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Strictly star Clara Amfo on why her mum is her biggest fan

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Helen Bownass
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After her best weekend yet on Strictly Come Dancing, Clara Amfo appears on the cover of this week’s Stylist

It’s been quite the 48 hours for Clara Amfo. Not only did the Radio 1 DJ top the Strictly leaderboard with a whopping 39 points for her incredible Charleston with partner Aljaž Škorjanec, but she’s also appearing, for the first time, on the cover of Stylist magazine (which you can download on the App Store or Google Play). 

As the broadcaster helps us celebrate the joy of staying in-in, at a time when we can’t go out-out, she tells us how the support from one particular person has been especially important over the last few months. 

“After every Strictly show my mum is like: you’ve’ done so well, you’re looking great,” reveals Amfo of her mum Gracie. “My mum tells me that she’s proud of me every day. She’s always, always encouraging me – even if that is perceived as being savage by other people; that’s her being extremely loving. She’s not a showbizzy parent, that that’s not her energy and I love that about her. She keeps it very real, she says what she sees. I think one of the one of the best things is when she referred to Jay Z as “that man with Beyoncé”. That made me laugh a lot.”  

 Amfo’s mum, who she also credits for giving her an optimistic outlook on life, has had a lot to be proud of.  In 2020 alone she has broadcast her hugely popular Radio One morning show throughout the year, which has helped its vast swathes of listeners stay rooted and connected in a year of huge change and upheaval. 

On 2 June on her show Amfo also delivered one of the most impactful and important moments heard on radio as she talked about the death of George Floyd had affected her. “We talk a lot about mental health, and mine was in a really, really bad way yesterday,” she said on the show, “and it has been for the last few days, in particular in relation to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died while being held under arrest. Now I didn’t have the mental strength to face you guys yesterday, to ask ‘Hi, how was your weekend?’ like I usually do with my happy intention, because I know that my weekend was terrible.” 

 Not only was it a moment for Amfo to speak her truth, but also to make clear that it’s okay not to be okay - and the importance of that cannot be underestimated. 

This City with Clara Amfo
This City with Clara Amfo

“That day – and I try not to meditate on it too much, I was there and the listeners were there with me – was about two things: anti-Blackness and my hope for people to be anti-racist, but also mental health,” she tells Stylist. That’s why I felt emboldened to speak. Especially now, I love my life and I’ve done fun things, but there are some days when I haven’t wanted to get out of bed. That’s what I wanted to get across: that I found it difficult.”

Clara Amfo in Stylist magazine
Clara Amfo in Stylist magazine

As well as opening up about how she has been managing her wellbeing though 2020, in this week’s issue Amfo talks about how her group chats have kept her going through lockdown and how Strictly has totally taken over her life. 

 To read Clara’s interview in full, download Stylist magazine on the App Store or Google Play. Pricing for our digital magazine starts at 99p for a single issue, or £21.99 for a full year’s subscription.  

Subscribe to series two of This City with Clara Amfo here. Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 21 November, 7.15pm, BBC ONE

Images: BBC, 4th Floor Creative