Paralympian Lauren Steadman and her dance partner AJ Pritchard tell Now about their Christmas plans after their Strictly success
One of the standout stars of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing has undoubtedly been Lauren Steadman.
A total dance novice before joining the show, the Paralympic triathlon world champion has impressed viewers week after week with her professional dance partner AJ Pritchard.
Now, as the pair settle down for Christmas following their success on the series, Lauren, 25, and AJ, 24, tell us all about their festive plans and why Lauren, who was born without her right forearm, is still reeling from the fact that someone once bought her a pair of gloves as a gift!
Hi, guys. Well done on Strictly! What’s been your favourite moment of the show?
Lauren: I really enjoyed doing the contemporary piece. That was aimed at my parents and thanking them for all the support they’ve given me. I also loved the Viennese waltz because it was the first time I was able to relax into the dance, so wasn’t overthinking it. And I particularly enjoyed the American Smooth – I felt like I’d finally got into character.
What are your plans
for the festive season?
L: I’m going away with my parents to spend quality time with them.
AJ: I need to sleep! I’ve been doing this since August and my body is saying, ‘Help!’ I can’t feel my legs or torso. So a bit of time with my family, relaxing and getting ready for a positive new year.
What are your favourite things about Christmas?
L: I love everything about it. As soon as it’s 1 December,
I’m like a child. My Christmas tree is up, I’m playing the music – and it’s my birthday on the 18th, so it’s a very special time. I always go to Winter Wonderland [in London]. I do as many Christmassy things as possible.
A: It comes down to family. When you’re always so busy, you never know where you are – at least at Christmas you’re guaranteed to sit down and be with your family. [The rest of the year] I’m in London or Portsmouth, my brother’s in Ireland and my mum and dad are in the North, so usually everyone’s everywhere.
What are your ultimate Christmas traditions?
L: My mum loves to watch a movie on Christmas Eve and it’s generally the kids’ movies, because she gets scared easily!
A: I just eat chocolate for days. Last year I went a bit too crazy, I’ll try and be a little bit more sensible this year.
What is your favourite Christmas film?
L: Love Actually!
A: That’s a good one, I’m with her on that one.
And what about your favourite festive song?
L: It’s got to be Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.
A: I actually just like Jingle Bells. It’s always everywhere, it’s one of those classics. You can’t go wrong with it!
What’s your earliest memory of Christmas?
A: When I was about 10 years old, I remember getting a quad bike and I was out on it all the time. I took that bike out on Christmas Day, even though it was snowing!
L: Mine was with both my grandparents. My grandma had this habit of saving up all the cardboard bits in the middle of toilet rolls, and we’d make Christmas crackers out of them.
What has been your worst Christmas present?
L: I received gloves and hand cream once! When you get two gloves and you don’t know what to do with the other one…
A: …give it to someone else who’s only got one hand?
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2019?
L: Mine is to get another World Championship triathlon title and buy a house.
A: I don’t know how to compete against that!
L: I think you should do a triathlon.
A: OK then, maybe I’ll attempt one…
What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
A: It’s going to be an exciting year. I’ve got my first ever dance tour that’s just myself, so I’m really excited for that.
L: I’m most looking forward to getting into training again.
The Strictly Come Dancing final is on Saturday 15 December on BBC1