When the producers of Dancing with the Stars first interviewed me back in August of 2015, I was two months pregnant. “NO WAY,” I thought. With my luck, something would go wrong. And, seriously, I’d rather sit on my couch than look like a whale on camera. (Hats off to Allison Holker, who did it so flawlessly throughout her entire pregnancy. If you don’t know who she is, look her up. That’s what Google’s for.)
Fast forward to about a month ago when I got a call from my reps saying, “Dancing With the Stars is circling back and wants to know if you’re interested in doing the show this season.” Of course, I immediately said yes; I’m so excited to get the chance to dance again, it’s gonna feel so great.
My first day of filming consisted of me, as a celebrity, coming in to have a “meet and greet” with my new dancing partner. To say the least, I was very surprised when I opened the door to see a tall, Ukrainian man wearing all black and introducing himself as Maksim Chmerkovskiy. I’m sorry, what? How do you spell that?
We chat for a bit and I soon find out he’s not only just a big, goofy teddy bear, but he’s also a new daddy to a mere 2-month-old son, Shai, which, for me, is a giant ice breaker. Let’s be real, there’s nothing’s worse than having to go into work with a young, strapping man without kids who doesn’t understand why I’m UTTERLY EXHAUSTED after my son was up for two hours crying the night before. Maks gets it, thank the Lord.
A few days and a few rehearsals later, we were told we’d be given our music and style of dance. It turned out to be the Viennese waltz and I was relieved, to say the least. I didn’t wanna get something super challenging right off the bat and be both mentally and physically exhausted every single day when I got home to my family.
The waltz seemed like a nice, relaxing dance. How hard could it be? HARD.
I’m such a perfectionist (in some aspects of life, that is) and it’s very hard for me to just chill out, arch my back and correct my seemingly poor posture. I was trying my hardest to do just those few simple things, but my back WAS KILLING ME by the end of the week and I still had to find the energy to cook dinner, plan personal press wardrobe AND still do an entire bedtime routine with the kids at night.
I’m also really working on mentally preparing myself to keep my nerves under control because, as many times as I’ve performed live, nothing compares to having 40 million viewers watch me do a dance one time and then vote if they actually liked it or not. Yikes.
All in all, I’m just trying to let things be what they are and enjoy myself, cuz it’s only going to get more challenging from here. Even if I only have one more week left after I perform the waltz, I’d still say I made a few great friends and had an amazing ride! And also, I got to meet Chris Kattan, which for any fan of the Y2K SNL generation is a very big deal! (He’s hysterical, by the way.)
Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.