She won over fans of Great British Bake Off with her bubbly personality and humour as well as her baking skills.
However, Nadiya Hussain admits she’s in an ongoing battle with panic disorder, stemming back to a terrifying racist attack during her school days.
Speaking on Loose Women on Monday, the 31-year-old admitted she has suffered panic attacks since she was seven years old.
Nadiya shared her own battle as the panel discussed pop star Zayn Malik’s recent decision to pull out of the Capital FM Summertime Ball after suffering anxiety.
As a first-generation Muslim Bangladeshi born and brought up in Luton, the mother-of-three did experience racism from some of her white classmates at primary school.
She said: ‘I’ve suffered from panic attacks and panic disorder since the age of seven.
‘I used to get bullied for my dark skin. A group of boys held me up against the chalk board and got the chalk dust and smothered my face in it.
‘I remember thinking “everyone is looking at me.” Every time I get worried and anxious, I remember that moment.’
When asked if her parents knew what was going on, Nadiya admitted she played down the extent of her troubles as two of her siblings were ill.
She revealed: ‘I didn’t recognise it as a problem until I became in my early teens.
‘As a child, it’s like, “Come on, you’ll be fine.” My parents had two sick kids on their hands, so they had enough on their plate.’
Nadiya admits she has an ongoing battle to keep her anxiety in check and often walks away whenever she feels an attack coming on.
She explained: ‘When I was doing Bake Off and I had my little elastic band across my hand. I pinged it and you forget why you’re worried.
‘In week 5 or 6, I pinged it so much, I broke it. Then I had to do without it and I haven’t worn it since so that’s really good.’
Now juggling a new media career with being a mother and wife, Nadiya admits the challenges of life have made it easier for her to overcome her anxiety.
She said: ‘I know I’ll always have it. I feel it every now and again. I know it’s there.