No likey? No problem! Dannika, Take Me Out’s pink-haired beauty, gives us the lowdown on what it’s really like to be a TMO girl
Adding a new flair to the line-up of ladies with her pink tresses and stylish outfits, London College Of Fashion graduate Dannika likes the fact that her style stands out. “I try to put an edge to a glam look,” she tells loaded. “I’d rather studs than diamonds.”
Move over glitz and glam, it’s quirky’s time to shine. But she very nearly didn’t do the show. After flying through the auditions and getting on to the shortlist, she started to doubt if it was for her.
“I didn’t know if I wanted to do it or not, it was so last-minute for me. But I’m so glad that I did,” she says. It was a close call though, since – as the self-confessed party animal of the show – Dannika twice had to cancel her audition because she’d lost her voice in Ibiza. And since becoming a Take Me Out girl, the partying has only got wilder.
“Me and Malin go out the most – we have, like, four-day weekends,” she adds laughing. And while there have been tabloid tales about previous contestants, the Essex girl reckons this year the producers cast a much more genuine bunch, with backstage bitchiness kept to a minimum.
“Apparently this is the first year where there are no cliques. Honestly, I could sit down for dinner with any one of them.” Bore off! After the scandals of the last series, which included wild sex parties, male escorts and contestants with criminal records, the show seems to have gone back to dating-show basics.
“Any drama that happens is harmless this year,” says Dannika. “People that sell stories, well it’s just not worth it. We’re just there to have a good time.”
The wildest thing they’ve got up to is being thrown out of a London hotel. “We did it before the X Factor contestants did!” she adds. “There were about seven of us and we were being too noisy so the staff chucked us out. We all had to get the first trains home!” The train of shame – we’ve all been there.
tweet and sour
But it’s not all fun and games. Dannika tells us that a few of the contestants have become the victims of nasty Twitter trolls. Can no one escape these keyboard-bashing berks? “I’ve had two horrible tweets, one saying, ‘I thought Dannika was pretty ‘til I saw her in HD,’ and the other saying they’re coming to hunt me down!” How does the feisty 20-year-old react? “I make them say sorry!”
Dannika’s a realist and knows the attention isn’t going to last forever. On nights out when people shout out ‘No likey, no lighty’, instead of getting irritated, the Essex girl embraces it. “It’s funny, I put myself forward for it so I’ve got to deal with it. But it’s nice and, look, it’s only going happen for a little while.”
“WE GOT CHUCKED OUT OF A HOTEL BEFORE THE X FACTOR CONTESTANTS. WE HAD TO GET THE FIRST TRAIN HOME”
Having only split up from her last boyfriend two months before appearing as one of the sexy singletons, Dannika admits that she is one of those girls who’s always in a relationship. But that’s all set to change.
“I’ve always had a boyfriend, but now I’m enjoying single life. I don’t want to be in a serious relationship at the moment because I’ve always been with someone and now I want to try the world by myself for a bit” So how come she’s appearing on a matchmaking show?
“I want to meet new people, go on dates and see what else is out there rather than the Essex boys I’m used to. I want someone with a bit more style!” So what does she make of Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness, who has become an unlikely matchmaker as well as a pin-up? “Some of the girls fancy him,” giggles Dannika. “He’s so lovely, just a genuine bloke.”
Once the side kick of Peter Kay and the voice of Gregg’s the bakers, Paddy is now the face of TV dating, a sort of modern-day Cilla. Let the pasty see the prime-time (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
So what’s next? A career in fashion, or is the fickle hand of fame about to knock on her door? “I’ll take any great opportunities that come up. I’ve got a few shoots lined up and I’ve just had a call about a reality TV show. I trust my instincts.” And whatever comes her way, it can’t get much stranger than standing in the TMOstudio with a sheep getting sheared. In the words of Paddy: let the shepherd, see the pie.