Strictly’s JJ Chalmers has confessed he’s his own worst enemy in training – as his struggles with the routines have forced him to ‘be kinder’ to himself.
As a member of the Royal Marines in Afghanistan, JJ became used to nailing protocols and routines as expected of him – and later, after being caught in an explosion that required extensive surgery to save him, he channeled his energy into becoming a medalist at the Invictus Games.
Joining the Strictly line-up for 2020, JJ has managed to keep himself safe in the competition – and is now performing a foxtrot with Amy Dowden tonight for Movie Week.
But speaking to Metro.co.uk, he told us that the show has made him realise that perfection might not always be the end goal.
‘I thought I’d kind of figured everything out by myself through what I’ve been through in life, from a mental point of view,’ he told us.
‘But I have learned I need to give myself a little bit of a break sometimes, because, you know, I’m always expecting to be at a very high standard, and I’m coming into something completely out of my comfort zone.’
‘The way to get over that, essentially, was listening to Amy. She reassures me that everything’s fine, you’re in a good place, you know, you are doing well, but I don’t necessarily feel like that,’ he said.
‘I need to take a pat on the back when she wants to give me one.’
‘He’s just really hard on himself,’ Amy confirmed. ‘He’s a perfectionist, which is what I love about him. He’s really embracing the Strictly challenge, and look at the improvement in him from like four weeks ago!
‘JJ had never danced before, and here he is in fake tan and sparkles!’
Tonight, the couple will be performing to Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
While this routine is a good ol’ classic Western, JJ admitted that getting into the costume was the bit he enjoyed the most – and explained why men shouldn’t be shy of a bit of fake tan on the dancefloor.
‘That bit I love! The thing about it is, it’s embracing the culture that sits around dance, and you can’t just come here and be good at steps,’ he said. ‘Otherwise, it’s a walking competition.
‘It’s a dance competition and it’s about becoming good at dance, so to do that you need to inhabit the character, you need to inhabit the culture of it.’
‘When I was an RA marine recruit, I looked up these Royal Marine commanders, they had the beret, they’ve earned the right to be there, and I wanted to emulate and be like them,’ he continued. ‘That’s what it’s like looking up at the male pros in particular, and Amy, for that matter.
‘A big part of that is fake tans and high trousers and fancy shoes, but those are all part of the equipment that’s necessary for it.
‘It’s much more like when you put on that uniform in the military, you put that Green Beret on, you stand tall, you’ve got a Union Jack on your sleeve, you feel part of this culture, a part of this family.
‘That’s what this is all about, that’s why you need to embrace it.’
Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight at 7.25pm on BBC One.