Gemma Atkinson seems to defend Maisie Smith after Strictly fan backlash

Gemma Atkinson has taken to Instagram to issue a plea to youngsters watching Strictly Come Dancing.

The former Hollyoaks and Emmerdale actress took to social media to beg viewers not to "dumb down talent or enthusiasm" just to fit in with the world.

Gemma wrote on her Instagram story: "To the younger generation watching Strictly.

"Never ever dumb down your talent or ability or enthusiasm just to please a load of jealous people on the Internet.

"The most important thing a girl wears is her confidence."

Gemma's comments come as Maisie keeps finding herself in the bottom two with her professional dancing partner Gorka Marquez – Gemma's boyfriend.

Viewers online have accused the EastEnders actress of being too confident during her time on the show.

Speaking in an Instagram Q and A session, Maisie, 19, has told fans that her confidence is simply a cover-up for her insecurities.

The star wrote: "It's a disguise.

"Deep down I'm scared to book an appointment for the hairdressers. I have to practise what I'm going to say."

Meanwhile, Strictly professional Kevin Clifton has openly defended Maisie – saying she is a victim of sexism.

Kevin tweeted: "People love a confident/talented/successful man but a confident girl gets labelled cocky."

Taking to Twitter to defend the star, one Strictly viewer wrote: "She's fun, confident, she goes for it. Should not have been in bottom two."

Another added: "People are so against a confident girl and it’s so disappointing, hope Maisie doesn’t read any of the negative comments like people need to realise she’s only 19."

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Meanwhile, a third continued: "She's 19, she's a brilliant dancer, and she's living on her own for the first time, give the girl break!

"Also can we please celebrate confident women instead of trashing them?"

Despite the backlash, Maisie is still tipped for success in the show according to the bookies' latest odds.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday on BBC One, 8pm

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