After the pomp and ceremony came the hard graft as Zara McDermott prepared for another round of grueling Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals on Tuesday.
The former Love Island contest, 26, made her ballroom debut at Elstree Studios over the weekend, where she was partnered with Italian hunk Graziano Di Prima for the returning BBC show’s twenty-first series.
But the glad-rags were traded for tight-fitting shorts and the heels ditched in favour of comfortable UGG slippers as she arrived at a local dance studio.
The TV personality completed her relaxed look with a black gym vest and appeared to go make-up free ahead of her latest rehearsal session.
With water bottle in hand, Zara was ready for a long day in the studio ahead of Saturday evening’s show, when the competition kicks off and voting begins.
Here we go: After the pomp and ceremony came the hard graft as Zara McDermott prepared for another round of grueling Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals on Tuesday
Casual: The glad-rags were traded for tight-fitting shorts and the heels ditched in favour of comfortable UGG slippers as she arrived at a local dance studio
Let’s do it: With water bottle in hand, Zara was ready for a long day in the studio ahead of Saturday evening’s show, when the competition kicks off and voting begins
Fans were quick to hail Zara and her professional partner Graziano, 29, ‘the hottest paring ever’ as the couple’s were revealed for the first time.
Viewers joked the Love Island star’s boyfriend Sam Thompson ‘must be sweating’ at home as they heaped praise on the ‘absolute fire’ partnership.
Zara and Graziano will dance the Cha Cha Cha for their first performance, and the TV personality admitted her nerves were already getting the better of her.
‘I think I’m probably the most nervous I’ve been in my life. I’m not a natural born performer, I’m not an extrovert, so this is the biggest challenge of my life,’ she said during Saturday evening’s launch show.
Graziano added: ‘It is going to exotic, Latin and is the Cha Cha Cha darling.’
Sharing their thoughts on Twitter one fan wrote: ‘Zara and Graziano look gorgeous together. Backing them all the way.’
‘Zara and Graziano might be the hottest pairing there’s ever been?! good lord,’ another agreed.
A third echoed: ‘Zara and Graz could be absolute fire!’
Lovely: The TV personality was seen carrying an elegant silk gown into the studio
Incoming: Fellow contestant Angela Scanlon was also seen making her way to Strictly rehearsals in London on Tuesday
Getting involved: Amanda Abbingdon carried a bag into rehearsals as she prepared for her first dance on the BBC show
Main man: Professional dancer Giovanni Pernice greeted onlookers as he made his way into a local dance studio on Tuesday
Someone else joked: ‘I know Sam Thompson is crying at home right now watching Zara and Graziano.’
With other viewers writing: ‘Bet Sam Thompson is sweating now Zara’s been partnered with gratz’ and ‘Zara’s boyfriend currently crying in the green room.’
On Friday, Zara appeared on Lorraine to discuss the show – letting slip a tiny detail about her partner in the process.
The Love Island star chatted to the TV legend, 63, about her training and asked about her partnership on the upcoming show.
She said: ‘He is amazing, he’s so nice. Training is tougher than I thought it would be. It’s arms and legs and feet, all these things you have to put together in my brain all at once, but it is an amazing experience.’
Zara made history by becoming the first former Love Island contestant to win a place on Strictly – but insisted she won’t be drawing inspiration from any of her former cast mates when the show gets underway.
The TV personality found fame after featuring on the ITV2 dating show in 2018, during which her romance with villa lothario Adam Collard became one of its more dominant narrative lines.
She’s since reestablished herself as a BBC documentarian, with hard-hitting expose’s on revenge porn, rape culture and eating disorders winning her a new army of fans – and a nomination for Authored Documentary at the National Television Awards.