So unfortunate AJ Odudu admits Strictly exit hurt as she issues update on horror injury

Strictly’s AJ Odudu says she ‘cried for days’ after show exit

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AJ Odudu, 34, was left heartbroken when she was forced to pull out of Strictly ahead of the hotly-anticipated final last year. She admitted being “deeply upset” when she tore a ligament in her ankle, meaning she was unable to walk without crutches.

Paired with Kai Widdrington, many fans of the show had expected the incredible dancer to win the Glitterball trophy. 

Seven months on, AJ opened up on her recovery.

“My foot is well and truly on the mend and, although it was so unfortunate that I had to pull out of the final, Strictly Come Dancing was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. 

The presenter said at the time: “I’m deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle.

“Learning to dance over the last 13 weeks has been an incredible honour and to do it alongside someone as special, patient and devoted as Kai is something I’ll treasure forever.

“Thank you to the Strictly family for the experience, the medical team for trying to get me back on my feet and mostly, to everyone at home for watching and supporting. You’ve made this experience one to remember.”

In our exclusive chat, AJ discussed why it’s so important for more young people from diverse backgrounds to consider getting into the farming industry.

The star has teamed up with McDonald’s to encourage more young people from different backgrounds to consider a career in the food and farming industry, and challenge misconceptions people may have about these jobs. 

“The Progressive Young Farmer campaign fits really naturally with one of my own passions – which is the belief that everyone should be able to find a career they really enjoy and should have the opportunity to pursue absolutely any role, regardless of background,” she said.

“So, when McDonald’s asked me to support this campaign, which is all about encouraging more young people, from diverse backgrounds to consider a career in the food and farming industry, I jumped at the opportunity!”

The star revealed there are “loads” of misconceptions about careers in farming, as lots of young people don’t believe they have the right skills, or that they will find job satisfaction. 

“But after spending time on a farm recently with some of the McDonald’s Progressive Young Farmers I’ve seen what these careers are really like,” she added.

“There are so many diverse and varied roles in food and farming, that there are roles to suit any skillset. 

“I’ve also learned just how rewarding these jobs can be, with tons of opportunities to progress and develop your skills.”

And AJ believes it’s so important that people from a diverse range of backgrounds are able to get into the industry.

“The farming industry is evolving so fast, and it needs more people with diverse skills to support and drive change,” she said.

“The best innovations come from diverse thinking and perspectives, so the talent pipeline into the farming industry has to be more than just people who come from traditional farming backgrounds.

“There are loads of opportunities out there for people to take advantage of. Like the McDonald’s ‘Root2Food programme’ which gives young people from non-traditional farming backgrounds experience within the industry – so anyone can get stuck in.” 

Speaking about her own TV career, AJ admitted that despite her success, she still sometimes struggles with imposter’s syndrome. 

“I think we all face imposter syndrome, regardless of the industry you’re in, be it at work or in our daily lives,” she said.

“What’s important to remember is that you can only do your best and that your best is always going to be good enough.”

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