Tameka Empson: ‘Kellie Bright left me big shoes to fill, but I aim to go all the way on Strictly!’

EastEnders' Tameka Empson explains that she's been waiting years for her chance to shine on Strictly. And now she’s got it she's going to make the most of it!

Tameka Empson, who stars as Kim Fox in EastEnders, is thrilled to be wowing Strictly Come Dancing fans…

How did you feel when you got a place on the Strictly dance floor?
“Strictly has always been a dream of mine. I’ve been a fan forever, I have been waiting for years to take part. So when the opportunity knocked, I answered the door and said, ‘Welcome, come on in! I’ve been waiting for you!’”

You looked so excited to be paired with Gorka Marques, the hot new Spanish professional dancer…
“I was the last female contestant to be paired off and the wait was terrifying. But they say good things come to those who wait and I got myself a corker – a strong, gorgeous partner who can sweep me off my feet and place me down again.”

How do you rate your dance skills?
“I think I’m a good mover. I had some dance classes as a child. My EastEnders character Kim [Fox-Hubbard] has been teaching salsa, but that’s completely different to me dancing as myself. It’s now me out there and that’s scary.”

Which of the other female celebs do you think is your main competition?
“I think professional dancer Oti Mabuse is my main competition. LOL! Seriously, I really don’t know. What I do know is that everyone is lovely.”

Which dance will be the most challenging?
“For me, I think it will be the Ballroom that I’ll have to work on. I think I’ll be OK with the Latin – although the Jive is the dance that’ll need the most stamina. All those flicks and kicks.”

Which judge would you like to impress the most?
“I’d like to impress all the judges, but I’d especially like to impress Craig and make him smile.”

Your EastEnders co-star Kellie Bright reached the final last year, how does that make you feel?
“Kellie certainly left me some very big shoes to fill. But I aim to go all the way! Gorka and I are going to have the best time on Strictly Come Dancing. I’m loving it!”

Speaking of EastEnders, how similar are you to Kim?
“People tend to think that I am Kim, or that I’m playing myself. But she’s more outrageous than I am. I love Kim and love to party like her, but I’m not actually her.”

What about Kim’s look?
“Kim’s a fashion show-off and is incredibly self-assured. Her clothes are always a bit too tight and revealing, but she’s sassy enough to get away with it. I couldn’t get away with the clothes that she wears. I love all the pampering I get as Kim – I get to spend ages in the make-up chair. I’m looking forward to all the pampering on Strictly, too!”

Strictly continues on BBC1 on Saturday and Sunday