Countdown's Rachel Riley has created a sexy alter-ego for herself in a bid to master the salsa on Strictly Come Dancing.

The Oxford graduate has been answering only to the name Maria as she and professional partner Pasha Kovalev ready themselves for this week's show.

rachel riley

The 27-year-old said trying to tackle a more sensual performance was not a natural fit for her so she needed to step outside her normal self.

MORE: Sick Brucie To Miss This Week's 'Strictly'

The numbers whiz is in sixth place after her first dance last week when she tackled a waltz for her live debut on the BBC1 show.

She said: "This week we are dancing the salsa with is three million times faster than the waltz - there is a lot more room for things to go wrong.

rachel riley

"Salsa is a really sexy dance, it is a sexy song - which isn't natural for me - I need to take myself out of Rachel and create a whole new character for the night."

Kovalev has been calling her Maria to make her loosen up and feel more in a Latin mood for the dance. Riley is also considering having her fringed mini-dress shortened to make her feel even racier.


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  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Abbey Clancy</strong> <strong>Age: </strong>27 <strong>Best know for:</strong> Modelling and being married to England footballer Peter Crouch. She also presents fashion segments on 'This Morning'. <strong>Odds:</strong> 5/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Rachel Riley</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 27 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Taking over from Carol Vorderman as the letters and numbers whizz on 'Countdown'. <strong>Odds:</strong> 4/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Sophie Ellis-Bextor</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 34 <strong>Best known for: </strong>Being a singer, with hits such as 'Murder On The Dance Floor' and 'If This Ain't Love'. She's also the daughter of former 'Blue Peter' presenter Janet Ellis. <strong>Odds:</strong> 6/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Vanessa Feltz</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 51 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Her 90s chat show 'Vanessa'. She now presents her own radio show on BBC London and Radio 2, and famously had a meltdown on 'Celebrity Big Brother' in 2001. <strong>Odds:</strong> 50/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Deborah Meaden</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 54 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Being a Dragon on BBC Two business show 'Dragons' Den'. <strong>Odds:</strong> 40/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Susanna Reid</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 42 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Presenting 'BBC Breakfast' with Bill Turnbull. She also appeared on a 'Children In Need' special of the show with fellow newsreaders in 2012. <strong>Odds:</strong> 8/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Natalie Gumede</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 29 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Playing husband beater Kirsty Soames on 'Coronation Street'. <strong>Odds:</strong> 6/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Fiona Fullerton</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 56 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Her roles as Bond girl Pola Ivanova in 1985's 'A View to a Kill' and as Alice in 1972 film 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. <strong>Odds:</strong> 20/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Ashley Taylor Dawson</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 31 <strong>Best known for:</strong> His role as Darren Osborne in Channel 4 soap 'Hollyoaks'. He also used to be in pop band allSTARS*. <strong>Odds:</strong> 10/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Ben Cohen</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 34 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Being a rugby union player, and being a gay icon after establishing The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation to combat homophobia and bullying. <strong>Odds:</strong> 6/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Patrick Robinson</strong> <strong>Age: </strong>49 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Playing Martin "Ash" Ashford on 'Casualty'. <strong>Odds:</strong> 20/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Julien Macdonald</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 42 <strong>Best known for: </strong>Being a fashion designer, as well as having a famous spat with Cheryl Cole in 2011. <strong>Odds:</strong> 16/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Mark Benton</strong> <strong>Age:</strong> 47 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Starring in 'Waterloo Road' as maths teacher Daniel 'Chalky' Chalk. <strong>Odds:</strong> 40/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Dave Myers</strong> <strong>Age: </strong>56 <strong>Best known for:</strong> Being one half of TV chef duo The Hairy Bikers. <strong>Odds:</strong> 50/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

    <strong>Tony Jacklin</strong> <strong>Age: </strong>69 <strong>Best known for: </strong>Being an English pro golfer. <strong>Odds:</strong> 50/1

  • Strictly Come Dancing line up 2013

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