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STRICTLY COME DANCING’S KRISTINA RIHANOFF

Kristina Rihanoff is the sultry blonde star of Strictly Come Dancing whose looks have won plenty over in addition to her dancing, so what’s her secret? Neil Sean takes to the floor to find out

The new series of Strictly Come Dancing is under way and, at the time of writing, blonde bombshell Kristina Rihanoff has survived the first couple of weeks with partner Simon Webbe. Although she won’t be drawn on those rumours that she was paired with the ex-Blue star due to his single status, Kristina couldn’t be happier with the outcome. ‘He is tall, sexy and has rhythm so that all helps,’ Kristina smiles, ‘but I do really enjoy helping someone get to a better place dancing wise. It’s a great thing to see people blossom on the show and for that I am grateful.’

Kristina made her Strictly Come Dancing bow back in 2008 when she was paired with the not-quite-so-glamorous John Sergeant, but the two won over the public and were only eliminated when the political journalist decided to leave Strictly Come Dancing on his own accord. ‘I loved him and he was such a sweetheart,’ Kristina looks back. ‘I mean, yes, he could not dance as such, but he gave a lot of joy to people and made them feel good about themselves. I always supported him because he treated me like a lady and was always proper and correct, which made teaching him a total joy.’

Strictly Come Dancing's Kristina Rihanoff reveals all

Kristina Rihanoff has dazzled on Strictly Come Dancing since 2008

Born in Siberia, Kristina fell in love with music and dance at a young age, entering her first dance competition at just seven years of age. Kristina became a renowned dance champion in Russia, but London’s bright lights soon called – and one area in particular. ‘I of course knew Notting Hill thanks to the wonderful film of the same name and maybe I felt it was so romantic,’ Kristina giggles about ending up in W11. ‘But it’s a wonderful place to live. I like all the vintage shops and the things that you root out and find. The restaurants are great and I love the relaxed al fresco atmosphere, plus the area’s history – I just love the famous Georgian houses.’

There’s no doubting how great Kristina looks and she suggests Notting Hill has certainly helped that side to her career. ‘I am careful what I eat and mainly enjoy organic food and lots of vegetables from Planet Organic and Portobello Market, not to mention fresh fish too. When I am not dancing I force myself to the gym, but what I really love is Bikram yoga. There is a great studio near my home, and it helps elongate my muscles and makes them lean and elastic. Plus, I love the heat as I am always cold!’

The winter months ahead won’t help with that, but outside of Strictly Come Dancing Kristina certainly has a warm heart. Kristina is a trustee of the Dot Com Children’s Foundation, which aims to give children the tools to cope with risky situations in life. ‘I am very passionate about it,’ Kristina states. ‘It was something I felt I could use my name and experiences to good use, so when the offer came through I thought why not? Maybe I can help and I urge everyone to check out their website (dotcomcf.org).’

There are career strands appearing outside of the hugely successful world of Strictly Come Dancing – from her popular annual calendar to taking her own show to the West End last year, Burn the Floor – but for now all of Kristina’s energy is being thrown into the new series. Can Kristina win it? ‘I have Simon, who is a delight, and if it was on looks and sex appeal then with those votes we would win,’ Kristina laughs. ‘But my job is to teach him, so every week we start all over again.’

Strictly Come Dancing's Kristina Rihanoff reveals all

Strictly Come Dancing 2014’s celebrity line-up

Find out more about Kristina at officialkristinarihanoff.com; Neil Sean’s new book, Love at the London Palladium, is out this month

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