Strictly: Janette Manrara dances to open It Takes Two
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Janette Manrara joined the cast of Strictly Come Dancing in 2013 as a professional dancer and is now the host of spin off show It Takes Two. The 37-year-old has since admitted that the offer to star in the BBC dancing show came at the perfect time for her, in terms of both her career and her personal life.
Janette is married to fellow pro Aljaž Škorjanec, with the Slovenian dancer joining the line-up in the same year as his now-wife.
At the time, the couple were dating and “so in love,” the Miami-born star said.
Janette and Aljaž, 31, were seeing each other every day and starring in live dancing show Burn The Floor in the West End.
Unfortunately, the production was about to take a break for a year, leaving the pair concerned about their future.
Without work they would be unable to apply for a working visa to stay in London together.
In a new interview, Janette said she worried if they could survive a long-distance relationship, if she returned to America and Aljaž to Slovenia.
“We were worrying about how we were going to make it work,” she told Jennie Becker on her Sliding Doors podcast.
Thankfully, the producers of Strictly were in the audience that night and asked the duo to apply for the show.
Janette never thought she would land the gig as she was not as experienced with competitions as her spouse, but all of her problems were solved when they were both offered the job.
“We both got it,” she said. “It was honestly… getting Strictly Come dancing was just the biggest and most incredible thing, not just for my career but for my personal life and for my marriage with Aljaz.
“Because, if it wasn’t for Strictly, I don’t know if we would have been able to work through that hard long distance thing.”
“It was a beautiful dream come true.”
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“I don’t know what it would have meant for us,” she added, reflecting on the past.
Janette and Aljaž tied the knot in 2017.
While the former is presenting It Takes Two, her husband is on the main show, dancing with Dragon’s Den star Sara Davies.
The Strictly couple found themselves at the bottom of the leaderboard on week one, but made an impressive recovery the following week.
Their Foxtrot to Dream A Little Dream Of Me by Cass Elliot on Saturday was awarded 34 points from the judges and put them at the top of the table.
They avoided the first elimination of 2021, which saw EastEnders star Nina Wadia and her partner Neil Jones leave the competition.
Following her presenting debut, Janette said she was “still pinching herself” and “loved every second”.
Aljaž said he was so proud of his wife and watched with tears of joy.
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