Shirley Ballas has been "judged and bullied" in the dance industry.

Shirley Ballas

Shirley Ballas

The 'Strictly Come Dancing' head judge - who has won a string of latin dance championships over the years and is known as the Queen of Latin - admits it has been tough being in such a male dominated industry and recalled how she was told she was "not fit material" to judge a competition in Bulgaria before she bagged herself the role on 'Strictly'.

She said: "[I've been] judged and bullied. I feel like coming from a housing estate way back when, the other children used to judge my brothers and I when we got free meals at school ... I moved into ballroom dancing, which is a male dominated industry and for most of my career, from a very young age of about 17, [I was] being bullied in the industry from certain people at the top.

"The reason I originally went for this job at 'Strictly' was because I got offered to do a job in Bulgaria, as an adjudicator, and was all set to go and I was excited to go and then the gentleman let me know I was not fit material to judge the competition. In the end, I didn't get that job. It was my son who said if those certain people don't want you to be in the industry, perhaps you should go to 'Strictly.'"

And Shirley, 57, thinks men in the industry are threatened by how "strong" she is.

Speaking whilst making an appearance as a panellist on ITV's Loose Women on Wednesday (10.01.18), she added: "I'm a strong woman, not a sheep, a follower. I'm my own person; I like to be kind, caring and I feel like I give a tremendous amount of myself and somehow that seems like a threat to [others] so people try and bully you."