Anastacia’s inspiring Strictly message
Pop superstar and breast cancer survivor anastacia on using Strictly to inspire other women, showing her scars and her admiration for Judge rinder…
She’s got the voice of a diva, but singer and Strictly star Anastacia behaves more like a lifelong friend. Within five minutes of meeting her, the US superstar is casually chatting to TV Times about her latest trip to Boots (ÔI need to avoid blistersõ), travelling on the London Underground (ÔI blend in, as long as IÕM not in my blingõ) and her obsession with Judge Rinder (ÔHEÕS far superior to Judge Judy and much hotterõ).
Her laugh is infectious and her energy enviable. But itõs not long before effervescent Anastacia, 48, moves the subject onto something more serious Ð the real reason she signed up for this yearõs Strictly.
After two battles with breast cancer and a double mastectomy in 2013, the Chicago-born singing sensation wanted to throw herself into a joyous new challenge.
ÔIT was the perfect time to be asked to do the show because I was in a ÒYESÓ place. I really felt like I needed to stop overthinking things and just go for it, I donõt want to let life stop me,õ she tells us. ÔI have no idea whatõs going to come of Strictly but Iõve only ever heard positive things from people on the show.õ Anastacia has sold more than 30 million records worldwide, with hits including I’m Outta Love and Left Outside Alone. She is donating her Strictly fee to breast cancer research and hopes to inspire other survivors with her performances on the show.
‘It’s really important to me to be of service to other women. I want to try to raise money while showing that IÕM a mastectomy patient, trying to do moves that wonõt be easy for me because of my radical surgery.õ
Anastaciaõs relying on her dance partner, series one champion Brendan Cole, to put together clever choreography to help her.
ÔMY pectoral muscles underwent radiation, so my back muscles were moved to the front of my body,õ she explains. ÔIÕLL need to
change some of the moves a little bit. Itõs so odd, the results look great, but when I try to get up out of a chair my boob hits my chin.õ
Anastacia, who was also diagnosed with the long-term inflammatory bowel condition Crohnõs disease at the age of 13, wants to encourage other women to be vigilant about their health.
Ôsometimes you have to do something uncomfortable to get to where you need to be. For me that was the mastectomy Ð I knew the end result would mean the cancer was gone, and I liked that, even though it was hard to get there.
‘I feel blessed, because without these kinds of adversities I would not have become the person I am. But
Iõve realised that thereõs so much misleading information around breast cancer, so I want to advise younger women, those who are terrified to go to the doctor.
Ôbeing frightened means you may be taken from us early, so weõve got to try to build a little confidence. Early detection is key.õ
Anastaciaõs only reservation about appearing on the show is revealing her mastectomy scars in some of the outfits.
ÔIÕM going to be wearing a big onesie!õ she laughs. ÔI have a lot of scars on my back so the costumes are going to be challenging.
ÔIÕM open to the possibility of perhaps showing them, but thereõs no guarantee because IÕM still very scared of that. All of us women who go through cancer have our own little fears and thatõs definitely mine, but the show might give me the courage to do it. If not, Iõll be wearing sequins on my back!õ
The dancing shoes are also causing consternation, but for a very different reason. ÔIÕM only little, so IÕM annoyed they arenõt high enough. My legs are going to look like tree stumps. My feet think itõs awesome, though, not to be in six-inch heelséõ
Heels could be the least of Anastaciaõs worries, as sheõs partnered with famously competitive Brendan.
ÔITÕS so far, so good. Iõve heard about Brendan being tough but I think heõs amazing and a great teacher. Plus I donõt exactly have a demure reputation Ð IÕM pretty strong and itõs a good match.õ
Not only has Anastacia tamed Brendan, sheõs softening up the judges, too. Ôhereõs a fun fact, I did a gig in Berlin this weekend and who was in the queue checking in for the same flight to go to the UK? Craig Revel Horwood. So I said to him, Òfirst of all, stop bothering me, and secondly, stop judging meó.
ÔWE just joked about it, heõs a nice man, but heõs got to do his thing on the show. Heõs got to be honest, even if people donõt want to hear it and I do respect that because IÕM American,
I have to keep it real. Brendan can say what he needs to, but you wonõt see me answering back.õ
Anastacia has also bonded with her rival celebrities, particularly the irrepressible Judge Rinder, though she only recognised a few of the Brits.
ÔI knew Louise [Redknapp] from back in the day and I know Will [Young] from the circuit. Then there was Naga [Munchetty from BBC Breakfast] who I watch in the morning if IÕM in London and I was like, ÒOH my God,
I know you, you wake me upó.
ÔI totally knew Judge Rinder, heõs just adorable Ð he gives it all that and a bag of chips! [TV Times assumes this is a good thing]. Sometimes a group of us will sit at home texting about his show and the crazy cases on there.õ
And so the final inevitable question. Has Anastacia been eyeing up the glitterball trophy?
Ôyeah, of course, it will go perfectly in my house, are you kidding me? Iõve always wanted one of those disco balls and if
Iõve earned it on the show then I can tell people IÕM a dancer!õ
the singersongwriter has her sights set on the glitterball trophy
I have a lot of scars on my back, so the costumes are going to be challenging’ Will tempers fly between ‘pretty strong’ Anastacia and bolshie Brendan? Outta this world: Performing at the Brit Awards in 2002 strictly come dancing is previewed on pages 34-35
• For details about the causes, symptoms and treatment of breast cancer, as well as support groups, go to www.cancerresearchuk.org