Aljaž skorjanec, 28
What do people say to you when they recognise you in the street?
It’s always the same: “You’re my favourite.” I know they only say it because it was a Brucie catchphrase, but I still believe it.
Any unusual encounters with fans?
With Janette [Manrara, 35, Aljaž’s wife and fellow Strictly dancer] every single day – she’s my biggest fan.
What’s it like working with Janette?
I love it, but we probably see each other the least on Strictly. We rehearse with our celebrities 24/7, and can’t wait to get home and see each other.
Do you ever argue?
Of course, every couple has their ups and downs. We argue most when we’re rehearsing together – I’m 6ft tall and she’s 5ft, so it can get very frustrating.
How do you keep the romance alive?
We don’t have to try – it’s always there. But we do have date nights. When Janette was eliminated we went to a hotel and had a night off together.
Are kids on the horizon?
I hope so – we both love them. My little sister has just had a baby girl and she’s making me really broody. I’d have five if Janette will let me, but it’s up to her!
How do you stay grounded?
By remembering where I came from. I’m from a tiny town in Slovenia and I try to go home as much as possible to see my family and mates.
Who’s your favourite judge?
They each bring something different – Shirley is knowledgeable, Bruno is all about performance, Darcey is the classy one, and Craig is theatrical. It wouldn’t be the same without any of them.
Which professionals like to party?
During the week we spend all our time with the celebrities, so we all like to have a drink on a Saturday night. The girls are always last on the dance floor, but I’m normally the one turning off the lights at the end of the night.
Is it strange without Brendan Cole?
Absolutely, he was a huge personality, and everyone misses him.
What do the boys do backstage?
We have our own dressing room and sometimes bring in a PlayStation to play FIFA. It gets pretty competitive.
Giovanni Pernice, 28
Which Strictly partners have you stayed in touch with?
All of them, but I’m particularly close with Debbie McGee. We’re both very busy, but we catch up. I recently introduced her to Faye [Tozer, his dancing partner], which was lovely.
Do you get recognised a lot?
People recognise my face not just because I’m on television, but because I’m beautiful. I’m pretty modest, too! The weirdest thing is when people come up to me and think I’m Gino D’Acampo.
Who’s the most vain person on the show?
Me. I always have a spray tan – I go for Venetian, which is really dark, and I’m particular about my hair. It’s important to me to get it right before I go on stage.
Of all the professionals, whose dancing do you envy the most?
That’s silly, I’m the best dancer!
Do you have a lucky charm?
I always wear my grandad’s ring. He gave it to me when I was little, as well as my gold necklace and stud earrings. If I don’t have those things on, you’ll find me freaking out backstage.
Who is your dream dance partner?
I’d love to dance with the Queen – because she’s popular she’d get a lot of votes. And she’s quite good-looking too, so why not?
What’s going on between you and Ashley Roberts?
We’re just good friends, nothing more. She’s an amazing dancer and person, but we’re not dating. I’m single and ready to mingle.
Are dancers better in bed?
I don’t know about dancers, but I can tell you about Italian stallions – if you haven’t been with one before then trust me, you should try it.
You were pictured arguing with your ex Jess Wright at the Pride of Britain Awards. What went on?
It was the first time we’d seen each other after we broke up earlier this year and it was a normal argument between two people who have split. It happens, that’s life – we’re fine now.
Are you ready to settle down?
I don’t think so because I’m really busy working on my touring show
at the moment, but never say never. If love comes into my life, of course I’m open to it, but I’m enjoying focusing on work right now.
Gorka MÁrquez, 28
What’s been your personal Strictly highlight?
My love story with Gemma [Atkinson, 34]. I never imagined I’d meet someone on the show. I’ve got a job to do and that’s that, but something special happened when I met her.
Does she ever get jealous of all the female attention you get?
I don’t think she does. Gemma is very confident in herself and, to be honest, I’m the lucky one being with her. She has nothing to worry about.
What is the most unusual piece of fan mail you’ve received?
Toys and collars for Gemma’s dogs. No one cares about me any more!
Why do you think there’s a Strictly Curse?
I don’t think it’s limited to Strictly. You can be working in an office, at Tesco, or on a movie – it happens. Usually, the people involved are unhappy or have relationship problem.
Are dancers better in bed?
Well, Gemma’s very happy, so yes!
Tell us a Strictly secret…
It’s hard to keep a secret on Strictly! But every Saturday night before the show, we get Domino’s – we have about 50 pizzas. I don’t eat it though. Check out my six-pack for why…
What was it like being partnered with Katie Piper this year?
Meeting Katie was amazing, she’s such an inspirational person. Her approach to life after everything she’s been through is incredible. We got close and we’ll stay in touch.
Is the UK home now?
Yes, I love it – I just wish it was a bit sunnier. I have a great job and my partner is here, so I’m not leaving.
Is Gemma The One?
We’ll see, but I hope so. Everything is going in the right direction. She makes me a very happy man.
Does your family like her?
She’s spoken to them on FaceTime and my mum and dad love her. And her family has really welcomed me.
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for her?
Earlier this year, I was in Spain and she was in Manchester. We’d been apart for 10 days and I missed her, so I got on a plane to surprise her. I messaged her at 3am saying: “See you in a few hours,” and I was at her front door at 8am.
● Watch Strictly Come Dancing, tonight, BBC1.
- Photography: Mark Hayman
- Grooming: Sara Bowden using Giorgio Armani skincare and beauty
- Styling: Lynne Mckenna & Nana Acheampong
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