Strictly Come Dancing’s Ellie Simmonds says she’s already been harassed online: ‘It does get to you’

Ellie Simmonds has opened up about the online harassment she’s already received following her Strictly Come Dancing debut on 24 September.

Coupled up with professional dancer Nikita Kuzmin, Simmonds is one of 15 new contestants competing for this Glitterball trophy this year.

You can check out the full Strictly Come Dancing 2023 lineup here.

In a new interview with The Sun, the 27-year-old five-time Paralympic swimming champion – the show’s first contestant with achondroplasia dwarfism – said that she was nervous to sign up for the show because of how audiences might react.

“I’ve had it already. Some people have said, ‘How’s the dwarf going to dance?’ It’s sad and it does get to you,” Simmonds disclosed.

“When I got the call I did wonder whether I should do it,” she shared, adding that her boyfriend, who also has dwarfism, helped convince her to take “a leap of faith”.

“He was like, ‘Go for it, you don’t know unless you try’. Now I’m so happy I said yes.”

During her first dance number with Kuzmin, which earned 26 points and a handful of compliments from the judges, she donned a pair of heels for the first time.

Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin (Ray Burmiston/BBC/PA) (BBC)
Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin (Ray Burmiston/BBC/PA) (BBC)

“This morning I was wearing them in while brushing my teeth. I never normally do that,” she said.

Ahead of the season, Simmonds expressed how thrilled she was to be joining the Strictly family, saying: “[It’s] just so exciting and I cannot wait, it’s going to be so much fun.

“I’m counting down the minutes until it starts; learning to dance, meeting my partner and everyone else involved in the show. Plus wearing the sequins and all that, it’s going to be a blast.”

You can read more about Simmonds here.

Strictly Come Dancing continues tomorrow, 27 September at 1:05am on BBC One.