Strictly star Aljaz Skorjanec retraining as an actor to pursue Hollywood dreams

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Strictly Come Dancing star Aljaz Skorjanec said he has been having acting lessons and auditioning for roles “trying to get his foot in the door” of Hollywood.

The Slovenian dancer and choreographer, 32, announced in March that he was departing after nine years on the BBC flagship show.

He is married to fellow dancer Janette Manrara, 38, and news of his exit came less than a year after she stepped down from the show to become the co-host of spin-off It Takes Two.

Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara
Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara (Hello magazine/PA)

Skorjanec told Hello magazine: “Being a couple on Strictly gave us an edge and I feel like it can be exactly the same when it comes to, potentially, one day being on a different kind of TV programme together.

“I’ve had an incredible nine years on Strictly and have felt so lucky to be there, but it felt like the right time to take a risk and open myself up to new challenges.

“I want to try other things like film, TV and radio while I’m still young enough and my body is 100% capable.

“I’m just a fan of the craft and am trying to get my foot in the door.

“Do I want to go to Hollywood? Of course! If I didn’t dream big I would never have ended up on Strictly.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara during the final of Strictly Come Dancing 2021 (Guy Levy/PA)

Manrara added: “I already imagine him as a Hollywood leading man, he definitely has what it takes and he has always been my Prince Charming.”

In his Strictly Come Dancing debut series, Skorjanec clinched the prize with Liverpudlian model and TV presenter Abbey Clancy during the first all-female final on the show.

In 2017, he reached the final with partner Gemma Atkinson but missed out to winners Joe McFadden and Katya Jones.

Speaking about his decision to leave the show, he said: “Janette and I were a team and helped choreograph each other’s routines and every time I needed a shoulder or a hug she was there.

“But last year was different because, for the first time ever, I felt like I was doing Strictly on my own.”

Manrara said: “The day he made the announcement we were literally holding hands with tears in our eyes because it was a bittersweet feeling.

“We always say it was never a Strictly curse for us, it was always a blessing and the best thing for us – in our marriage, in our careers and everything.”

The couple said they would like to present a TV show together, inspired by husband and wife duo Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

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