The former X Factor winner and Strictly runner-up chats exclusively to Now!

Last year could very easily have become the worst 
of Alexandra Burke’s life, having lost her 53-year-old 
mother Melissa Bell to kidney failure.

But the 
former X Factor winner refused to be beaten. Instead, Alexandra finished 2017 by coming second to 
Joe McFadden in Strictly Come Dancing and getting engaged to her long-term boyfriend Josh Ginnelly.

Here, the 29-year-old chats to us about why she wants to start a family, to sing a duet with Stormzy, and how Strictly made her fall in love with dancing again…

Hi, Alexandra! We last saw 
you on our screens doing Strictly. Have you kept up 
with the dancing?
Yes, I’m all about the wellbeing in life and I love dancing. I know when people go into a gym it can be so intimidating – you go into the weights section and pretend you know what you’re doing. So I’m doing SlimDance, which works in a way that you can feel good and lose weight without even realising it, through dancing.

Have you kept in touch 
with Gorka [Márquez, Alexandra’s partner on Strictly] since the show?
Everyone’s kept in touch, we’re all on a Strictly WhatsApp group, which is great.

Did you lose a lot of weight while you were on Strictly?
Yeah, in 2014 the unfortunate thing happened of when you 
get into a relationship, and you put the ‘happy weight’ on, so I went up three dress sizes, but 
I did notice my body leaned 
out a lot more while doing Strictly and it did make a difference to how I felt.

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How do you feel about your body at the moment?
I feel really good at the minute. I’ve always kept active since I started SlimFast three years ago. I’ve just made sure it’s become my lifestyle, and working out has become my lifestyle, eating in moderation has become my lifestyle, not depriving myself 
of anything. The moment you have that relationship with food where it’s a healthy relationship, and you have a healthy relationship with keeping 
active, it just falls into place.

Have you started a stricter 
diet with your wedding coming up?
No, not at all. As far as I’ve got 
to wedding planning has been 
a Pinterest board, so I don’t 
have any intention of planning 
a wedding at this moment in 
time. I’ve got so much work on.

What is your favourite 
body part?
I’d say my arms, because they’ve leaned out a bit.

‘I don’t miss it’: Alexandra Burke admits she’s been ‘mentally scarred’ by Strictly trolls

Do you think there’s a pressure to look 
good in your industry?
No, I don’t think there is. 
I’ve never felt the pressure personally, and I wouldn’t allow myself to go there. I think it’s important to promote healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, because your health is your wealth, at the end of the day.

Would you ever consider having surgery?
I think surgery is to each and every single person’s own view and I’m not against it. If people want to do it and it makes them feel great, wonderful. But I’m not against it at all, because 
I just think I’m not anyone to judge anyone else if they want 
to feel good about themselves.

What’s your greatest career achievement to date?
I would probably say singing with Beyoncé on The X Factor was a big achievement. But 
my first ever tour is what really springs to mind – it’s any artist’s dream to be able to headline their own tour.

Is there anyone else you’d want to duet with?
I’m all about the Brits at the moment, and what they’re achieving, so I’d love to do something with Emeli Sandé 
or Jessie J, and 
Stormzy would be incredible – James Arthur as well.

What’s left 
on your career bucket list?
So many things. To perform 
at the BRITs, travel the world and focus on singing in other territories. I’ve done Europe 
but I’d love to do America. 
And another thing on my bucket list is to settle down 
and have a family one 
day. That would be my 
greatest achievement.

Alexandra Burke is supporting ‘SlimDance’, a new SlimFast campaign that champions the power of dance as a powerful weight-loss motivator and expression of life’s ‘victory moments’. Alexandra lost two 
stone following the SlimFast 
3.2.1. Plan. Visit slimfast.co.uk 
to find out more.