Now Saffron is stepping into the spotlight once again as a contestant on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. The 19-year-old has been soaring through the competition alongside her professional partner, AJ Pritchard, with the pair achieving 33/40 points for their contemporary dance last weekend.
Saffron Barker has amassed a staggering YouTube following of 1.2 million. The social media star, who rose to fame through her online video series ‘In My Day with Saffron Barker’, has become one of Britain’s most influential vloggers with her channel focusing on fashion, beauty and lifestyle.
As she prepares to dance the foxtrot this Saturday, Saffron opens up about her Strictly journey, how she looks after her mental health and why negative comments will always get to her.
“Strictly has given me so many amazing friendships”
Everyone tells you it’s going to be tougher than you think, and they’re not wrong! In terms of the training, it’s full on, physically demanding and pushing me to my limits, but I genuinely love it. I’ve made some amazing friends too, like Anneka Rice – I had an instant friendship with her and was so sad to see her leave the competition so early. She has such a great energy and will be missed by the whole cast and crew.
“I’m quite hard on myself”
I’ve also realised that I’m quite hard on myself because I want the routines to be perfect, so I’m learning to take a moment to breathe and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience rather than getting frustrated with myself. I’ve also learned that my feet do not like dancing in heels! They’re slowly getting used to it, but I’ve had blisters like you wouldn’t believe.
“I’m only human so I’d be lying if I said that negative comments don’t get to me sometimes”
I could never have predicted when I first started blogging how much attention my channels would attract, and now being on Strictly has taken it to a whole other level! Sharing aspects of my life so publicly naturally invites both good and bad reactions – I’m only human so I’d be lying if I said that negative comments don’t get to me sometimes, but I’m very fortunate to have an amazing support system around me, from my family, the people I work with, and my amazing followers – their support outweighs any negativity I do get.
“People tell me how much my videos have helped them – that’s the biggest positive”
Social media is obviously a huge part of what I do. I’ve grown up with it and it’s provided me with the platform to form my career. Being able to connect with my followers on such an instant and personal level is something that has always driven me and something I have always enjoyed. Vlogging started as a hobby and grew into a career. When I receive messages from people telling me that a video I’ve created has helped them, even in the smallest way – that’s the biggest positive. The thing is with social media is that it’s ever-changing. As I’ve grown up, I’ve had to learn to adapt to new technologies, but I feel that my audience has really grown with me and that’s been lovely.
“It’s so important for my mental health that I switch off and talk things through with someone”
I really appreciate the importance of switching off. I live in Brighton with my family and we all help each other out with this. We’ll often go for a long walk along the downs with our dog, Bella and we always have a big Sunday roast together. This family time resets me for the week ahead. I have a really close relationship with my mum and she’s always been a pillar of strength for me – being able to talk to her about anything definitely helps. I can’t emphasise enough the power of just talking things through with someone, which can sometimes be the hardest but most beneficial thing to do.
“As much as I love sharing my life with my followers, it’s also important to hold some stuff back just for me”
As my YouTube channel grew, so did the demand for new content and it was up to me to decide how much I wanted to share about my personal life. Naturally there is a big crossover due to the type of content I make, but ultimately I have creative control over all of my videos – I plan and direct the content myself, so I know exactly what I’m putting out there for people to see, and as much as I love sharing my life with my followers, it’s also important to hold some stuff back just for me.
“I want to work with charities more in the future”
I hope to keep making videos for as long as people want to watch them! I’ve been able to work with some amazing brands and charities and that’s definitely something I want to do more of in the future. I like to be as involved as possible when I work with a charity, and I’m always up for doing something active. I ran the London marathon this year for Dementia Revolution in memory of my great grandad, Ted, who died from Alzheimer’s disease when I was younger. It was the hardest training of my life, but my following helped me raise over £10k and I would do it all again in a heartbeat if it means raising awareness and funds for such an important cause.