Nikita Kanda is one of the stars competing on the Strictly dancefloor this autumn.
The 28-year-old radio star, who hails from Birmingham, was announced to participate in this year’s series of the BBC competition in August.
Speaking ahead of the show starting, she said: “I can’t believe I’m going to be on Strictly. This is a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself. I don’t think it will properly sink in until I step onto the dancefloor. I can’t wait to get glammed up and get out there. Throw the glitter on me!”
Kanda is the host of BBC Asian Network’s breakfast show, having previously joined the station in 2021 presenting a slot on Saturday afternoons. She won the role as permanent breakfast show host after becoming a hit with listeners thanks to successful interviews with stars including singer Akon and Bake Off winner Nadia Hussein.
Kanda has previously said of working in radio: “It’s the only job that I have ever jumped out of bed at 4am for because I love radio. Every day is different you never know what you’re going to get.”
She said her producers refer to her energetic presenting style as “Kanda Chaos”, adding: “Over the last few months, the listeners have become my best friends. I don’t know what I would do without them as they provide the endless daily laughs and banter and are the main focus of the show.”
Kanda, who studied film and screen media at university, is also known by TV viewers for having hosted regular reports on weekday series The One Show. Her broadcasting career began after she scored a role on Zee TV, and then hosted the drive time show on Asian Star 101.6FM.
The DJ also had roles in West End productions of The Wiz, Bugsy Malone, Annie and Pocahontas and, in 2019, she appeared on the final series of Paddy McGuinness’s ITV show Take Me Out as one of the 30 women presented with a man to potentially date.
Speaking to the BBC about being on Strictly, Kanda said she was “so nervous about dancing live on national TV”, but that she wanted to channel her inner Olivia Newton John to “be a little bit like Sandy” from Grease.
“I feel like going to bring the sass, the spice – I’m going to bring a bit of my culture,” she said, adding: “I’m definitely going to bring that Asian flavour to Strictly this year.”
She named Rose Ayling-Ellis, the EastEnders star who won the show in 2021, as her favourite ever Strictly contestant.
Kanda also revealed that former contestant, Countryfile presenter Anita Rani, had been in touch with her to offer her advice. “As soon as she found out, she texted me straight away like, ‘Go on girl, we’re rooting for you. Go out and have fun.’ I think that’s everyone’s advice to go out and have fun,” she said.
Other DJs who have participated on Strictly Come Dancing include Scott Mills in 2014, Vick Hope in 2018 and, in 2022, Tyler West.
Strictly Come Dancing airs every Saturday from 16 September on BBC One.