A celeb competitor for the latest season of Dancing with the Stars calls prepping for Season 27 “intense” in a new interview with Parade Magazine.
Facts of Life alum Nancy McKeon, at 52 the oldest female dancer of the season, will show off her skills alongside professional partner Val Chmerkovskiy, a two-time mirrorball champion.
McKeon is the second star from the iconic 80s television show to take the ballroom floor in an attempt to win mirrorball glory. Her former co-star Kim Fields, who played Tootie, partnered with pro Sasha Farber for Season 22.
McKeon described Field’s encouragement to take on this new challenge to Parade, “Have a great time, enjoy every day, and just really, really strive to have the journey be fun because it’s a lot.”
Although the actress has stayed out of the spotlight as she raised her two daughters Aurora and Harlow with husband Marc Andrus, she decided to come back to public life based on one major criterion; she asked her family to vote on her television return.
“I think I would’ve said no because it’s terrifying, but they said, ‘No, we really think that you should do this and it will be something good for you.’ I was thinking about it, and it’s a challenge. It’s completely outside of anything that I have ever, ever even considered doing, and so, I guess we all have to terrify ourselves every now and again,” McKeon stated.
She cited the support of her other “family,” her former castmates, with whom she remains close.
McKeon noted that Fields, Lisa Welchel, and Mindy Cohn sent her great messages of support and love upon her undertaking this challenging new personal and professional adventure.
“I think they secretly are also having a smile because they know it’s outside anything I would ever do,” the actress remarked to Parade.
McKeon noted that although she had some dance training as a young child, she certainly did not have enough to keep up with the other celebrities in the competition or any of the pros.
She remarked that she admires her partner Chmerkovskiy, whom she calls an “amazing” and “patient” teacher.
McKeon stated in the Parade interview that he has become a “great friend” as well, noting he is fun and funny and that together they laugh a lot, which helps make her training easier and less stressful.
“I don’t want to let him down or the multitude of fans that he’s had for so many years, you know?” she explained.
Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. on ABC.