The South African dancer, 32, has opened up about her time on Strictly in an interview with Women’s Health UK.
The Strictly pro stood down after seven years on the series earlier this year as she announced that she would be joining the judging panel on ITV’s Dancing On Ice.
Oti Mabuse opens up about her time on Strictly Come Dancing
The former Let’s Dance professional spoke to Women’s Health UK about her time on Strictly as she reflected on what she felt before she won.
Oti said: “At that point, I’d been on the show for four years, and I go (to Motsi), ‘Oh my gosh, when is it (winning Strictly) gonna happen?!’
She also talked about a conversation she had with her sister Motsi, who previously judged the German version of the show before joining the BBC series as a judge in 2019 when she replaced Darcey Bussell.
Oti continued: “We had a conversation and we were like, ‘Look, we have to be amazing. You have to do your job, be honest, criticise and do the best you can do and then I have to do the same.’
“What people don’t understand is that she and I didn’t have an option…it’s so easy to take all the incredible work away by saying, ‘They’re sisters’.”
The Dancing On Ice judge opened up about her relationship with her sister and her parents.
Oti shared: “(Me and my sister are) confident, we’re loud, we’re vibrant…our parents fought for us to be here and being ourselves is one of the reasons why we were hired.
“So we remind each other of that – and encourage each other.”
In the Women’s Health UK interview, Oti explained how her life has changed since leaving the dance competition and becoming a judged on The Masked Dancer and Dancing On Ice.
She reflected: “I’m changing and growing in a world that very much depends (not only) on how well you do your job but whether people connect to you, right?
“I’ve been under this incredible umbrella for seven years, where people know on Saturday night you bring them joy, and you make them smile.
“And when a lot of things in your business are based off that [feeling], it was really, really scary.
“I was asking myself, ‘Am I ready? Am I fit enough to do this? Can I handle it?’…I come from South Africa, you know? I left a whole continent. I’ve always been up for a challenge.”
She added: “I haven’t been dancing, right? My body has completely taken on a new shape and you’re just like, ‘Oh my gosh, what is this? Is this turning 30?!’
“My body has completely changed from what I looked like, two, three years ago…My body just doesn’t burn as fast as it used to.
“I was going from dancing – literally running, jumping, being fit all the time – to sitting behind a desk or [sitting down when I’m] doing interviews. So I’ve learned that I need to make time for the physical aspects.”
You can read the full Oti Mabuse interview in the December issue of Women’s Health UK.