrespect that you’re saying to me as a black woman.
“To not be able to wear my hair naturally, because it doesn’t appease you and your audience is highly offensive and highly disrespectful.”
“I was doing my own hair and make-up for every show,” she added to Mo Gilligan on his podcast.
The former Loose Women star continued: “This show was being shown to eight million people per week and you can’t get a person to come in and do my hair?
“Luckily for me I knew how to do my hair.
“And I would do things like do my hair and then they’d take a picture of me in the hair and make-up [room].
“So that experience was like torture,” she continued while adding she had a similar experience on Loose Women.
“Anyone who was black was doing their own hair and make-up at that time,” she went on to say.
A BBC spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “At no time did Strictly ask that Jamelia style her own hair.
“At the start of the series, Jamelia requested the use of a hairstylist of her choice and we gave her a contribution towards that cost.
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“From week 3 onwards Jamelia decided that she would have her hair styled by the in-house Strictly team and she seemed delighted with the results for the rest of her time on the show.”
The Superstar hitmaker was voted out of the show after a dance-off with Peter Andre.
Speaking after her exit at the time, she said his standing ovation had been re-filmed during a break.
The singer said on Strictly: It Takes Two: “We did a great last dance.
“But it wasn’t until they re-recorded Pete’s standing ovation, that was the moment we knew we were going home.”
A BBC representative said at the time: “Following Peter’s performance in the dance-off, for which he got a standing ovation, continuity shots were taken during a break in filming.
“These extra opportunities to capture audience reaction are standard practice in recording TV shows of this nature.”
Express.co.uk has contacted a representative for Loose Women for comment.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One later this year.
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