Strictly Come Dancing's Maisie Smith may have won Strictly's 2019 Children in Need special, but the star insists that doesn't give her an edge over her celebrity counterparts.
The 19-year-old EastEnders actress, who plays Tiffany Butcher in the BBC soap, lifted the Glitterball Trophy to victory with professional dance partner Kevin Clifton, who has since stepped down from the show.
"I mean five days back in September [last year] - I don't think that's prepared me for what's about to come," Maisie told Goodhousekeeping.com/uk and other press. "It helps me in a way - I understand how much hard work you have to put in and how many hours, but I'm still not ready."
Maisie will be following a long list of EastEnders stars who have taken part in the competition and entertained us on the dance-floor - last year's finalist was Emma Barton, who plays Honey Mitchell. She revealed that her colleagues have been incredibly supportive and encouraging, and joked that Jack Branning actor Scott Maslen's advice was the most doable.
"Scott Maslen told me: 'You're going to lose a lot of weight so keep eating,'" she revealed. "And I was like: 'That's fine, I can do that'. If there's one thing I can do, it's keep eating!
She continued: "My co-stars say it's amazing but they said it took it out of them. Be prepared for the long days. I'm looking forward to it. It's something different. During lockdown I wasn't doing anything. It's a nice change."
Maisie also disclosed that she is the most excited about wearing all of the sequinned costumes and looking glamorous in fake tan - particularly as her EastEnders character Tiffany has had the same look for about three years.
"At work my character's look is pretty much the same, and it has been for the last three years so it will be exciting to now look glamorous every single weekend," she said. "And because of lockdown, I haven't looked good since February, and now I can look good all the time!"
And on how far she's hoping to get in the competition, Maisie added: "I'm going in all guns blazing - I'm in it to win it! No, I mean of course it would be amazing to win, but as long as I'm in it for a decent amount of time, I'm happy. If I get to week 3, I'll be fulfilled."
Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One from 17 October.
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