Clara Amfo reveals Strictly Come Dancing has inspired her to take dance lessons

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Clara Amfo’s career has gone from strength to strength over the past year. Along with her job on Radio 1, she’s been busy hosting some big events, including the Baftas and The Brits, bringing us all the live action from backstage.

Clara reveals she still has pinch-me moments “all the time” and says she finds her job “surreal”. “The minute I’m over meeting people, then I shouldn’t be doing this job,” she says.

When she’s not working, Clara enjoys spending time at her flat in London and stays active by going on bike rides and runs. The presenter also tells us she’s hoping to get back into a dance studio soon to hone her skills, following her stint on Strictly Come Dancing last year.

Here, Clara, 37, opens up about her time on the hit show, the advice she’d give her younger self and what she’s got planned for the future…

Hi Clara! It’s been a busy year for you. How have you found it?

I’ve been extremely fortunate that I’ve still had a routine when it comes to going in to do radio and that’s been a saving grace. But, at the same time, I look forward to coming home like anyone else does. Our homes are where you find peace, whether you’ve had a great day or a not-so-great day. But yeah, lockdown has been a lot of things. It’s been joyous, there have been moments of sadness and moments of extreme happiness – and I think it’s OK to normalise all of those things. I don’t think anybody is coming out of lockdown thinking, “That was a great time.”

What’s your favourite thing about working on Radio 1?

The listeners. Something just shifted in lockdown, I think. All of our lives changed and I think people approached radio differently. From both sides – broadcasters and listeners. It felt like togetherness and that’s been one of my favourite things.

You’re taking over from Annie Mac as the host of Future Sounds…

I’m so excited! Obviously, naturally, I’m nervous, but she’s a really good friend and she was so lovely when they announced it was me taking over.

Did you know from a young age you wanted to work in radio?

I think so. I was always into music and popular culture. I was obsessed withmusic channels and radio. I used to sit
in my room and make fake radio shows. I think every radio presenter has that guilty side of them. I say guilty, but I say that with pride. I’d lock myself in my room for two or three hours a day and be like, “Hi, I’m Clara.” And then it actually became a job.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?

My ideal night in is binge-watching telly. I can happily sit on my sofa all day and watch, like, 13 episodes of a show and feel absolutely no shame. I also love to get outside. I’ve really enjoyed going for really long cycles on my bike. I love running. I was also going to challenge myself to learn how to cook properly this year because you all saw what happened with MasterChef. I need to improve the cooking skills, that’s for sure.

You also did Strictly last year. Have you kept up the dancing?

I spoke to Aljaž [Škorjanec] and Janette [Manrara] recently and I was saying to them I want to dance so badly. I wanted to go to classes but all the studios have been shut. But now they’re starting to reopen, I’m going to investigate getting back into it. I’ve always loved dance and theatre, but as an observer never as a doer. Everyone gets super emotionally involved in Strictly. Even though I speak to popstars week in week out, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a passionate fanbase as the Strictly fans. I’d do the show again in a heartbeat.

Do you ever have pinch-me moments?

All the time. The great thing about doing this job is that it really normalises well-known people quite quickly. People are just doing the same things as you – they’re following their jobs and their passions. But it is really surreal. Just meeting people and you’re like, “Wow, you made that song.” I never want that feeling to go. The minute I’m over meeting people, then I shouldn’t be doing this job.

What would you tell your younger self?

Just don’t doubt yourself. Doubting yourself is natural, but don’t believe the negative things you tell yourself. Everything you’re doing is exactly what’s right for you. We shouldn’t always judge ourselves and define ourselves by other people’s expectations.

What’s on your bucket list?

I think there are some books to be written, for sure. I’ve always wanted my own production company and to produce telly shows. And I want to travel – the world is such a big and beautiful place.

You’re the Dulux Colour Of The Year ambassador. Tell us about that…

I love how authoritative that sounds, by the way – I’m in charge of all colours of the world! [Laughs] I can’t imagine a world in just black and white. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy monochrome but I live for brightness. It changes your mood. If I’m having a rubbish day or I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I will purposely wear something bright to put me in a good mood.

Clara Amfo is the Dulux Colour of the Year Ambassador for Brave Ground. See dulux.co.uk.

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