Strictly Come Dancing favourite Natalie Gumede has admitted she feels older since taking joining the show, due to the sheer exhaustion of taking part.
The former Coronation Street actress – who will compete against the other five remaining celebrities in this weekend’s quarter-final – told the Mirror that it seems as if Strictly has lasted years.
“I’ve toned up but do feel I’ve aged,” she said.
“I think it’s because I’m so tired. I feel like I’ve lived two years on Strictly. September feels like a lifetime ago.”
Natalie – who is set to perform a paso doble with partner Artem Chigvintsev on Saturday night’s show – revealed she is rehearsing seven hours a day but has attempted to slow down after collapsing in dress rehearsals a few weeks ago – and having to pull out of that night’s programme.
But while she now takes Sundays off, she admits she still feels ‘very very vulnerable’ in the competition.
“Even after 30 or 40 hours of training, we’re not at the stage where we will be consistently good,” she admitted. “You know things can still go wrong.”
However she added: “I want to use the last weeks to get out there and love it. I didn’t join the show with an agenda for my career or to win.
“I came on because I love to dance.”
Strictly Come Dancing’s quarter-final – which will see the six remaining couples perform individual routines as well as participate in the group ‘swingathon’ – will kick off on BBC One at 7.10pm.