Strictly Come Dancing star Maisie Smith’s mother has shared her concern that the teenager has been left ‘upset and vulnerable’ while taking part in the show.
At 19-years-old, Maisie – who stars on BBC soap EastEnders – is the youngest contestant of the 2020 Strictly competition.
While the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced the usual audience of friends and family to be removed from the show – meaning stars and professional dancers do not have the same level of support that they would normally be able to rely on.
For the past two weeks, Maisie and her dance partner, Gorka Márquez, 30, have been placed in the bottom two - but saved by the judges following a dance off.
However, Maisie’s mum Julia fears her daughter is struggling with the pressures of being on the show – and not being able to turn to her family for support.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mrs Smith said: “As a parent, it's not about her winning, it's not about her being at the top of the leaderboard in my eyes, in my opinion. It's seeing my daughter upset and vulnerable.
“In the early days me and my husband were allowed to sit in the audience …and she would look over and we would give her a big thumbs-up and she said she misses that.
“Knowing that we're nowhere near, I feel her vulnerability, so it has been quite tearful.”
Mrs Smith went on to explain the show has been giving her sleepless nights as she worries for her young daughter.
She continued: “The last couple of weekends have been …you know, I didn't sleep on Sunday night. I was up for three hours just pacing around in the night, thinking, 'How can I help her?'
“If it was any other year but Covid year, it could be so much better that she would come home, I'd cook her a nice meal with all her vegetables and we'd talk it through, and it would all be OK.”
Earlier this week, Maisie revealed she has received words of encouragement from former Strictly champ Kevin Clifton following her shock near eliminations.
She told This Morning on Wednesday: "I've had so many messages from previous Strictly contestants and even Kevin just saying, 'Don't take it personally, don't worry about this, this happens to everyone on the show'.
"Everyone goes through up and downs so I'm not letting it get to me. We are still here and we're going to power through."
This weekend, Maisie and Gorka shall be dating the Quickstep to Andy Williams’ When You’re Smiling.