Kristina Rihanoff Kristina Rihanoff

Welcome to my new blog!

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my HELLO! Online blog!

Each week I’ll be sharing my Strictly diary and give you all a glimpse of the show and our dance routines from the inside – I can’t wait! I’ll especially be talking about my rehearsals with Daniel O’Donnell, my celebrity partner for this year, and posting photos of us from the studio. I’ll also be writing about my social life, what I get up to with my friends, family and boyfriend Ben – so I hope you like it!

When I found out I’d be dancing with Daniel, I was delighted. He’s a massive star in the UK and Ireland and also in the US and has so many fans. Having Daniel this year is quite different because last year I had Simon Webbe, who is also a singer, but he was more into hip hop and younger music. Daniel is definitely a beginner and he’s learning from scratch!

He is very excited to do the show. He actually took a year off to be with his wife Majella. They were going through a difficult time because of her breast cancer, so he decided to dedicate that year to just the two of them. The offer to do Strictly actually came halfway through and he wasn’t going to do it, but then Majella convinced him to do it because she’s a big fan of the show. I think he’s doing the show really for her – I’ve met her before, she’s such a lovely person and 1000% behind us which is great.


The first dance we’re doing is the waltz. I think it’s the perfect dance for Daniel and I. It’s very traditional and we’re doing it to a beautiful song, which I can’t reveal just yet! But let’s just say his Irish fans will be very happy with our song choice. It’s a sunny, sunny beautiful song. I can’t wait for you to see us dance on Friday night – I hope people will enjoy our waltz! Daniel worked so hard!!

It’s so nice to teach Daniel. He’s so dedicated and just wants to do well for himself, for his fans but also Majella. He’s thrown himself into the world of ballroom dancing. He says he’s so into it that he constantly thinks about dancing, his steps, the routine – even when he sleeps! He said sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night at four or five o’clock and starts rehearsing his little steps. He’s definitely in full-on dancing mode. He’s been Strictlyfied!

It’s so funny because it reminds me of myself in my early days, when I was competing. I would wake up in the middle of the night and think about my steps and how to perfect my routine. I know Daniel’s shoulders are aching and his elbows are tired – bless him! But he is working very, very hard and we have a great rapport. Both of us are looking out for each other.


My mum is coming to the first show. I’ve spoken quite openly about how my mum’s had a breast cancer scare. Luckily, she’s all clear now but obviously that worry is always there. So I do understand where Daniel is coming from with his wife Majella, and I can’t wait for my mum to meet her. It will be lovely to have both of them supporting us in the studio. We’ll be dedicating that waltz to the two of them!

On top of that we have to rehearse for the professional dances, we have a lot of unusual props and costumes and that’s what makes Strictly bigger and better every year. We have an absolutely incredible choreographer Jason who’s been on the show for a few years. I think the viewers will be very surprised by some great, great concepts! It’s been hard work with some early starts and lots of group and individual rehearsals, and we don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to get everything done, but we manage somehow!


Also this week, I had the most incredible birthday dinner at Mint Leaf restaurant. It’s one of  my favourite restaurants in London and the food is exceptional! It was great to have everyone I love at the dinner and also my mum flew in on my birthday! It was really special!

I’d love to hear your comments and any questions you may have! Please feel free to tweet me (@KRihanoff) and @hellomag questions using the hashtag #HELLOKristina and each week I’ll choose one to answer.

All my love,
Kristina x

P.S. Check out my new blog about wellbeing, beauty and fitness by clicking on the link below:

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