We met “Dancing With the Stars” star Peta Murgatroyd while she was in Manhattan recently. She was so excited about the upcoming birth of her first child. (Her son, Shai Aleksander Chmerkovskiy, was born after our interview.)
What inspired you to become a dancer and how long have you been dancing?
I’ve been dancing since I was 4. I started out with ballet. I went into it and I immediately fell in love with it. I love that you could express yourself and you could dance around the room and have no worries. When I got into it, I knew that it was my dream and it was what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
We know you’re from New Zealand. When did you come to the United States?
I came first of all for a little bit of a holiday. I was dancing in Australia and we all ended up in Atlantic City for some unknown reason. But we went there and we decided to finish our dancing at this theater in Atlantic City and then we came to New York for a little holiday and that was my first time really seeing this amazing big city.
What is it like to be on “Dancing With the Stars?” Do you keep in touch with old partners?
Yes, I love keeping in touch with old partners. I love Tommy Chong, he’s an older gentleman, he’s amazing. I love my old partner Nyle [DiMarco]. We just won last season. He’s a very good friend and he came over for a barbecue like a month ago and we had a great time. It is hard, I’m not going to lie, it’s a really tough job. There’s a lot of pressure, you’re on live TV and once they say go, you got one chance to make it right and one chance to make it perfect. You have to do a lot of calming down of your partner when they’re just about to go on stage because they get really nervous.
Some people sing in the shower. Do you dance in the shower?
No! I sing in the shower. I love singing. I think that’s another thing I want to try to pursue actually maybe do a Broadway role, who knows, but I don’t really dance in the shower I’m too tired to dance in the shower nowadays.
Do you get nervous before you perform on “DWTS”?
Yes I do. I get more nervous than my partners. I don’t know why. I’ve always been that way, I always get butterflies in my tummy. It’s not a fun feeling, but when you get out there and accomplish what you’re nervous about, it’s the best feeling ever.
Do you watch yourself on “DWTS” and are you critical of yourself?
Very critical. [My fiance] Maks [Chmerkovskiy] and I will sit at home and I’ll like pick to pieces all the little parts that I could have done better. I’m never always perfect. There’s always things that can go wrong and because I’m always worried about my partner that’s your job to worry about them and make sure they’re doing their job.