‘I don’t think things would have played out the same way if I was white’: Anita Rani admits she wonders if she would have made the Strictly final if she ‘didn’t have a brown face’
Anita Rani has revealed she sometimes wonders if she would have made it to the final of Strictly Come Dancing if she ‘didn’t have a brown face’.
The TV presenter, 43, took part in the 2015 series of the show where she was partnered with Gleb Savchenko and reached the semi-finals.
Speaking to Radio Times, Anita admitted there have been many times in her career where she thinks things wouldn’t have played out how they did if she was white.
Discussing Strictly, she said: ‘I still find myself wondering whether I would have got into the final if I didn’t have a brown face.
‘There are various points in my career where I wonder what would have happened if I was blonde-haired and blue-eyed, and sometimes I don’t think things would have played out the same way if I was white. I’ve put that Strictly question into my book to leave people pondering, because I’m just not sure.’
Anita added that she is ‘fuelled’ by how women and particularly women of colour are ‘told not to be angry’ and how when they are cross about injustice it is ‘flipped’ so they are the problem.
The broadcaster added that she has worked for all the major channels and believes this to be an industry-wide problem.
Anita has co-hosted BBC’s Countryfile since 2015 and said when she first joined the programme, she would sometimes get racist and sexist comments from people who wanted to tell her what they thought of her hosting the programme.
However, she added that people have generally been receptive to her role on the show as well as her hosting duties on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
Anita said she still gets excited when she sees an Asian person on television and she believes it meant a lot to others to see her doing well on Strictly.
The star added she often thinks about doing the BBC dancing show all over again but winning this time.
It comes after Anita recently told of her shock after being called a ‘P***’ by a colleague in an interview with the Mail On Sunday’s You magazine.
The Radio 4 presenter, who has worked at the Corporation since 2006, admits being so taken aback by the racist remark – which was made by an individual she describes as one of the ‘so-called educated, well-travelled, liberal TV types’ – that she was left speechless.
Referring to the incident, she says: ‘There was a moment when someone in a work environment called me the P-word and I just didn’t react. Afterwards, I thought, ‘Who the f*** am I? What has happened in my life where I just allow that to happen?”
Anita concedes that the person was ‘probably’ joking, adding: ‘But it wasn’t a joke. Is it ever a joke? There’s a generation of us who have grown up here. We are British. We come with our stories and we want to say: ‘Listen to who we are. We don’t want to have to hide away any more.’ It’s liberating.’
Anita’s book The Right Sort Of Girl, is published this month and tells her story of growing up in a Punjabi family in Bradford, Yorkshire.
Read the full interview in the latest issue of Radio Times, on sale now.