Strictly contestant and Love Island alumni Zara McDermott's rise to fame

From Love Island to Strictly Come Dancing: Inside Zara McDermott’s rise to fame

Of course the clip of her shouting ‘you can’ on the bench is here

Love Island alumni Zara McDermott is currently trying to dance her way to the finals on Strictly Come Dancing. She’s the first Love Island star to appear on the show, but has been up to a lot since her time on the hit dating show. From presenting serious documentaries to becoming a meme after begging for forgiveness on that bench, let’s look inside her rise to fame.

Zara’s first appearance on TV wasn’t actually on Love Island, but on the BBC series Wanted Down Under, when she was just 16. The show focused on Zara’s family as they considered whether or not to make the move to Australia, which as you may have guessed, they didn’t.

Zara entered the 2018 series of Love Island two weeks into the show, and was quickly picked by Adam Collard. But just four weeks into the show she was sent home, after the boys had to choose a girl to remove from the villa. Adam decided to stay in the villa, but the two were involved in a seven month relationship with each other after the series ended. They even went as far as to get matching tattoos together…

In October 2019 she appeared on The X Factor: Celebrity. She featured on the show as part of a group called No Love Lost alongside fellow Love Island stars Eyal Booker, Samira Mighty and Wes Nelson. They were mentored by Louis Walsh, and finished in eighth place. During her time on the show, rumours began circulating that Zara had cheated on her boyfriend, Sam Thompson, with music boss Brahim Fouradi, whilst appearing on the show.

That same month, Zara made her debut on Made In Chelsea alongside Sam Thompson. Her last appearance on the show came in December 2020, after she temporarily split with Sam. The reason for the split was because news of her affair with Brahim became public, and Zara posted a heartfelt confession on her social media about it.

Zara’s attempts to win Sam back and beg for forgiveness were obviously shown on Made In Chelsea. The now iconic conversation has now become a meme, with Zara telling Sam “you can forgive me,” whilst shedding absolutely zero tears.

The two later rekindled their romance, and have been together ever since. They even mocked Zara’s apology in an iconic TikTok together.

In February 2021, Zara appeared in her own BBC documentary, Zara McDermott: Revenge Porn, which saw her discuss the experience of having her nude photos leaked as a teenager.

She later appeared in a follow-up documentary, Zara McDermott: Uncovering Rape Culture. Since then she’s presented three other documentaries including Love In The Flesh, which featured couples who had only ever spoken online.

Zara has announced that she cannot wait to be on Strictly, saying, “I am so excited to be joining the world of Strictly! I grew up watching it every year with my nan and she was the biggest Strictly fan. We would dance around the house and I have such fond memories of that time in my life.”

“I even remember the first-ever series, and being mesmerised by all the beautiful dresses! I can’t wait to throw myself into this experience and start training. It’s going to be incredible.”

You can watch Love Island alumni Zara on Strictly Come Dancing, which continues on BBC One on Saturdays. Watch the series so far on BBC iPlayer

For all the latest Love Island news and gossip and for the best memes and quizzes, like The Holy Church of Love Island on Facebook.

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