US singer Anastacia has been to hell and back fighting breast cancer and she's using her adversity to spread the word – get yourself checked out!
She’s got the voice of a diva, but singer and Strictly star Anastacia behaves more like a lifelong friend.
Her laugh is infectious and her energy enviable. But it’s not long before effervescent Anastacia, 47, moves the subject onto something more serious – the real reason she signed up to appear on this year’s Strictly.
After two battles with breast cancer and an invasive double mastectomy in 2013, the Chicago-born singing sensation wanted to throw herself into a joyous new challenge.
She is donating her Strictly fee to breast cancer research and hopes to inspire other survivors with her performances.
How did you feel when Strictly asked you to come on the show?
“They asked me to do the show at the perfect time because I was in a “Yes” place. I really felt like I needed to stop over-thinking things and just go for it, I don’t want to let life stop me. I have no idea what’s going to come of Strictly, but I’ve only ever heard positive things from people on the show!”
What made you want to get involved?
“It’s really important to me to be of service to other women. I want to try to raise money while showing that I’m a mastectomy patient, trying to do moves that won’t be easy for me because of my radical surgery.”
Are you concerned by the rigorous Strictly schedule?
“It will be a challenge. I’ll need to change some of the moves a little bit. My pectoral muscles underwent radiation, so my back muscles were moved to the front of my body. It’s so odd, the results look great, but when I try to get up out of a chair my boob hits my chin!”
What do you hope to achieve from taking part in the show?
“I want to encourage other women to be vigilant about their health. Sometimes you have to do something uncomfortable to get to where you need to be. For me that was the mastectomy – 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 kind of adversities I would not have become the person that I am. But I’ve realised that there’s so much misleading information around breast cancer, so I want to advise younger women, those who are terrified to go to the doctor. Being frightened means you may be taken from us early, so we’ve got to try to build a little confidence. Early detection is key.”
What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
“I have a lot of scars on my back so the costumes are going to be challenging. I’m open to the possibility of perhaps showing them, but there’s no guarantee because I’m still very scared of that. All of us women who go through cancer have our own little fears and that’s definitely mine, but the show might give me the courage to do it. If not I’ll be wearing some sequins on my back!”
How have you been getting along with Brendan?
“So far so good. I’ve heard about Brendan being tough, but I think he’s amazing and a great teacher. Plus I don’t exactly have a demure reputation – I’m pretty strong and I think it’s a good match.”
Do the judges make you nervous?
“I actually did a gig in Berlin just 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, ‘First of all stop bothering me and secondly, stop judging me!’ We just joked about it, he’s such a nice man, but he’s got to do his thing on the show. He’s got to be honest, even if people don’t want to hear it and I do respect that because I’m American, I have to keep it real.”
What do you think of your rival celebs?
“I 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 always watch in the morning if I’m in London and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I know you, you wake me up!’ I totally knew Judge Rinder, he’s just adorable – 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.”
Finally, have you been eyeing up the coveted glitterball trophy?
“Yeah of course, it will go perfectly in my house, are you kidding me? I’ve always wanted one of those disco balls and if I’ve earned it on the show then I can tell people I’m a dancer!”