EXCLUSIVE - Daniel ready to get Strictly with Kristina Rihanoff

Daniel paired Kristina Rihanoff in Strictly Come Dancing
Daniel paired Kristina Rihanoff in Strictly Come Dancing

Daniel O’Donnell hit the jackpot when he was paired with ballroom queen Kristina Rihanoff in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing – and now the Russian beauty is set to sweep our man off his feet.

Kristina has hit the headlines time and again since she made her debut in the smash hit BBC show back in 2008 and now she is getting her hands (literally) on Irish icon Daniel.

Celebrity is part of the deal when you look as stunning as Kristina and present yourself on TV each week wearing little more than a few sparkles to cover your modesty, with Kristina’s activities away from the dance floor ensuring she was thrust into the limelight.

Yet she does not enjoy her lofty media profile that she enjoys the celebrity tag, as she told that she is not comfortable with her regular appearances in gossip magazines.

“I didn’t have any experience of being famous or what it would feel like to have people photographing me in the street and to be honest, I don’t like,” begins the dancer who hit the headlines after she starting dating ex-boxer Joe Calzaghe after they met on Strictly.

“I’m a very private person and do not like the idea that people are talking about me or making judgments, but you have to deal with it.

"I’m not shocked when I see myself in a newspaper any more and I knew what would happen when I got together with Joe Calzaghe after we met on Strictly.

“We were on the front pages of the newspapers, everyone was talking about us, looking into our private lives. At that point, I did not have much experience of the media and what can happen in this situation, so it was tough.

“Also, Joe is a very private person and he found it difficult as well. If we wanted to tell everyone about our private life, we had the chance to sell our story and make money on it, but that is not what Joe or I wanted to do.

“Now I understand how the press works a little better and you know what to say and what to do, but it is very strange when your life goes from being what I had before Strictly to what it is now. It is hard to deal with.”

Rihanoff initially shot to fame on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2008, as she was dance partner for news reader John Sergeant in a year when he became the ‘joke act’, but she had a far more credible ally last year as she finished as runner-up in the competition alongside heartthrob Simon Webbe from boy band Blue.

Kristina’s Strictly journey has seen her live through the revival years of ballroom dancing, with the fame and fortune she now enjoyed impossible to imagine as she grew up in Russia.

“When I started out in dancing, my ambition was to compete in the big competitions that have been held around the world for many years and the idea of becoming a big television star not even something I could even think about,” she added.

“Ballroom dancing was seen as a pastime for old people who had a nice cup of tea and a cream cake when they finished their waltzing, but then these TV shows come along and everything has changed for people like me.

“Strictly Come Dancing in the UK and Dancing With the Stars in America has opened so many doors for professional dancers and we are all so grateful for what has happened to the wonderful profession of ours.”

There were press reports last year that BBC chiefs were set to ban Kristina from being paired with married celebrities on Strictly Come Dancing given her reputation as a man eater, but she need not waste her time offering a wandering eye in the direction of the Daniel.

Majella O'Donnell will be watching you Kristina! 

By: Tracy Palmer