Find the perfect dress for every occasion...
Actress Zakeeya Patel is the new Strictly Come Dancing champion.
Patel, who was partnered by professional dancer Ryan Hammond, prevailed in an epic showdown last night against TV personality Lalla Hirayama.
The intense competition seemed to bring out the best in both celebrity dancers, but it was Patel who won the judges over in the final dance-off.
"Every week was a challenge to improve on ourselves. How can we give more? Do more? Work harder? But most importantly we never wanted to stop having fun!” she said.
“My fans have brought me to tears on several occasions with their fierce support. I have been completely surprised and overwhelmed by the love, support and generosity I have experienced. I am truly blessed to have this kind of unwavering support.”
Patel’s scores in the finale, which included a two perfect scorecards for her dances, are also a reflection of the skill and tutelage of her partner Hammond, and Patel reserved a special thank you for him.
“This has been one of the most amazing journeys in my career. Besides learning how to dance I have learnt so much about myself: how to be a little more patient, how to be open and brave, how to let go of the things that limit me- both physically and mentally and how to focus my mind even under extreme pressure. For Ryan, my partner, I am extremely grateful! He is an incredible human being who has been the most generous partner, friend and mentor. He pushed me, supported me and believed in me every single step of the way. The biggest lesson I can take away from Strictly Come Dancing is that the harder you work, the luckier you get- it really is as simple as that.”