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Strictly's Kristina: It was love at first sight with Joe

Esme Riley
By Esme Riley Published on 3 August 2012

Kristina Rihanoff is a Strictly Come Dancing favourite - she oozes glamour, sophistication, style, talent and - probably most importantly as a Strictly Come Dancing professional - patience.

Strictly Come Dancing's Kristina Rihanoff: It was love at first sight with Joe

Kristina Rihanoff


Kristina famously partnered Strictly legend John Sargeant and consequently provided us with one of the show's highlights. The image of John pulling Kristina across the floor during their Paso Doble routine will no doubt be remembered for years to come.

But, best of all, Kristina is responsible for the greatest Strictly love story. Though her 2009 partner, boxer Joe Calzaghe, didn't show too much promise on the dance floor, he managed to sweep Kristina off her feet.

We caught up with 34-year-old Kristina as she had a full set of glam lashes fitted at London's Perfect Eyelashes.

Hi Kristina! We can't wait for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing later this year! When do you start training?

In the middle of August we start rehearsing all our group dances and learning all the amazing numbers for the series. This will be my fifth year, but I’m still so excited by it.

How did you get involved with the show?

I got into it when I stopped my competitive career, a friend of mine was a choreographer on dancing with the stars, he invited me on as a company dancer and when they started looking for the British version they asked me along, screen tested and the rest is history.

Have you got any juicy behind the scenes gossip?!

There’s honestly no time for gossiping, we’re busy stressing! You’re so busy preparing for it you and your partner are too busy to get involved in backstage gossip.

Who would be your dream celebrity dance partner and why?

I would love to work with John Barrowman again, we worked together for the Christmas special, he’s amazing, he’s a showman, he’s great at everything, but he’s incredibly busy. I would like to work with anyone who has a sense of natural rhythm, singers and actors all know how to dance. I would love to have an ex James Bond on the show, that would be a dream!

Can you sum up your following Strictly partners in one sentence.

John Sargeant...

John was fun, a natural comedienne.

Joe Calzaghe...

Joe is very passionate and there was definitely love there.


Energetic and intense.

John Barrowman...

Lots of energy, extremely energetic! Very captivating person to be around.

Jason Donovan...

Hard working and extremely talented.

What’s Brendan Cole REALLY like?! Is he that fiery all the time?

Yes! But he’s fun, we’ve just been to a wedding together, he’s very outspoken and has an opinion and I respect him for that.

So, was it love at first sight when you first saw your now boyfriend, Joe Calzaghe?

Yes, definitely. I didn’t know who he was before he came along, and I searched for him online and I was intimated by him at first, but he was extremely nice and shy to begin with.

How is Joe? How do you two keep the romance alive?

Like any relationship you have to work on it, you have to find time for each other and make sure you are interested in each other’s lives.

How's his dancing coming along?!

We don’t dance together any more, he’s given up.

Does Joe like you best glammed up in your Strictly outfits? Or does he prefer you relaxed in jeans?

I’m lucky to be with a guy that likes me feel beautiful whatever I wear, he always makes me feel beautiful if I’ve just got out of bed or if I'm glammed up for a red carpet do.

Kristina visited Perfect Eyelashes www.perfecteyelashes.co.uk where she had a set of Diamond Lightweight Lashes.

by Esme Riley

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