What would you say is your biggest fear from doing a show like this?
My biggest fear, honestly, is the safety of my partner. I’m not fearful of it but I’m concerned that I look after my skate partner and don’t hurt them. I might have to lift but the women have to be lifted and I think being lifted is scarier than lifting. Saying that, I won’t be lifting until I’m totally sure I won’t drop anyone!
On a more positive note, what excites you most about doing it?
Competition and getting good at this! I was a roller skater but this is a totally different gig. It involves a bit of elegance. I’ve always watched ice dancing and always been a fan of it, when I watch the Winter Olympics. I was there when Torvill and Dean did their thing and I felt the excitement of that even though I wasn’t into ice skating or anything. So, the thrill of the competition and the fun! I’m here for a lot of fun.
Would you say you’re quite a competitive person?
Yes, deep down I am! I think it’s in my Australian DNA. I won’t be a bad loser, I’m not a sore loser, but it’s a competition and I want to see how far we can get.
How do you feel being judged each week by the panel? Are you someone who takes criticism quite well or is it something you’re nervous about?
I’ve now got to the age where I think I’ll take criticism quite well. I’m in an area which I don’t know much about, so I’ll take on a lot of critique. I’m certainly willing to take that on. Luckily, way back in my early acting training, I did dance. I know my ballet and I know my plies, so I’ll take all the advice I can get to be better.
How much of a dancer would you say you are?
I’m born to dance…I love it! As a youngster, growing up in the country in Australia, the country dance was very important. I learnt all those old dances and I’d be one of the boys who would dance with all the old women. So, I’m not afraid to dance.
How prepared would you say you are for the whole sparkles and sequins element?
Yes, loving it! I’ve got to lose 5 kilos. If I can get to my fighting weight, which is 85kg…that’s pretty trim. I haven’t been that weight for a long time. Luckily, I’ve lost a bit of weight over this last year, which is a good accident! I think this job is 20% talent and 80% chiffon. Bring it on…I want to flutter!
On the whole-body aspect, previous contestants have talked about what the show has done for health/fitness. Do you have any specific goals?
I want no injuries. I’ll be doing all my stretches and following my partner on how do you do this without getting hurt. I’m going to get fit and I’m going to lose some weight, which is fantastic as I head towards 60. I’m really one of the new-old. Our generation is the new-old. When I was young, 60 was old but were not old anymore. We can’t get old and we’re not allowed to be old. That’s fine by me. As a representative of the new-old…I can do this! I know that a lot of my competitors are younger but it’s not daunting me at all.
This could potentially be up to six-months, depending how far you get on the show. There is a lot of discipline and hard work, how prepared are you for that?
There is an old maxim that I live by, from a writer called Hunter S. Thompson and his maxim was ‘When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.’ This whole situation is pretty weird, it doesn’t get much weirder! So, I will be very professional. So, I don’t make a fool of myself, I’ll be really on it with my training. I’ll be there early. I’m a bit of early worm, I like being early and I don’t like being late. If I’m late, I’m going to miss out on my skate time. Professionally, I’m ready.
Do you think coming from an acting background, to an extent you’ll be able to use that to your advantage, where even if the steps or skating isn’t there you’re able to perform?
Exactly! I think it helps a lot. It’s like when I go and play golf with my mates, I’m not a golfer and I don’t golf much but I just stand there and pretend to be a golfer and I tend to do alright. So, as an actor who hasn’t got 10,000 hours to play the role of an ice dancer, I’ve got 60 hours and the rest is acting! I think I have that on my side, that I can pretend to be a 1970’s Russian ice-dancer.
Who do you think your biggest supporters will be?
My family. I’ve got a pretty good fanbase as well. My mates. Everyone will be rooting for me and knowing that I’m trying to do my best and that I’m in it to win it!