SHIRLEY Ballas has revealed she was "almost not eating" and shrank to a size 6 while judging Strictly Come Dancing alongside Darcey Bussell.
The 60-year-old joined the BBC One dancing show in 2017 as head judge, taking her seat alongside former prima ballerina Darcey, 51, on the panel.
But Darcey admits she was soon intimidated by "beautiful" Darcey who was "so slender, so tall and so graceful".
And so envious of the ballerina's figure, Shirley starved herself and took "extra steps" to make sure she didn't look like a "fuddy duddy" next to Darcey who is almost ten years her junior.
"To get super thin as I did in 2017 on Strictly, and drop down to a size 6, it was hard work," Shirley told Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time.
"It was almost not eating. I cannot and will not do that to myself again."
But Shirley admits the intimidation was "in my own head" as Darcey seemed "everything I wasn't" with her "big, long legs".
"I was going on with this most beautiful woman who I had admired," she continued.
"And she seemed (in my own mind) everything I wasn’t.
"So I took those extra steps to make sure the dress was hanging right and the make up was right and the hair was right."
Shirley insists she wasn't in "competition" with Darcey but with herself to "not let anyone down".
"I didn’t want anyone to think here’s a woman in her late 50s all fuddy duddy," she said.
"She had big, long legs and she’d do the splits."
After Darcey left the show, Shirley says she felt more comfortable in her own skin.
"I think after she left I just thought: ‘Ok, I can just be myself,'" she said.
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But despite Darcey's insecurities, she forged a friendship with the ballerina.
"She was lovely, she took my hand, she was very encouraging," Shirley said.
"I missed her when she left."