Zara McDermott has said she hopes she has “changed the perception” of reality TV stars competing on Strictly Come Dancing as she also weighed in on the show’s infamous curse.
Since being catapulted into the spotlight on the popular series, she has gone on to front three BBC documentaries delving into topics surrounding disordered eating, rape culture and revenge porn.
Not only that but the 26-year-old has also fronted BBC iPlayer dating series, Love in the Flesh, and is now gearing up for her biggest project yet – the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom.
McDermott is the first ever Love Island contestant, and the second reality TV star after Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, to appear on the BBC stalwart.
Reflecting on that milestone, she told The Standard: “I’m incredibly proud of myself for getting here, because I’ve really worked so hard on my documentaries.
“Look, I did Love Island for 10, 11 days, and I’ve been making documentaries now for three years full-time. All my time goes into them, I invest my whole soul into them.
“So, for me, I’ve come a long way since the reality world, and I feel like I’ve changed that perception. Just because you come from a reality show doesn’t mean that you can’t go on to do other huge, amazing things,” the TV star continued.
“There’s definitely a stigma around reality television, and there doesn’t need to be.”
Aside from her TV career, McDermott is equally known for her social media pranks on long-term boyfriend, former MIC star-turned radio presenter Sam Thompson.
Given Strictly’s infamous curse, commonly known for breaking up pre-existing relationships, from either celeb or both the celebrity and their pro dancer partner, is her other half worried about her competing?
She shared: “The thing is, I’ve wanted to do this show [for so long]. I’ve watched the show since I was seven years old, like this is a dream of mine.
“I think everyone who has got a partner on the show, everyone’s partner is really supportive, so yeah, that’s really all there is to say on it.”
Strictly Come Dancing returns Saturday, September 16 at 6.35pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer