Love Island’s Zara McDermott is just one of the 15 contestants heading to the ballroom on Saturday for the launch show of Strictly Come Dancing 2023.

The 26-year-old appeared on the popular ITV2 dating show back in 2018 as a bombshell alongside the likes of Dani Dyer.

Although Zara will be the first Love Islander on Strictly, before she claimed her celebrity status she worked for the Department of Education as a government policy advisor.

Who is Zara McDermott dating?

The Celebrity X Factor contestant has been in a relationship with Made in Chelsea favourite Sam Thompson since 2019.

However, the couple reportedly broke up for a short while after Zara “admitted to cheating on her man in the early stages of their relationship,” The Sun said.

Before Sam, she dated fellow islander Adam Collard who also featured on the fourth series of the ITV show.

When asked if she thought Sam was nervous about her joining Strictly, Zara told the Daily Star: “No, no, not at all.

“I think everyone on the show who has got a partner is super supportive and everyone's going to be in the audience."

Are Kady McDermott and Zara McDermott related?

Zara is not related to Kady McDermott who first went on series two of Love Island.

The 27-year-old made it to the final with former partner Scott Thomas and made a return to the Majorca villa in 2023.

Zara’s other TV work includes making documentaries that inspire conversation and educate young people on hard-hitting issues.

She has fronted BBC films, including Revenge Porn, Uncovering Rape Culture, Disordered Eating, and Gaia: A Death on Dancing Ledge.

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Her other broadcasting work includes presenting the entertainment show Love In The Flesh on BBC Three.

Elsewhere, the reality TV star’s work for young people has been recognised on several occasions.

She was invited to Clarence House by the Duchess of Cornwall and Refuge charity and worked with the Duchess on a visit to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

Zara has also worked with the government and the Home Office on several campaigns to end violence against women and girls, most notably fronting a campaign that changed the law for victims of digital abuse.

The Strictly celeb is also an ambassador for the Shaping Us campaign for the Centre of Early Childhood, which was launched by Catherine, the Princess of Wales.

Strictly Come Dancing line-up 2023 – see all the contestants

  • Sherlock and Mr Selfridge actress Amanda Abbington
  • Former newsreader Angela Rippon
  • Stage and screen star Layton Williams
  • Channel 4 journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy
  • Comedian Eddie Kadi
  • Irish presenter Angela Scanlon
  • Love Island’s Zara McDermott
  • Emmerdale and Waterloo Road actor Adam Thomas
  • BBC radio presenter Nikita Kanda
  • Coronation Street's Ellie Leach
  • Paralympic Champion Jody Cundy CBE
  • Eastenders star Bobby Brazier
  • Casualty star Nigel Harman
  • British tennis player Annabel Croft
  • Former Family Fortunes host and Coronation Street actor Les Dennis

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on Saturday, September 16.