Ola Jordan opens up about poverty-stricken childhood

Ever wondered how Ola Jordan manages to stay so stoically stoney-faced during the gruesome I’m A Celebrity challenges?

Ola Jordan/Rex Photos/ITV
Ola Jordan/Rex Photos/ITV

Apparently it’s because she lived through far, far worse growing up in Communist Poland.

The 34-year-old ballroom star has opened up about her childhood to the Sun, and says her tough upbringing has given her the resilience to take anything Ant and Dec throw at her in her stride.

“When I was young we would have to queue for meat, milk and bread at four in the morning,” she explained. “When you would hear meat was coming to a shop everyone would leave the house and get in line late at night to go and get it.

“At Christmas I’d get my big sister’s old toys. I would be like, ‘I remember this, that looks familiar.’ My parents didn’t have money to buy new toys.”

Ola Jordan/Rex Photos/ITV
Ola Jordan/Rex Photos/ITV

“We lived in a big apartment block outside Warsaw,” she continued. “It was 11 floors and grey looking with old lifts. My husband James and I went back and he was like, ‘Oh my god I can’t imagine how you lived!’ It was four of us in a two-bedroomed apartment.

“We had a black and white TV and on Sunday they would show us what we called ‘satellite TV’. It was a couple of programmes from abroad – communist programmes – and that was it.”

Imagine that, eh? Only two channels and not a Joe Swash or Stacey Solomon in sight.

Ola credits her husband and Strictly co-star with saving her from a life of poverty. After a lucky encounter at a UK dance competition, she was invited to move to the UK to become his dance partner.

Ola and James Jordan/Rex Photos
Ola and James Jordan/Rex Photos

“It was very difficult at first,” she explains. “I couldn’t even spell my own name in English – but James was very patient. He’d point at a cow and tell me ‘Cow, moo’ and that’s how I learned.

“I used to watch EastEnders and it helped with the language. It’s the reason I’ve got a bit of a cockney accent.”

The ballroom star used her newfound fame and money to splash out on a nice house for her parents near her childhood home, but her sister Monika followed Ola and upped sticks to the UK.

“Poland is as expensive as here but the people don’t earn the same,” she explained. “Polish people are very patriotic and it’s sad they can’t afford to live in their own country.”