The Pussycat Doll, who has faced a backlash over her previous dance experience, has refused to be deterred by the lack of public support, opening up about her difficult year in an impassioned post on Instagram.
She wrote: “When I got asked to do Strictly, I remember my heart feeling like it was going to burst. I was so excited and soooo unbelievably grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing show.
“This has been a very turbulent year for me, and so being a part of Strictly has been healing on many levels,” she said, referring to the death of her father. “I often find it hard to be vulnerable and share my highs and lows, as I’ve always learned how to keep going, chin up and stay on my game.”
She continued: “Strictly has given me the opportunity to learn so many new things, to challenge myself constantly, to keep showing up again and again, and to be able to perform again is such a GIFT.
“And I understand I have to keep proving myself, and upping my game each week. And being in the dance-off twice now is only helping me realise how much I want to be here. it’s been a dream to perform again!!!”
She added: “The other contestants are incredible, and the standard of dancing is so very high!! I’m blessed with another week, so I’ll keep coming back and giving it my all for as long as I get to be here. To all of you have supported Pash and I, I can’t thank you enough!!! It means the most to me/us!!! Here’s to another week. Love you loads, Ash.”
Last weekend saw Ashley and Pasha score 38 points for their Quickstep to ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from ‘Funny Girl’, where they finished second on the leaderboard.
However, they landed in the bottom two alongside Charles and his partner Karen Clifton, with the star seen looking teary after the dance-off, which ultimately saw Charles sent home.
‘Strictly’ host Tess Daly previously called for viewers to “cut Ashley some slack”, following the recent backlash against her.
Speaking to Metro, she said: “I actually feel sorry for Ashley because she was in tears on Sunday night, when she was in the bottom two.
“She’s got dance experience in a pop band, but she hasn’t necessarily danced in ballroom before, it’s a different genre and I’m sure she’s never done the Viennese waltz in her career with the Pussycat Dolls.
“I think cut her a little slack, she’s an absolute sweetheart and doesn’t deserve that!”
‘Strictly Come Dancing’ continues on Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC One.