EastEnders’ Nina Wadia reveals her thoughts on getting glamorous for Strictly

The actress is best known for playing Zainab Masood in EastEnders.

National Television Awards 2018 – Arrivals – London
National Television Awards 2018 – Arrivals – London

EastEnders star Nina Wadia has said she is not looking forward to getting the Strictly Come Dancing treatment of sparkly costumes and hair and make-up as she is more of a “T-shirt and jeans girl”.

The actress, 52, is best known for playing Zainab Masood in EastEnders.

Wadia, who has also starred in Goodness Gracious Me and Open All Hours spin-off Still Open All Hours, joins the celebrity line-up on the upcoming season of the BBC dancing competition.

When asked how she felt about being “strictlyfied”, when contestants are given makeovers and dressed in extravagant costumes for the show, she said: “I hate it. I’m very much a T-shirt and jeans girl.

“I do get dressed up for things I have to do, if I make TV appearances or if the character I play in, something demands it.

“For example, when I played Zainab in EastEnders I was like, ‘Don’t worry about hair and make-up, just make Zainab as plain as possible’ because I don’t like sitting in the make-up chair for too long, I don’t like people pulling on my hair and shiny things just scratch me and irritate me.

“So this is the best show for me to be on isn’t it, really?”

The actress also admitted that after it was revealed on ITV’s Lorraine that she would appear on Strictly she thought “I’m going to be sick” as it felt “very real in that moment”.

However, when asked how she felt about putting herself in front of the nation, she said: “I’ve done it so many times, the only difference is I’m doing it as myself and not as a character, which is why I think I’ll have to be in character for each of these dances.

“Because if I don’t, then it won’t be very good.

“So whatever the theme of the week is, I’ll create a woman for that week.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
The actress plays Zainab Masood in EastEnders (Ray Burmiston/BBC/PA)

Wadia said she was looking forward to the freestyle and movie weeks, and also the Halloween week as she would really be able to get into character.

The actress said she was most looking forward to the Argentine tango as she would “love to know how they stick their legs in all different directions”, but that she was not excited for the “boring” and “painful” waltz.

She added: “I just want to entertain everyone, that’s all I want to do.

“I just want people to be entertained and to just have fun watching.

“I don’t want to stress them out.

“If I’m stressed, then I’ll stress the audience out, so I need to just relax and enjoy it so they’ll enjoy it more.”

– Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on September 18.

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