STRICTLY STAR AJ ODUDU REVEALS SHE NEARLY QUIT TV BECAUSE OF ABUSE OVER HER ‘DODGY ACCENT’
AJ, who endured constant racist slurs as a child growing up in Blackburn, was hit by a barrage of online hate following her TV debut on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side.
The abuse, which focused on her Northern accent, was so intense that Channel 4 staff advised her to get elocution lessons to help “soften” her voice.
AJ recalled: “It was brilliant but with that exposure comes a lot of pressure and a lot of criticism.
“I remember people tweeting, ‘Who is that black girl with that dodgy accent’ and, ‘Why does she sound like that?’ That made me feel so insecure (because) people were commenting on things I had no real control over.
“And it didn’t help that someone internally said, ‘AJ, we think you should get some help with your voice. Maybe you can speak clearer and we could soften your accent’.
“All of my insecurities were being reinforced by the team that were meant to be supporting me. Then, when my contract wasn’t renewed, that was tough.
“TV is one of those industries where you don’t really get told why something hasn’t worked out.”