Gladiators star Diamond was picked on and an 'outcast' before fame

Diamond has courted the attention of viewers at home after Gladiators appearance

Diamond caught the eye of viewers at home on Gladiators. (BBC)
Diamond caught the eye of viewers at home on Gladiators. (BBC)

Gladiators star Diamond said she felt like an "outcast" as a child and she had been picked on because of her statuesque height of 6ft.

Now the rising star - whose real name is Livi Sheldon - been propelled into the bright lights of the spotlight as a gladiator on the rebooted BBC show. This weekend Gladiators fans were convinced Diamond is the new "Jet" - winning her a place in fans' hearts almost immediately. Her name Diamond was born from her personal qualities for being both striking and indestructible, like the precious jewel. "Diamond is unbreakable," she said.

However, Diamond has been on an incredible journey to get here. Growing up, the Worcestershire-born bodybuilder remembered being picked on because of her height but now she recognises being unique is her "superpower".

Diamond was picked on

Gladiators ,L-R: Comet, Fury, Apollo, Dynamite, Legend, Diamond, Athena, Giant, Apollo, Sabre, Phantom, Viper, Nitro, Bionic, Electro, Fire
Diamond's experiences paved the way for her becoming a gladiator. (BBC)

She said: "When I was growing up I used to get picked on for being taller than everyone else. Now I get to show everyone that being unique is your superpower. I can’t wait to get into the arena and take on the contenders as Diamond."

Competing on the show now, Diamond wanted to share her story of being "a bit of an outcast" to encourage people to embrace their own individuality. From the tender age of six, the TV star played football with a boys football team. It wasn't until later that she went onto play for a girls football team and became the manager for many years.

She said: "I've always wanted to inspire others to embrace their uniqueness, and encourage people to not hide away, and go for what you want. I was always the girl who played football with the boys and was seen as a bit of an outcast."

Gladiators star Diamond wants to inspire girls everywhere. (BBC)
Gladiators star Diamond wants to inspire girls everywhere. (BBC)

Now Diamond has expressed a desire of being a rolemodel to girls everywhere. "I wanted to show younger girls that you can be a bada**," she said. "But remain feminine and girly at the same time. So, in essence, I wanted to become a Gladiator to inspire, really... And to kick a**, obviously!"

The bodybuilder's past experience all built up to her becoming a TV gladiator. Her passion for sports and football saw her play for Worcester City Ladies team. As well as football, she kept fit swimming and she made a career out of bodybuilding.

She said: "I feel like becoming a Gladiator is something I've been training for my whole life. From playing football when I was younger, through to swimming, and then going into bodybuilding. I feel like all of it has led me to this outcome of being a Gladiator. I do not think I would have had half the strength that I currently have if I hadn’t had all of my past experiences."

Is Diamond the new Jet?

(L-R) Lightning, Jet and Scorpio, of the ITV series Gladiators, in London.
(L-R) Lightning, Jet and Scorpio, of the ITV series Gladiators, in London. (Getty)

Gladiators picked Diamond out of the 2024 cast after being impressed with her skills during the weekend's show. Many commented how she was just like original gladiator Jet, who made history on the reality series in the 1990s.

Leading the way, one fan wrote: "Diamond is my new Jet on Gladiators." Others added in agreement: "Gladiators so, viper is wolf, diamond is jet, we've got a replacement Saracen in Phantom (too chatty / happy to be shadow), a few other like for likes. The set up is perfect back in the Sheffield Arena. Loving it!"

"Watching Gladiators on bbc1. What a nostalgic throwback. Fun so far with great presentation. Diamond is definitely this generations Jet! Bradley Walsh presenting like the pro he is! Gladiators."

"Gladiators picking up where the 90s one left off. Whether the likes of Viper, Diamond and Legend capture the imaginations of the great British public the same way Wolf, Jet, Hunter & co did is yet to be seen but it’s a good start."

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