Nicola Adams: People move their handbags away from me

Olympic champion Nicola Adams has described the micro-aggressions she experiences as a black woman, saying people move their handbags away from her and security guards follow her around shops.

The boxer, who will become the first celebrity to be part of a same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing, said she has had to become resilient to the homophobic and racist comments she received online.

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She told Women’s Health magazine: “The first time my partner Ella (Baig, 21) and I really considered that we were an ‘interracial’ couple was when a woman commented on a picture of us on social media saying she was proud of us for being one. We just feel like two ordinary people.”

Adams added: “I’ve become resilient to the comments I get online – I’ll block people rather than reply.

“But recently, Ella (who has also been subjected to online bullying) and I decided to fight back, because maybe there are people out there who aren’t able to cope with these sorts of messages; people who might find it comforting to know that even though I’m an Olympic champion, people still say horrible things to me.”

She continued: “As a black woman, I know I’m treated differently – subtle things, like people moving their handbags away from me or security guards following me around shops.”

The full interview is in the November 2020 issue of Women’s Health, on sale from September 30 and also available as a digital edition.