Janette Manrara, the only lesson that I have taken from my own life is this: Love must always precede money

Janette Manrara from Cuba, 38, is a former professional dancer who was featured for eight seasons on Strictly Come Dancing. It Takes Two was her co-presentation in 2021. She is now host of the UK’s Strictly tour with Aljaz Skorjanec.  

I had a wonderful childhood in Miami. We didn’t have a lot of money. I only ever had one pair of sneakers, for example, although my dad, Luis, would somehow afford for us to go to Disney World every year — probably by maxing out his credit card.

Happiness and love were the only things we had in common. I’m not shy about working hard, but it was drummed into me that making money is not what life is all about.

My favourite quote sums it up: ‘All of our dreams can come true; if we have the courage to pursue them.’ That was something Walt Disney said and I’ve never forgotten it. His achievements are a testimony to that.

Cuban-American Janette Manrara, 38, was a professional dancer for eight years on Strictly Come Dancing and has shared the lesson she learned from life

Janette Manrara (Cuban-American), 38 was a professional ballet dancer on Strictly Come Dancing for eight years and she has now shared what lessons she’s learned in her life

You can’t achieve your dreams unless you have love and safety.

There will be difficult times and decisions that everyone has to make. That’s just the way life is. It’s how you react to those challenges, though, that sets you apart.

Aljaz shares the exact same outlook. Aljaz and I have exactly the same values, the exact same attitude towards life. We’re lucky, of course, that we love what we do for a living. We also know how lucky we are to have our family and friends. It’s what keeps us positive for the tough times.

This friendship is amazing. Above and beyond the fact he’s my husband and my dance partner, he’s my best friend.

We have a comfortable life, something we’ll be able to pass on to the children we plan to have one day. They will learn the lessons from us.

Yes, it’s important to look after yourself financially and to keep as healthy as you can.

But, in the end, it’s all down to love. The only thing that conquers everything is love.

STRICTLY Come Dancing Live UK Arena Tour, January 20 — February 13, venues and tickets: strictlycomedancinglive.com