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Strictly's Shirley Ballas: 'I've always preferred to stay busy. That hasn't changed with age'

The Strictly Come Dancing head judge on her daily life and her favourite things
The Strictly Come Dancing head judge on her daily life and her favourite things Credit: Getty images

The Strictly Come Dancing head judge, 59, lives in south London with her rescue dog, Charlie, works seven days a week and loves Miss Marple

Life is non-stop during Strictly season. I wake up around 6.30am and meet my personal trainer for an hour of yoga, cardio or weights in the park. If I had my way, I’d train every day, but at the moment I’m lucky if I do it three times a week. 

I wash my hair every morning so I can blow-dry it. I apply a little make-up, have a black coffee, and eat half an avocado with a tablespoon of tuna, lemon and salt. I’m out of the door by 9.45am. 

I’ve recently been teaching world-class dancers for the International Ballroom Dancing Championships at a studio in Streatham, alongside friends I’ve known for 40 years. I tend not to eat lunch if I’ve had a good breakfast. I’ll snack on almonds, blueberries and red pepper. 

I get home around 6pm and FaceTime my son, Mark, who lives in LA with his wife BC Jean [BC wrote Beyoncé’s If I Were a Boy]. Mark’s a songwriter and regularly in musicals – he’s the most gorgeous man in my life, apart from my boyfriend, Danny [Taylor, an actor]. I’ll try to squeeze in a lavender bubble bath.

Saturday is my busiest day, when I head to Elstree for Strictly. In the dressing room, I’m greeted with enough make-up for 10 faces, along with all my sparkly outfits. Even after filming has wrapped I don’t stop. Last month, I drove through the night so I could attend a charity event on Sunday with Danny. As my mum points out, I’ve always preferred to stay busy. Like my love for dancing, that hasn’t changed with age.

Shirley’s favourite things

Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

The Sound of Music is magical. It reminds me of my childhood and I never get sick of listening to Julie Andrews. I always watch it in the run-up to Christmas. 

Credit: Zerobase

My Auntie Barbara gave me this – it’s great for my very dry skin. Emollient Cream, £7.12, Zerobase

Credit: Selfridges

My favourite thing to wear used to be leggings, but since I met Danny it’s become my jeans with a lovely pair of Gucci trainers. Trainers, £445, Gucci

Credit: Kerluxe

This is a staple – it makes my hair soft and shiny. Crystalisse Hair Shampoo,  £45, Kèrluxe

Credit: Lookfantasic

I would die without these and take them everywhere. They give me the perfect glossy finish. Ionic Airstyler, £37.50, Babyliss Pro

Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Strictly Come Dancing is my current favourite, of course! I also love Miss Marple, – my mum and I both do. We enjoy all TV series based around law and order, and sit down to watch them  in the evening when she visits.

Credit: Getty images

My son played Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys (above) on Broadway, which I saw 61 times, while my boyfriend Danny plays Sammy in Blood Brothers. I’ve already seen that about 40 times. 

Credit: Rocco

I absolutely love going to Rocca: Italian food, home-made and delicious. Rocca, 75-79 Dulwich Village, London SE21

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