Dancing With The Stars – season 14

“I learned how strong I was, how to persevere and not just on the dance floor… but in the dance of life.” – Maria Menounos

My EveryGirl Journey

When ABC called and asked me to be on the hit series Dancing with the Stars, my first thought was, No way. Born with crooked legs that required metal braces and steel reinforced shoes, I grew up as an uncoordinated kid and still have an awkward running style to this day. Nor was I much of a dancer. Growing up, I never performed in recitals the way other girls did, as my parents couldn’t afford dance lessons. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of the whole world. And unlike some of the other Dancing with the Stars contestants, I had a full-time job, hosting Extra every day. Entertainment news is like any other news, it never stops. Would I even be able to fit in hours of rehearsing every day? At the last minute, I decided to do it. My parents, my boyfriend Keven, and his mom were huge fans of the show, and Kev thought that the added exposure would be good for my career. It wasn’t easy,  emotionally or physically. I didn’t learn the steps as fast as the other contestants, and I was constantly terrified that I’d mess up. I fractured both of my feet (in multiple places) and two of my ribs during our rehearsals, and I was in pain throughout. Time was tight—I hosted Extra every day I was dancing, and  had to cram in my Dancing with the Stars rehearsals during the evenings. Yet for all the pain, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had; an amazing fourteen weeks learning about my body—and about my life.

Any success I had in the dancing department, I owe 100 percent to Derek Hough, my dance partner. He is the most superb dancer and a genius-level choreographer and teacher. He makes every partner look amazing. He really is that unbelievable. Derek, his parents, his sisters, and their children are like family to me, so I got a lot of emotional support, too. However, I take full credit for any success I had in terms of stamina. I owed that success to the hard lessons I’d learned in the arena of diet and fitness and the strong foundation I’d established as a result. That foundation took years to build, and I didn’t do it alone. It involved a lot of trial and error, and it certainly wasn’t easy. – Excerpt from The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet & Fitness