The 30-year-old professional dancer admitted sharing her afro hair on social media had been “a thing” for her that she has finally felt able to do.
Mabuse told Red magazine: “There were so many people saying they’d never seen my real hair, as I had never wanted to show that side of myself before. It was really only close friends and the Strictly pros who had seen me like this.
“It was a thing, you know? You need to feel comfortable opening up about what you look like, before you decide whether or not you want to share that with other people.”
The South African dancer said the Black Lives Matter movement had been empowering.
She said: “Being the first black South African woman to do things in my industry has been an asset. I have so many opinions about [racism], but they’re personal. I don’t feel I can represent everyone because people have different experiences. What’s great is that now we feel empowered to share how we feel.”
The Strictly star – who won the show with Emmerdale’s Kelvin Fletcher last year – also revealed that after her sister, Strictly judge Motsi Mabuse, set her up with her now-husband as a dance partner Maurius Lapure, she refused to try out with anyone else.
She said: “When I said I wanted to become a professional dancer, Motsi suggested a few boys I could trial with as dance partners. Marius was the first and only try-out I had. I cancelled all the others. I was like, ‘This is the one.’”
Read the full interview with Oti Mabuse in the October issue of Red, on sale 2 September.