What is your biggest fear about taking to the ice?
My biggest fear is water. It is nice when it’s warm water and you take a bath. And then there’s water that turns to ice, which is very cold and very hard. That’s what I have been trying to make friends with – the ice. I’ve taken some spectacular falls and then got back up and started again. My biggest challenge is to enjoy the ice, and to feel it, and to use it to do who knows. I’ve never really skated before. When I got on the ice though, I cried, as it reminded me of my father taking me skating when I was very little.
On the flip side, what excites you the most about doing it?
Challenging yourself to face certain fears or limitations is exciting in a way. I’ve had such respect for these magnificent artists on ice skates that I’ve seen on the Olympics. It looks so effortless. I’m practising at a place where there are little children doing all sorts of moves and I think ‘wow.’ The little girl in me thinks ‘wow’ and the 67 year old in me says ‘no, don’t try that.’ It’s a challenge to focus on being the best that I can be. That’s why I signed up for it.
Prior to Dancing on Ice, what is the biggest challenge you have ever faced?
When I turned 30, I was asked to be on a US show called Circus of the Stars. That was such a challenge. I was put on a trampoline, it was a lot of fun, and gradually the challenges got more extreme. That was quite the challenge. I also did the movie version of a Broadway show called The Magic Show. But this is definitely the most challenging job that I have embarked on for quite a long time. When I’m on the ice, I feel like I’m chairman of the boards. I hold onto the boards and go around! I suggested that I dance to the Four Tops song ‘Reach Out.’ Hopefully my partner will be wonderful, strong and have a good sense of humour and I’ll reach out and he’ll be there.
Are you a natural performer and what sort of performing experience do you have prior to this?
When I first got into the business, my first job was with a pantomime company, which required a lot of movement. The auditions for Grease involved some dance, but I kept getting it wrong. It was a big audition process at the sound stage at Paramount. The choreographers and directors were watching about 100 to 200 auditionees. They taught the first dance which was a bit of a stroll to the left. For some reason, I don’t know why, but every time everyone walked to the left, I went to the right. I thought ‘what am I doing?’ I kept getting it wrong and thought ‘that’s it, I’m not getting the job.’ When we ended up shooting that sequence, the choreographer said ‘remember what you did at the audition, do that.’ You never know, you think you’ve screwed up and it turns out to be your lucky break. But I really haven’t danced much since then. Life intervened.
Are you nervous about the criticism you might face every week?
The truth of the matter is, I have to say, I’m going to do the best I can do. If I blank out, and they point that out to me, I’m going to try to be grateful. Because I do have such respect for them. I will do the best I can and hopefully it will fun and entertaining.
Taking part in a show like this takes a lot of discipline and hard work – are you prepared for that?
I’m fully committed. I’ve got to do a certain amount of training every day. I’ve written a play, which took about eight years to write, and the start of it meant learning how to box so I’m used to taking on challenges. I’m in good shape from the boxing, which will hopefully help with the training. The boxing also instilled in me a very high level of commitment and determination.
Previous contestants have remarked on what the show’s routine has done for their bodies – have you got any goals when it comes to getting in shape?
I want to be strong and flexible, and I guess be the best I can be. Stamina wise I’m pretty good but you tend to use too much energy in the wrong way when you’re learning something so I get exhausted. The challenge will be how to manage my daily physical routine so that it will stretch and strengthen and feed into the challenge on the ice.
How prepared are you for the sparkles and sequins?
That’s going to be so much fun. Maybe some wigs might make an appearance. I hope once I have the basics down with the training, I can have fun with the sparkle aspect of it.
Have you seen much of the show before?
When I was first approached to do it, I thought I best take a look of the show. I went on You Tube and saw some blooper reels of people falling, blood, getting hit with skates. I quickly turned it off and thought ‘no, can I do this job?’ So now I would rather not watch any previous shows, and just take each day as it comes.