Strictly's Katya Jones reveals 'I was talked about more than Brexit after THAT Seann Walsh kiss'

QUICK-STEPPING across the dancefloor clutching the arms of another woman, she made history as one half of Strictly Come Dancing's first-ever same-sex couple.

And, last month, Katya Jones was responsible for another Strictly first – having to leave the show after testing positive for Covid-19.

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Coming just 15 months after her split from fellow pro, Neil, it's been a typically eventful end to the year for one of the show's most popular dancers.

So how's she enjoying life as a lesbian pin-up?

"Well, I have been getting quite a few messages from girls now which has been nice.

"But no-one famous… why don't they slide into my DM's?! I am very much single….

“Have I ever dated a girl? No I haven’t but maybe a woman wouldn’t want to go out with me because I’m a bossy woman!"

"All the fuss about Nicola and I dancing together was, for me, quite strange because in the ballroom world, it’s such a normal thing.

"You go to any dance school and there are mainly girl-girl partnerships, even in the competitions – often because there aren’t enough boys.

"For us it was totally normal, but to do this on prime time TV, I understand it was really exciting."

The couple were forced to step down from the competition after Katya came down with coronavirus, albeit without any symptoms.

A two-week isolation spell meant they would be forced to miss two live shows, and competition rules wouldn't allow two consecutive byes.


However, given their popularity, the pair will be returning for a special one-off performance next week.

It will be the duo's raunchiest routine ever.

"I am so happy we were able to do it – we needed closure," she smiles.

"We have spiced it up this week. It’s nice because we aren't being judged, so I've had the freedom to do what we want and I have thrown everything at it this week…. bar the kitchen sink!

"There are lots of lifts and tricks, and there’s a bit more chemistry in there; it's very different to anything we've done in the competition before and I can’t wait to show a different side to people."

Nicola, who has been with her influencer girlfriend Ella Baig for two years, previously described Katya as "hot" – but even with the infamous Strictly curse, there was absolutely no chance of a romance this year.

With no scandal on this year's show, the closest the BBC have come to inappropriate touching is singer HRVY and EastEnders actress Maisie Smith breaking social distancing rules – and standing about a foot and a half away from one another.

So what of the so-called Curse? And why do so many couples get together on and off the dance floor?

"Obviously there have been lots of stories… but also there are so many more examples of nothing happening, and people being happy at home with their families," she muses.

"But I think some people get empowered by it because of the sense of achievement they get from doing this brilliant show.

"Maybe they didn’t have the confidence, or the strength, to do these things before, or maybe some people were in long-term, unhappy relationships and doing Strictly empowered them to realise they could do better.

"People find themselves again. They realise they can do this and feel they can take on the world – that’s the amazing thing about this show."

Of course, two years ago, Katya was famously involved in her own Strictly scandal – 'that' kiss with Seann Walsh, her celeb partner at the time.

The pair were pictured snogging in the street after a boozy night out at the pub.

But the stunning Russian dancer reckons she and Neil, 38, are closer than ever.

Chatting from North London's Studio 45, she explains: "There aren't any regrets because that's not how I like to lead my life.

"Of course certain things made it hell, all the attention – and I think for two weeks Brexit was forgotten!

"I'm happy to talk about it now – it doesn't affect me, it doesn't affect who I am.

"It was mental, and it took time to get over it but the way I came out of it, I am happy, and my ex-husband Neil and I have never been so close. Which I think says it all."

As the 31-year-old explains, for at least two weeks of that 2018 October month, the front pages and daytime magazine shows were dominated with coverage of her smooch.

She said: "I think the fact we are best friends right now just shows the way we’ve dealt with things.


"I think the fact we are best friends right now just shows the way we’ve dealt with things.

"I’m not saying that what happened was right but lessons were learned and now we are both so happy.

"We just came to the conclusion that we were really good friends but that the romantic side had gone.

"Even during lockdown Neil and I have been in constant touch over FaceTime and checking in with each other.

"We’ve known each other for 12 years, were married for seven, and that's not been for nothing.

"We’ve gone through hard times together, sad times and happy times, and now have never been so good."

Katya has yet to meet Neil's new Colombian dancer girlfriend, Luisa Eusse – but the pair have exchanged a few friendly messages, and Katya has given her her seal of approval.

"I haven’t met Luisa yet but she’s a gorgeous girl," she says.

"I haven’t had a chance to meet her yet, but we’ve been texting a bit.

"She messaged me saying she hoped I was ok when I got knocked out of the competition with Covid, so I approve of her! That was really nice."

The star, engaging and bubbly in real life, has praised the Beeb's Duty of Care team, and reveals they offered her their full support – including counselling – after the scandal first broke.

"The BBC looked after me always," she adds. "I was offered therapy but have always had it all the time anyway.

"I had therapy not because of the situation but because I’ve always had a mental coach back from when I competed.

"I had therapy to deal with everything from the relationship, and the pressure, and the balance. So that wasn’t anything new."

Away from Strictly, and with a rapidly expanding profile, Katya has had several offers of other work – but remains loyal to Strictly.

Last year she headlined in Panto, something she "absolutely loved", but says her "dream" would be to appear on BBC1's The Great British Sewing Bee, hosted by Joe Lycett.

Katya, who won the Glitterball trophy in 2017 alongside actor Joe McFadden, is good pals with both the pros and judges.

She backs veteran dancer Anton Du Beke, who filled in for Motsi Mabuse after she had to self-isolate from a trip to Germany, as a future judge for the next series, adding: "We were all so happy he got the chance to do it.

"It was amazing to see Anton judging; he’s a legend and has been there from day one of this show. He did a great job. Whatever happens, we know Strictly will always get it right."

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