I feel reenergized. I went to Spain over the summer. I made sure that during my hiatus that I took time to myself, even if it were just for two weeks. It helped me get relaxed and just come back excited about this season.
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Frazer Harrison/WWE 2011/Getty
I've had seasons in which during my hiatus I went from a book tour straight back to a new season. That was really hard. I think it's important – especially for me – because I've been on the show for so long, to feel excited and motivated every season because I need to be able to give a chance to every single celebrity I dance with.
Things are going great so far this season. Rob [Kardashian] and I are getting along. We have amazing chemistry. We're just having fun together. He's the youngest partner I've ever had. He's bringing out the more immature side of me. It's like I'm not afraid to make fun of myself. Normally I have older men that come in here. I've especially had a lot of athletes that really take it seriously. And Rob takes it super seriously, but he knows how to joke around with me.
You may not always see the taskmaster that you're used to seeing. It takes a lot of the pressure off. With Rob, I don't even think he's aware of what I used to be like. He makes me feel like I don't need to take myself so seriously all the time. There are moments – don't get me wrong. There are moments that I am very strict with him. We have a goal at the end of every session, so if he doesn't meet that goal, then I'll get frustrated with him.
Healthy Relationship with RobWe have that brother-and-sister relationship, you know? We bicker, we literally throw punches. We slap each other around. It's nice to feel comfortable with somebody and also have them bring out the funny side of me, too.
I'm happy I'm dancing with Rob. Every person I dance with is a whole different experience. But I can definitely tell that this one with Rob is going to be the most memorable for sure. We're just really good friends. I've known Rob from before the show started. We used to hang out all the time, so it's kind of like I've never trained anyone that I knew already.
He's pretty good. He's really fast on his feet and he loves just having fun with the whole thing. He doesn't make fun of the dance, but he really brings out the lighter side of himself.
When it comes to personality, he's really funny. He's so sweet. I kind of thought he was going to be stuck-up, maybe and immature, but he's opposite. He's so sweet, he's so charming, and he's so funny. He has this dry, sarcastic sense of humor, so in the beginning, I wasn't sure if he was joking or being honest, but he's funny and he knows how to take things seriously as well though.
We're both not nervous yet for the first night of the show. But I think once we have our first rehearsal on stage, it might bring out his nervous side. But I think for now, we're really just a good match. I told him to just smile and have fun.
Like he was nervous for the first few days we actually started, but now that I think he's getting to know the crew and the dancers, things are getting easier. He's never done anything like this before. He's never performed live or performed at all really. I don't really know how he's going to handle it. I guess I won't know until it's really lights, camera, action.