Strictly judge and latin supremo Shirley Ballas will make her much anticipated debut when the hit dance show returns for its new series on September 8th. And while loyal fans will no doubt be scrutinising the 56-year-old’s every critique and scorecard wave – they may surprised to learn the reason why she’s already earned her place on the judging panel.
Opening up about the moment her 79-year-old mother Audrey saw her daughter hit the big time while on set during the series recording, she says, “At one little point I did or said something and my mum had a tear in her eye and so we both had a little tear together,” Shirley says.
“I was raised by a single mum so that part was a little overwhelming, with my mummy saying ‘you did good, girl’.”Despite being left to raise then toddlers Shirley and her late brother David alone when husband George walked out on the family, Audrey was determined to see them succeed. Working all the hours she could Audrey stood fast to her vision of seeing Shirley become a dancer and move away from life on the tough Leasowe council estate in Wallasey, Merseyside.
“She had to go to work to make sure I could do it,” Shirley revealed. “But later, when I got into a position where she could go, she came to everything.”
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And after a successful career that has spanned almost 40 years, Shirley couldn’t wait to express her gratitude to the mum she shares such a close bond with.
“We are so close. It’s beyond anything… she’s my life,” Shirley says.
“I’m so grateful that I’m able to do this in a country that she loves, on a show that she sits and watches every week. I could never, ever give enough back to her, ever. She’s just an amazing human being.”