Before she even stepped onto the ballroom floor for Monday night’s premiere of Dancing with the Stars, Kaitlyn Bristowe was considered a front runner because she has prior dance experience, having studied ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary from when she was about three years old, and then hip hop when she was 19. And she didn’t disappoint.
But the former Bachelorette isn’t as confident as others feel she should be. In fact, she told Monsters & Critics that she was having trouble with her night one dance: the cha cha cha.
Kaitlyn Bristowe’s first performance on Dancing with the Stars
She and her professional partner Artem Vladimirovich performed to Stupid Love by Lady Gaga. Even with her doubts, Kaitlyn was awarded 20 points out of a possible 30, one of the highest scores of the night. Judge Derek Hough called it a great first dance.
“I feel like I did have some competence going into the dance studio, but I am extremely humbled and I am going to have to work extremely hard and enjoy those hard work hours because ballroom dancing is really, really tough,” she says.
“I definitely have a dance background, but never in ballroom, and I’m telling you, it is a whole other beast once you get in that dance studio.”
Bristowe adds that her biggest fear for the Dancing with the Stars competition is not tripping and falling, but letting people down.
“It’s always my biggest insecurity,” she admits. “If I disappoint myself or my partner — he’s such a hard worker and so patient with me — I don’t want to let him down.”
Kaitlyn is hoping Bachelor Nation is behind her
The glimmer of hope in Bristowe’s arsenal is she thinks she has the backing of Bachelor Nation. Last season, Hannah Brown walked away with the mirror-ball trophy with support from the fans of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, who voted her into the win. Bristowe is hoping they will turn out for her, too.
“I think they’re going to be who I need the most in this time because Bachelor Nation, I always say, is extremely loyal and they proved that with Hannah,” Bristowe says. “So, I am definitely hoping I have the same support.”
Monsters & Critics: What were you were doing in the pandemic before getting the DWTS news?
Kaitlyn Bristowe: During the pandemic, I was lucky enough to still be able to work from home. I have a podcast, I have a scrunchie line, and I also have a wine label, so it was actually nice for me to be stuck in one place because I ended up getting a lot of work done.
M&C: And how did you transition from that into full dance mode?
Kaitlyn: Well, I don’t know if I got the news earlier, or if people just knew I was going on the show earlier, but I started getting my butt in gear and got a personal trainer. I went and saw a physical therapist and also started training with a boxing coach. So, I started preparing in that way just so I could come here.
Everybody in quarantine is just, I think, a little more in relaxed mode. I know I was. I was on the couch for like a horizontal work day most of the time. So, I got my butt in gear. So, I had a little bit of stamina to work with once I got here.
M&C: What is your greatest dance floor moment prior to this?
Kaitlyn: You know what? My greatest dance floor moment is about overcoming something, and it was when I was doing a solo at a competition in a theater full of people. It was my first time where something happened and the music stopped. And my mom, who was also a previous professional ballerina, she was in the front row and she just kept counting me through the whole dance because you don’t stop. The show must go on. I kept going, I danced my whole solo to my mom’s clapping count. She had five, six, seven, eight.
M&C: You said before that you had really wished Derek Hough was a pro this season, so he could be your partner, but what was your reaction when you learned that he was going to be a judge?
Kaitlyn: I was pretty excited. I kind of nerded out a little bit because I hadn’t even thought of him as a judge. I just thought he would always be a pro. So, I’m just happy he’s involved in the show in any way. And if he’s not going to be my partner, I’m okay with him judging me.
M&C: You were the first a star to be named, to be a part of the show as the other names were being sent into the world, who excited you the most that you just needed to meet?
Kaitlyn: Probably AJ from Backstreet Boys. I grew up in that era. I’ve went to, I think, three Backstreet Boys concerts and I’m a pretty big fan. So, I was excited about that one.
M&C: There’s always a Disney theme night. Is that something that you’re looking forward to? What is it on the show specifically that you’re looking forward to most?
Kaitlyn: Disney always excites me. I am a huge fan of any Disney show or movie, so yeah, that’s exciting. I’m excited about it all. I really can’t wait to see what kind of hair and makeup and costumes they put us all in.
M&C: So, you’re good with all the glitter and sequins?
Kaitlyn: I am just because growing up dancing, I loved wearing different costumes. I was in 17 different dances in one competition. So, put me in all the rhinestones.
M&C: With Tyra Banks in the house is there extra pressure on you to step out there looking fierce?
Kaitlyn: Yes. I feel like she’s such a perfect addition to this show with coming out hot on the dance floor. So, I’m definitely going to try to impress her with my fierceness.
M&C: Any injuries in training prior to now?
Kaitlyn: You know what, not really, I’m pretty fortunate, but right before I left to come here, I was trying to be ambitious and got a trainer and I ended up doing something to my back, but I was able to have enough time to work it out. And now, I’m just dealing with a couple of sore knees, but I’m going to battle through all the pain.
M&C: Is that what the physical therapist was for that you’d mentioned earlier?
Kaitlyn: Yes, exactly. She was helping me with strength and mobility.
M&C: You’ve been very vocal about how you wanted to do this for a long time and then you spent all summer just training by yourself. So, what is it like now to actually be training with your partner?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, I keep saying it’s very humbling because I think everybody has told me, “Oh, you’re going to be fine. You’ve had dance experience. So, you’ve got this.” And then, my first dance I learned, I’m just like, “Okay, I don’t, I do not have this.” So, it’s been very humbling and extremely challenging.
M&C: So many people, obviously, want to know about your love life, but Dancing with the Stars allows you to get other aspects of your life out there to the world. What would you like people to know that they might not know about you during your journey?
Kaitlyn: I think that’s a really good question. For me personally, everyone always sees my edgy side and that I’m trying to be this tough girl. And, I think, dancing really brings out a softer side of me. It’s something that I’m extremely passionate about and something that I bonded with, with my mom over the years, because she used to be a professional ballerina. So, I think people might get to see my softer side and probably some dedications to my mom.
M&C: What are you looking forward to the most as the season goes on dance wise?
Kaitlyn: I know this sounds crazy, but I’m looking forward to the workload because I love being in a dance studio. Now maybe ask me that in a few weeks and I’ll have a different answer, but the first week, I’ve just been so thrilled and excited to be here. I just love being in the dance studio. I’m putting in the hard work to see what I can do.
M&C: Dancing with the Stars usually has a lot of meme moments. Is that going to be something that you think you’ll provide with maybe some tears along the way?
Kaitlyn: Well, I think Carole Baskin has taken over with the memes, but I’m a pretty animated person and also extremely emotional. So, I’m sure there’ll be a few of those out there.
M&C: Dance is so much a partnership. Have you learned anything about what kind of partner you make?
Kaitlyn: You know what? I actually thought just from who I am as a person, I thought I would be maybe stubborn or get frustrated, but I think because of my partner, I’m able to just be a good student because I really want to work hard. So, it makes me a better student, a better listener. And I’m just a hard worker.
Dancing with the Stars airs Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC.