Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Odudu reveals nasty foot injury just days before show debut

STRICTLY Come Dancing star AJ Odudu has revealed her nasty foot injury just days before making her dancing debut.

The TV presenter – who will appear for the first time on the BBC ballroom competition this weekend – took to Instagram to reveal her painful toes.

AJ, 33, who is best known for co-presenting Channel 5 show Big Brother's Bit on the Side, told fans she was wearing plasters on her feet already.

Videoing herself in the mirror as she took to her first rehearsal, the TV star joked that her toes felt like they are "broken" thanks to her high heels.

"Hello! Day one in the dance studio darlings – and I've got a plaster on my feet already," she could be heard saying as she filmed her toes.

"I'm in agony! But it's really fun," enthusiastic AJ added, before smiling and giving a thumbs up to the camera.

The telly presenter also posed for a snap in her rehearsal gear – a matching two-piece workout set – and the infamous stiletto heels.

"I feel like all my toes are broken," AJ joked, before adding that she was "only joking", admitting she was more than happy to be dancing.

The star was also seen hanging out with fellow celebrity contestant Ugo Monye in the rehearsal spaces behind-the-scenes.

AJ is due to appear on Strictly Come Dancing 2021 for the first time on Saturday, as the series launches with an introduction to the couples.

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It comes weeks after AJ opened up about how she nearly quit TV for good after being branded “the black girl with the dodgy accent”.

AJ, who endured constant racist slurs as a child growing up in Blackburn, was hit by a barrage of online hate following her debut.

The abuse, which focused on her Northern accent, was so intense that Channel 4 staff advised her to get elocution lessons to help “soften” her voice.

AJ recalled: “It was brilliant but with that exposure comes a lot of pressure and a lot of criticism.

“I remember people tweeting, ‘Who is that black girl with that dodgy accent’ and, ‘Why does she sound like that?’ That made me feel so insecure (because) people were commenting on things I had no real control over.

“And it didn’t help that someone internally said, ‘AJ, we think you should get some help with your voice. Maybe you can speak clearer and we could soften your accent’.

"All of my insecurities were being reinforced by the team that were meant to be supporting me. Then, when my contract wasn’t renewed, that was tough.

“TV is one of those industries where you don’t really get told why something hasn’t worked out.

“So you are left wondering, ‘Was it my accent? Was it the way I looked?’ I didn’t work in TV for years after. It was so traumatic.

All of my insecurities were being reinforced by the team that were meant to be supporting me.

“It felt like it wasn’t my accent that was the problem, it was my accent and my appearance combined. Kind of like, ‘We can deal with a Northern accent but not a Northern accent on a black woman’.”

Speaking on the Nobody Told Me podcast, AJ went on: “Looking back, I’m so proud I’ve managed to come this far by staying true to myself and not changing. Keeping my accent, keeping my opinions, keeping my voice.”

AJ will appear on this year’s edition of Strictly alongside newly announced stars John Whaite, Robert Webb and Rhys Stephenson.

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