Romances between dancers and celebrities on Strictly Come Dancing are becoming a regular occurrence, but how many end in marriage?
For Italian professional Flavia Cacace and Yorkshire actor Jimi Mistry that’s exactly what happened.
Now the pair, who have been married for six years, are embarking on a new business venture together.
FCMfit.com is a personal training and nutrition business which combines Flavia’s new-found personal training qualification with Jimi’s love of food and nutrition.
“We have both gone through stages where we have looked at what we are doing and decided that it’s time to try something else. For me it was personal training, for Jimi it was food and nutrition. We knew we wanted to do something together.
“Having been a dancer for 25 years, I decided it was time for change. I needed a new challenge both mentally and physically, I needed to start looking after my aching muscles and joints and to recharge my mental and emotional wellbeing after years of hard work and success in my industry. It was time to focus on me.”
Jimi, star of East is East and Coronation Street, who was born in Scarborough, had a similar experience.
“I had been an actor for over 20 years, travelled the world and experienced pretty much everything an actor could, from Hollywood to soap and everything in-between, the highs and the lows. I certainly lived a life and have been round the block a few times.
“But I knew I needed a change. I might have been successful but I needed a new challenge.”
With their determination and new direction both Flavia and Jimi decided to explore their new passions further.
It is ten years since the couple were paired together on Strictly, and six years since they married,
“I can’t believe it,” says Flavia. “You have to believe in destiny.
“We come from very different backgrounds but we’ve been through similar things.
“We are very different people but we act as a counterbalance to each other and above all we make each other laugh and have lots of fun. Our marriage is based on friendship. We are two best mates; sometimes we even forget we are husband and wife.”
Flavia was born in Naples and came to the UK with her family when she was five. She started dancing aged six – it just happened that her local dance school taught ballroom and Latin. She started winning competitions and with her dance partner Vincent Simone won a number of UK championships.
In 2005 she was asked to be a guest choreographer on Strictly and joined the show a year later where she stayed for seven years, winning the glitterball with partner and gymnast Louis Smith in her last series.
After leaving Strictly, Flavia went on tour with Vincent Simone with their own hit show.
“We did eight years on the road which is a long time, doing eight shows a week and that takes its toll on you. It naturally came to an end about a year ago, it was time to move on, but it came at quite a challenging time for me.
“I was about to turn 40. I was thinking what to do next and what I could get my teeth in to. With a bit of persuasion by my husband I decided to become a personal trainer.”
Being a professional dancer, fitness had always been a massive part of Flavia’s life and so it made sense to her to pursue it as a new career.
“I wanted to ﬁnd out a bit more about the human body,” explains Flavia. “I wanted to ﬁnd out how I could help myself regenerate after so many years of performing. It was then when I came across the Optimum Performance Training Model (OPT) which works on correcting muscular imbalances in the human body, whether these imbalances are from modern day living or in my case performing a particular art or sport.”
She made the brave decision to study for a CPT L3 Diploma, Nutritional Adviser and OPT Certiﬁcation with NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine), gaining qualifications in all three.
For Jimi, after acting food is his passion.
“It was cooking that was my passion, well more like an obsession, really. I only started cooking about ten years ago, before then I couldn’t even open a tin of beans,” he explains. “Initially I was self-taught but then in 2015 decided to study properly and went to train at Leith’s School of Food and Wine where I gained my diploma in Culinary Arts, passing with distinction.”
“FCMFIT is a culmination of both our journeys and skillsets,” continues Flavia. “It’s like an extension of our lives. I believe in the five pillars of total fitness and if working correctly and in harmony they can lead to a happy a fulﬁlled life. These pillars are physical fitness, mental wellbeing, good health, nutrition and positive mindset. Hopefully with our online content through the website we can help people live a better, happier and healthier lifestyle.”
The business was launched in January and just months later the country was in lockdown and everyone was running online fitness sessions.
“In some ways it does make things more challenging as lots of people have started online workouts or have taken to Zoom to do classes.
“But we are offering something different, is more interactive, sustainable training programme.”
Flavia and Jimi are both great supporters of Macmillan Cancer Care.
If you want to support Macmillan during this difficult time but aren’t sure how you can raise money while isolating and social distancing, there are plenty of ideas on the Macmillan website.
With the cancellation of hundreds of traditional fundraising events due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, it’s more important than ever to find safe ways to raise money and support Macmillan.
With your help, the charity can continue to provide emotional, practical and financial support to people living with cancer.
We can’t go out, but we can still dance. And now your #DanceMovesMatter like never before. Dust off your dancing shoes, grab your family and friends and get ready to throw some shapes for us. Dance the five moves, donate £5 to Macmillan and nominate five people.
Flavia and Jimi are special guests at a fundraising ball in aid Macmillan Cancer Support on October 24 at the Holiday Inn Barnsley. Tickets are £50 from [email protected]
To donate to Macmillan Cancer Support go to: www.macmillan.org.uk/emergency or call 0300 1000 200