She’s gone from strength to strength on the hit BBC dancing competition, which will draw to a close in the hotly anticipated final on Saturday.
But it’s not always been plain sailing for soap actress Gemma Atkinson, 33, who said she had a more than a few doubtful voices telling her she wouldn’t be able to take on the challenge.
Talking exclusively to MailOnline, Gemma confessed to not feeling like she could fit into the usual Strictly mould.
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Challenge accepted: Soap star Gemma Atkinson, 33, told MailOnline that she had more than a few voices telling her she wouldn’t be able to hold her own on the dancing competition
She said: ‘Obviously I’m into training and going to the gym, I’m not your typical petite kind of dancer’s physique.
‘I’m broad, I’m tall and everyone said there’s no way you’ll ever be able to do it because you’re too muscular or because I’m too much of a tomboy and I’m too much of this.’
Of being a role-model for women who feel a similar way about their own physique, Gemma expressed that she loved being a good example for women who take on similar physical feats, such as boxing.
‘Obviously getting here is a massive achievement but I love the fact, women who perhaps do weight training or do boxing or don’t like wearing dresses at the weekends or don’t like the spray tans have said to me, ‘I’m going to try and do some dancing because you can do it’ and that’s what I like.
‘The fact that you shouldn’t be fitted into a stereotype because of your build or what you’re naturally good at or what you gravitate to as a hobby.’
Fun frollic: Gemma confessed to dance partner Alijaz that she never used to own a dress before Strictly, but said she’s glad she could be a good role model for women who feel the same way
According to OK! Magazine, The blonde beauty confessed to dance partner Aljaž Škorjanec that she was first at first sceptial about wearing dresses for the show, and even admitted to never owning one herself.
Talking to MailOnline, Gemma reiterated her fears over frocks but is glad she took on the challenge.
She said: ‘I never in a million years thought I’d have a frock on dancing, I feel more comfortable in a boxing ring but I’ve done it so I’d like to think that women who aren’t little, five foot and tiny that you can do it at my height and my build and you can enjoy it so that’s what I’ve enjoyed about it.
All smiles: Gemma surprised herself with her dancing journey, saying ‘I never in a million years thought I’d have a frock on dancing’
On winning that coveted glitterball trophy, Gemma insisted it would be ‘the icing on the cake’ but the real prize was meeting dancing pro Alijaz, and she even has plans to head to Slovenia for his birthday.
‘Obviously that would be the icing on the cake but as cheesy as it sounds cheesy, I said to my mum the glitterball for me is literally meeting Alijaz because regardless I’ve got a friend for life.
‘After the show, we’re already going to Slovenia for his birthday. We’ve got it all planned.’
Gemma stayed tight-lipped on rumoured romance with pro-dancer Gorka Marquez, who she was hotly tipped to be dating over the last few months of the show.
Confident: On winning that coveted glitterball trophy, Gemma insisted it would be ‘the icing on the cake’ but the real prize was meeting dancing pro Alijaz
Showdown: Gemma Atkinson, Joe McFadden, Alexandra Burke and Debbie McGee looked utterly determined to scoop the glitterball trophy in this weekend’s hotly-tipped Grand Final