Shirley Ballas was "almost not eating" before 'Strictly Come Dancing' in 2017.

Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas

The 60-year-old dancer has revealed the unhealthy lengths she went to in order to look good next to ex-'Strictly' star Darcey Bussell.

Shirley told the 'White Wine Question Time' podcast: "To get super thin as I did in 2017 on 'Strictly', and drop down to a size six, it was hard work ... I was almost not eating. I cannot and will not do that to myself again."

Shirley admitted to feeling intimidated by the prospect of being compared to the "tall" and "beautiful" Darcey.

She said: "I was going on [TV] with this most beautiful woman who I had admired, and she seemed [in my 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 has actually felt more comfortable since Darcey announced she was quitting the show.

The dancer explained: "I think after she left I just thought: 'Ok, I can just be myself.'"

Meanwhile, Shirley previously admitted she felt anxious before making her first appearance on 'Strictly'.

She shared: "It was a tough journey because I had to learn about TV, and I’ve got so many walls up that I tend to keep everybody out so it was breaking down the walls so people can see the real person. That was a challenge in itself.

"So all in all, it wasn’t just a walk in, put your dress on and go. I had to do a lot of mental preparation, understanding myself, could I share myself, could I share myself with the British public and that was what was more challenging."

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