This was posted on Monday, March 20, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk
Erika Jayne is a big dance club star and a burgeoning reality star on Bravo's "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Now on the 24th season of "Dancing With the Stars" debuting March 20, the Atlanta native will try her hand at ballroom on an even bigger stage.
On the phone last week after five hours of rehearsing, she sounded confident and relaxed, even up against the likes of Heather Morris (a pro dancer best known for her role on "Glee") and Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles.
"Rehearsals are good," she said. "The number's cute. I'm excited. I have no ballroom background. I'm learning as I go."
Jayne, 45, said she's calm now but "talk to me Sunday before the show begins. I'll be a bundle of nerves! I'll be crawling out of my skin!"
At least the outfits will be amazing, she said: "They custom make everything. They show the parts you want to see and hide those you don't."
She wants to get as far as she can simply for herself, not to take down anyone else. "I'm competitive with myself," she said. "I want to win everyday. I'm motivated to do my best."
Of course, she has an ego and does not want to be the first one to go. "I need all my fans to help me out there," she said.
My interview with Erika last year about her time growing up in Atlanta and joining "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
Jayne's background is not ballroom but contemporary dance. "It's different placement, different speed and it involves a partner," she said. (Her partner Gleb Savchenko also danced with fellow housewife Lisa Vanderpump in 2013.) Gleb, she said, "is very sweet and very kind... Ballroom is intimate. You need to like the other person."
Good news: she'll likely be able to dance to one of her own songs at one point, which is free publicity for her music.
Jayne on "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" is not an instigator of drama. She is also nothing like her stage persona.
The show recently featured her visiting her mother in Conyers where they visited her grandmother's grave. It was touching and emotional. "I was pleased the way the show handled that," she said. "It's a very personal choice to reveal yourself that way. Initially, I didn't want to do it. But it was handled beautifully and you get to know a different part of me"
Her closest friend on the show when she came on last year was Yolanda Hadid, who left the show this season and has suffered from lupus and divorced her husband producer David Foster. "I do miss my buddy," Jayne said. "We just had dinner last week. She has incredible things on the horizon. She's doing well. She looks great."
"Dancing With the Stars," 8 p.m. Monday, debuting season 24 on March 20, 2017, ABC