Dani Harmer has revealed that Twitter trolls have made her feel more self-conscious about her looks since competing on Strictly Come Dancing.
The Tracey Beaker star has been performing well on the BBC show and has risen up the leaderboard each weekend.
Despite all her success Dani still gets abuse from internet trolls who constantly taunt her about her weight.
She said: “I’d always been so confident with my body. I’m a size six. But when you get tweets saying ‘you’re fat’ it hurts your feelings — massively hurts them.
People have sent messages to her saying: ‘I can really see your belly sticking out when you’re doing the tango.’ And even: ‘You’re a small fat person.’
Dani added that thinking about how she looks on screen can put her routine in jeopardy.
“Obviously, if you’re trying to perform on a Saturday night and all you’re thinking is, ‘breathe in, suck in your stomach otherwise you’re going to get negative feedback’ you’re not going to do a good performance.”
When she left the Tracey Beaker show earlier this year, after 11 years, Dani battled with depression, a condition that her mother also suffers from.
She told the Mail Online: “I think I’ve been suffering for two years but without really knowing what it was.
“I began to be unhappy about everything pretty much. I just wasn’t myself. I was irritated by the smallest of things and getting upset over really stupid stuff. I couldn’t figure out why I was randomly crying and not wanting to get out of bed and stuff.”
Doctors diagnosed her with depression but Dani said signing up to do Strictly really helped her get out of her misery.
She explained: “Doing Strictly has really helped because you haven’t got a moment to think about anything — except dance steps.
“You live in this little bubble and it completely takes over your life. I feel great at the moment. I’ve never enjoyed anything as much as Strictly.”
The Strictly star had worried so much about her body she ended up getting non-invasive liposuction on her stomach at a Harley Street clinic.
Dani said: “I went to get my teeth whitened and they offered a service where they put a vaccum on your stomach, which makes it really hot and then it goes really cold. It’s meant to freeze off the fat cells or something like that.”
The treatment, called Lipoglaze, removes stubborn areas like muffin tops by freezing fat cells.
She added: “I thought: ‘As I’m here, I might as well try it.’ I didn’t really see a massive difference, but it works for some people. Then, it got all blown out of proportion and suddenly I’d had liposuction.”
Although Dani has been struggling with her appearance, she uses her fellow contestant Lisa Riley as a source of inspiration. Dani said she looks up to Lisa as she’s older, more experienced on screen and has been through similar issues with her weight.
Lisa offered Dani some words of advice saying: “Do you know what? Just ignore it. Not everyone’s going to like you. Look, you’re a size six. I’m not. I get loads of negative stuff, but I just focus on the people wishing me luck.”
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