Dani Harmer opens up about being fat-shamed during her 'Strictly Come Dancing' run

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3 min read
Dani Harmer attends The British Academy Children's Awards 2018. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Dani Harmer attends The British Academy Children's Awards 2018. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)

Ahead of her return to the TV role of Tracy Beaker, actor Dani Harmer has revealed she was repeatedly called “fat” when she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2012.

Harmer shot to fame in 2002 as the title character in Jacqueline Wilson adaptation The Story of Tracy Beaker and is set to reprise the role in the new series My Mum Tracy Beaker.

The 31-year-old star finished fourth in the BBC dance competition with dance partner Vincent Simone, but told Radio Times she received “so many messages” telling her she was fat, despite the fact she was just a size six at the time.

Read more: Mark Wright slams body-shaming trolls

“I was like: ‘Holy moly, if I’m fat, God knows what other people must be thinking if they’re bigger than me’. That must be just horrible,” she said.

Dani Harmer and Vincent Simone in the 2012 series of 'Strictly Come Dancing'. (Credit: BBC)
Dani Harmer and Vincent Simone in the 2012 series of 'Strictly Come Dancing'. (Credit: BBC)

Harmer added: “I can think of things really logically and be like, obviously, I’m not fat, that’s ridiculous.

“This person, obviously, is just bored, or has something wrong with their life that they feel like this is the only way they can get some validation and I actually feel sorry for them.

“So I can kind of put it logically, I guess. But yeah, for kids it must be so hard.”

Read more: Kate Thornton sends message to body-shamed X Factor contestant

Harmer said it has become much easier for people to openly discuss mental health since then, especially on social media.

Watch: James Corden speaks up about body shaming

She added: “People are being a bit more honest on their social media pages and using them a bit more responsibly.

“So hopefully we’re coming out the other side of it now.”

Read more: Love Island star appointed mental health ambassador

Harmer is excited to return to the role of Tracy Beaker again, especially as both she and the character have now become mothers.

She said: “I just think I was like everyone else – I was just a bit of fan.

“I just really wanted to know what Tracy was up to, where she was going, what was happening with her.”

Dani Harmer in 'The Story of Tracy Beaker'. (Credit: BBC)
Dani Harmer in 'The Story of Tracy Beaker'. (Credit: BBC)

The original run of The Story of Tracy Beaker aired between 2002 and 2005 on CBBC and remains a cult hit.

Harmer returned to the role for Tracy Beaker Returns from 2010 until 2012 and made a brief appearance in spin-off show The Dumping Ground.

Read more: Jacqueline Wilson comes out as gay

“It’s been such a lovely experience growing up on camera and especially playing Tracy – there’s never a dull moment,” she said.

In total, Wilson’s series of Tracy Beaker books have sold more than 1.37 million copies.

Watch: Jacqueline Wilson cameos in A Christmas Gift from Bob