CATHERINE Tyldesley has opened up about how Strictly is helping her battle her “insecurities” and body hang-ups.
The former Corrie star underwent a dramatic weight loss transformation in her 20s, shrinking from a size 22 at 15 stone to a trim size ten.
And now the 35-year-old has overcome her fears to star in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, which will have its first live show next Saturday.
She told the Daily Star: “Ordinarily I completely shy away from having anybody looking at my body or anything like that.
“But the rehearsals we’ve been doing have been so much fun.
“Within an hour of the first day, I was thinking, ‘I don’t care what I look like, I’m just going for it… I’m a sweaty mess, I’m jiggling around all over the show, but you’ve just got to go for it’.”
She revealed she has struggled with crippling insecurities about her figure for years – but the dance training has changed her outlook.
“Doing this show is a huge thing for me, but at the same time it’s liberating,” she said.
Catherine admitted she would still be scared of wearing any short outfits.
The actress got her first taste of Strictly Come Dancing fever during last weekend’s launch show where she was partnered with professional dancer, Johannes Radebe, 32.
She told SunOnline that her weight stopped her from pursuing her dancing dream when she was younger.
“I’ve always wanted to learn to dance,” she revealed.
“It was something that I shied away from when I was younger.
“I was terrified of it. I was much bigger, so I didn’t have the confidence.
“I’m a huge Strictly fan, so when the opportunity came up, I couldn’t say no.
“I’m not a duck to water, but I’m having an amazing time.”
Last year, mum-of-one Catherine took on an intense 12-week fitness regime to be at the top of her game after leaving the ITV soap.
But she admits she’s not in the best shape after signing up to the show.
“Ironically, the past 12 months I’ve not trained as much, which is typical,” she says.
“I’ve been really busy with work and I just wanted a bit of a break. I did the 12-week transformation which was heavy weight lifting and I thought I needed a rest. Then Strictly came up and I thought, ‘oh brilliant’…
“I’ve done weight training before, with slow controlled movements, but the group dance routine we’ve been learning… I thought I was relatively fit, but no.
“These pro dancers are some of the fittest people I’ve ever met. You just want to eat everything because you’re dancing all the time.”
Catherine is following in the footsteps of her former Coronation Street co-star Georgia May Foote – but she’s been tapping up a number of celebrity pals for tips.
“I asked Gemma Atkinson, Lisa Riley and Tina O’Brien, of course, for tips,” Catherine said.
“Everyone has said the same thing, ‘you’ve just got to enjoy it’.
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“If you’re stressed you’re not going to enjoy it. When you’re faced with such an amazing opportunity you’ve just got to let go of inhibitions.
“I’m just going to go for it. I’ve got to. I want to get the most out of it.”
Catherine left the cobbles in 2018 and has since starred in Channel 5 drama 15 Days as well as upcoming series Scarborough.
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