Jayde Adams on labels, diversity and Strictly abuse from ‘nice women called Barbara’

Jayde Adams

Strictly Come Dancing’s Jayde Adams says seeing the volume of abuse levelled at women during her time on the BBC series was “eye-opening”.

The comedian and variety performer made headlines in a same-sex pairing with Karen Hauer in the 2022 Strictly line-up.

The duo had a memorable stint on the reality dancing competition, from iconic routines to Adams’ beautiful tribute to her late sister.

The pair were voted out after a five-week run on the show – but not before Adams faced vile harassment across social media and harmful fatphobic rhetoric.

“I think I’m a little less naive about how hard it is out there for women on TV,” she tells PinkNews, looking back at her time on the show.

Adams admits she checked the #StrictlyComeDancing hashtag on social media every weekend, which led to her hitting back at trolls with iconic tweets.

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“As a comedian, it is important to me to know what the world is like at the moment, because I can make the best comedy out of that,” she explains.

Strictly fans didn’t like that about me. They hated the fact that I clapped back but I am not taking anything lying down.

“Because there’s one thing I do lying down and it ain’t listening to bullies.”

Spending time on social media reading and replying to trolls taught her a lot, especially about where the hate is stemming from.

“I think a lot of people think it’s just straight white men who talk about cancel culture and free speech. It’s not,” she says.

“It’s nice women called Barbara who live on the Isle of Wight and do water-colouring. It’s people that have ‘Save Ukraine’ and #BeKind in their bios. 

“It’s all the people who sit at home on the weekend and watch Strictly and for some reason have these moments of anger.”

Adams first entered the comedy scene after the death of her sister Jenna in 2011, who she grew up dancing with, making the Strictly experience all the more meaningful. 

One of her performances, an American smooth dance to “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler, was dedicated to her older sister – and was a particularly emotional week for her. 

“That [week] was quite tough and it actually made my mom cry because people were so mean about me and specifically about my sister,” she says.

“That was, that was a very, very hard week. But had I not had therapy I would not have been able to cope with it.”

As for how reality TV and Strictly can do a better job protecting their contestants, particularly the women, the performer is still figuring it out. 

“There’s no stone unturned, you’ll find something about everyone. If a woman is attractive you know what happens. She gets sent p***ses in her DMs.

“I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know how reality TV shows are going to fix it at all.”

As a plus-sized woman entering into a same-sex partnership on Strictly, Jayde Adams has seen the other side to what diversifying reality TV means and gives a warning.

“The more representation you get on that show [Strictly], the less certain people are going to like it, people don’t like change.

“Of course more representation is fantastic. However, whoever gets the opportunity to do it, best have all of their ducks in a row and a great support network behind them, full of loads of friends who can take the piss out of the really intense stuff, which is what I’ve got.”

Entering a same-sex pairing sparked discourse over whether Adams identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community – something she is not impressed with. 

“I really hope to live in a world where we don’t have to have labels. I find them boring. 

“I want us to be in a society where we’re all able to just be who we want to be without there being a conversation about it. If Harry Styles can be ambiguous then so can I,” she remarks.

She pointed to Kit Connor, the Heartstopper star who was forced to come out as bisexual after relentless online accusations of queerbaiting. 

“He’s a young boy who doesn’t know who or what he is yet. Maybe hadn’t even come out to his family yet, or anything like that. And everyone was just on at him all the time. And this community is meant to be more accepting than others?” She adds.

As for her own sexuality, Adams clarifies she has always had an affinity with the LGBTQ+ community.

Jayde Adams. (Jordan Rossi for HUNGER)
Laughter guaranteed: Jayde Adams. (HUNGER/Jordan Rossi)

It was the community that “first accepted” Adams when she moved to London and was one of the first people to perform with drag troupe Sink The Pink, unpaid in a brothel.

“People were questioning me ‘one minute she’s straight, then she’s gay, then she’s not married and then she’s married’ and I really enjoyed it. So that’s my answer… I am Harry Styles.”

As Jayde Adams leaves the Strictly bubble she is ready to get back into Variety performance and is ending the year in style with The Clapham Grand New Year’s Eve Party

Joined by Black Peppa, The Vivienne, Tia Kofi and more, Adams is ready to party the night away.

“This show is gonna be very funny. And what’s a better way to send out this crazy year that we’ve had, than with a load of people being incredibly funny about it?” she asks.

Outside of bonding with The Vivienne, who will appear on Dancing On Ice, over their shared attitude to taking down trolls, Adams is booked and busy. 

She’s kicking off the new year with filming for her new series, Ruby Speaking, about a Bristolian call centre worker tackling loneliness with grit and humour. 

She also has the release of her Take That musical Greatest Days, a slot in Graham Norton’s Variety show and of course, her own tour to be getting on with. 

Despite the trolls and rigorous days “in hindsight, I’m going to be nothing but pleased that I did it”, Adams says about Strictly and teases: “I can’t wait to start writing a new show about it.”

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