For some reason, people love watching celebrities (or psuedo-celebrities) twirl around in sequins and spandex and tassels—22.5 million viewers tuned in for the U.S. season premiere of "Dancing with the Stars" this year. And apparently earning a coveted spot on the Australian version of the show is an equally high-profile honor.
So, naturally, when we got word that Layne Beachley was fox-trotting her way through season nine of the Aussie hit, we were both surprised and intrigued at the latest mainstream crossover. We caught up with the semi-retired former champ—who was just recently eliminated from the show—to get her take on the experience.
How did you end up getting cast for the show?
The producers have asked me several times to compete on the show but tour commitments had previously prevented me from being able to commit the time. Being retired gave me no excuse, so I dove on in and gave it my best shot.
Tell us about the experience.
It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. The training, the people, and the costumes were amazing! It became a full-time job, requiring 4-5 hours of training, 5-6 days a week. I learned how to do the Waltz, Rumba, Salsa, Fox Trot, and the Aussie Smooth. My last performance was my best, so at least I was eliminated feeling proud of my dancing. If it happened any earlier I would have been devastated! But it taught me so much about myself and definitely highlighted my competitive nature…I was addicted! It turned my life upside down and it took me about a week to get over not having to show up to a dance studio every day. I lost 4 kgs [8.8 lbs] in eight weeks and absolutely loved the challenge.
How did you stack up against the other celebrity dancers?
Only two of us were athletes and the other athlete was a blind guy! The rest of the crew were TV personalities, a female stand-up comedian, a swimsuit model, and a country singer—which gives you an idea of the broad cross section of talent…or lack there of! We are all great mates and everyone has thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My dance partner and I actually performed a couple of dances at a charity function last weekend so you never know what it will lead to!