My Celebrity Life

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: AJ Odudu teases ‘overprotective’ mum’s reaction to judges’ criticism

My Celebrity Life –
AJ Odudu talked handling criticism ahead of Strictly Come Dancing 2021 (Picture: BBC)

AJ Odudu has teased that her mum may not be too impressed by any criticism from the Strictly Come Dancing judges, and we don’t really blame her.

The TV presenter, 33, has joined the line-up for this year’s show, alongside a host of names including Dan Walker, Tom Fletcher and Judi Love.

She will be showing off her best dance moves in the battle for the Glitterball, with judges Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse on hand to give their mostly fair comments on the panel.

Speaking to Metro.co.uk and other press ahead of the launch night on Saturday, AJ spilled the beans on how she will react to any critical words they have for her.

‘I hope that I take criticism really well,’ she said. ‘I feel like ultimately my background and my experience as a TV presenter will lend itself to having a bit of a thick skin.

‘There’s been a lot of rejection, a lot of knock backs, both societally and professionally. So hopefully just taking criticism, I’ll take it how I’ve taken criticism all my life, which is to be upset about it a little bit and then learn from it, which is the biggest point of the criticism.

My Celebrity Life –
AJ will be battling it out for the Strictly Come Dancing Glitterball (Picture: BBC)

‘It’s such an amazing show, and what an unbelievable line-up of judges. They know their stuff inside out so I just want to listen and learn, to be honest. I’ll take it all really well.’

Touching on how her mother may react, AJ laughed that it may be the polar opposite.

‘My mum on the other hand…,’ the host joked. ‘I think she’ll be like any mum, really protective and she only wants to hear good things about me.

‘She knows the spirit of the job, that’s the thing. So I’m sure she’ll take it well.’

AJ has been a staple on the small screen for years, and previously made her breakthrough on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side.

She has also enjoyed hosting stints backstage on The Voice UK and The Voice Kids.

However, she recently opened up about being ‘traumatised’ and on the brink of leaving the industry after being attacked on social media, and labelled ‘the Black girl with the dodgy accent’.

The abuse she received for her accent was so bad at one point that someone on the team suggested that she sought out elocution lessons to ‘soften’ her voice.

Recalling her start in the industry on the Nobody Told Me podcast, she said: ‘It was brilliant but with that exposure comes a lot of pressure and a lot of criticism.

‘I remember people tweeting, “Who is that Black girl with that dodgy accent” and, “Why does she sound like that?” That made me feel so insecure [because] people were commenting on things I had no real control over.

‘And it didn’t help that someone internally said, “AJ, we think you should get some help with your voice. Maybe you can speak clearer and we could soften your accent”.’

‘All of my insecurities were being reinforced by the team that were meant to be supporting me. Then, when my contract wasn’t renewed, that was tough,’ AJ continued. ‘TV is one of those industries where you don’t really get told why something hasn’t worked out.’

‘So you are left wondering, “Was it my accent? Was it the way I looked?” I didn’t work in TV for years after. It was so traumatic.

‘Looking back, I’m so proud I’ve managed to come this far by staying true to myself and not changing. Keeping my accent, keeping my opinions, keeping my voice.’

Strictly Come Dancing kicks off on Saturday, on BBC One.

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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