Who can we really expect to see on DWTS?
I have no idea. I probably will know the week when they make the announcement for everybody else. That’s how I find out. I hear gossip but I’ve learned that gossip always seems to be wrong. I remember I heard that Cher was going to be on the show one year and LaToya Jackson, and then they don’t show up.
What’s the best and worst part of this job?
The best part is that dancing has inspired so many people again I get to be a part of that. The worst part is when you see that your words have hurt somebody – that they’ve been personally hurt.
What kind of personal challenge are you giving yourself for DWTS this season?
I’ve done this since season one, I challenge myself to follow The Four Agreements, and if you read them, you will see why they translate so well to what I do on the dance floor.
Basically it’s to tell the truth, to have integrity with your work, to not take anything personally and I can’t remember the last one but it is probably the one I live by the most; I live by the truth.
I have to do that in my own life because I know how difficult it can be for the contestants and I don’t want them to ever take it personally if I give them criticism. I know that sometimes the contestants take what we say very personally. But it’s about the dancing and it says nothing about how we feel about them as a human being.
When I first found out I was going to be a judge, I talked to some mentors in my life and said, “What do I do?” because judging is like everything you’re told not to do in life. You’re not supposed to judge people.
So you have to be a woman that stands by the truth, whether it’s uncomfortable, or makes you feel vulnerable or puts you under fire.
Diedre Johnson is a freelance writer covering entertainment in Los Angeles.