Comic Susan Calman hopes her performances on Strictly Come Dancing will inspire other women.
The Glaswegian wowed audiences and took the BBC One show by storm last year with her Wonder Woman-inspired samba.
The 43-year-old former lawyer said she did not want to dress as Wonder Woman for the show’s annual movie week but a pep talk from dance partner Kevin Clifton inspired her.
The genuine reason I did it was that I have terrible self-esteem and I thought that if I can be Wonder Woman, hopefully women at home will be able to think that they can be Wonder Woman as wellSusan Calman
“That was a very difficult night. I cried for about 24 hours beforehand,” Calman said.
“I’m a short, Scottish lesbian dressed as Wonder Woman and everyone is going to laugh at me, and I didn’t want to do it.
“I thought I was going to be dressed as Gal Gadot and instead it’s the seventies Lynda Carter.
“Kev gave me a pep talk. It was so difficult and I thought I was going to be ridiculed.”
Fighting back tears, Calman added: “The genuine reason I did it was that I have terrible self-esteem and I thought that if I can be Wonder Woman, hopefully women at home will be able to think that they can be Wonder Woman as well.”
Calman, who was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival to promote her new book Sunny Side Up, said that when she was asked to take part in the show, “you never say no to Strictly”.
However, she revealed she is working on a new project with professional dancer Clifton and said she hoped he and new partner, TV presenter Stacey Dooley, would win this year’s show.
Today at #cheltlitfest 📚 Booker Prize-winning author Pat Barker, discusses The Silence of the Girls with @wmarybeard, her powerful reimagining of the most famous of all conflicts in literature: the Trojan Warhttps://t.co/Xgw2GyRgdi pic.twitter.com/iGmigrzrth— Cheltenham Festivals (@cheltfestivals) October 7, 2018
“Stacey is lovely. I got a tweet from a lovely kid upset Kevin was dancing with someone else because kids take it very seriously and love seeing me and Kevin dancing together,” Calman said.
“My view is that everyone deserves the chance to dance with Kevin Clifton, as he is delightful. Stacey is a lovely girl and I message Kevin every day to see how they are getting on.
“We are working together on another project, which I can’t really talk about but Kevin and I will be working together for some time in the future.
“I think Stacey is lovely and I really hope they win this year. I would love Kevin to win the actual show to show you don’t need to take your top off to win Strictly.”
Calman also spoke about the abuse she receives from online trolls and said it was one of the things that inspired her to write her new book, which urges people to be kinder to each other.
“The first time it happens, it is surprising because you wonder what you’ve done to make them hate me. It’s frightening because these people could live next door to you,” Calman said.
“It’s a genuine physical fear initially and then you kind of get used to it.
“What I don’t understand is this. I don’t like some things but I don’t watch them and tweet the person involved to tell them how miserable they’ve made me.
“I don’t know what it is that makes somebody step beyond not liking somebody, to then send it to somebody.
“I am old-fashioned and I was taught that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Calman said that women suffered more nasty abuse from trolls then men did.
“The reality is that a lot of those tweets are sent to women or the tone of the tweets is different if you are a woman,” she said.
“It’s very often how we look. Male comedian friends of mine are told they are not funny and I’m told a lot more than that.
“I like doing radio because I don’t need to worry what I look like, but if I do television and go on Twitter there is going to be at least one person who calls me fat.
“I don’t understand how they think it is fun to troll people.”
Calman said that last week she sent a tweet to her friend Zoe Ball to congratulate her on becoming the new presenter of the Radio 2 breakfast show, which brought negative comments from trolls.
“She’s got the biggest job in radio practically and why are you wanting to bring her down? She’s worked hard and is very good at what she does,” Calman said.
“What is it in our psyche that will not allow women to have one f****** day of happiness?”