Nothing seems to intimidate Erika Jayne about Monday’s premiere of Dancing With the Stars’ latest season — least of all competing against a couple of 20-something ingenues with loads of dance experience. We asked the blonde bombshell from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to talk about her chances of winning the Mirror Ball Trophy with partner Gleb Savchenko, and then we got her to spill about her ridiculously addictive Bravo show and her big appearances on Young and the Restless.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Had you wanted to do Dancing With the Stars before?
ERIKA JAYNE: I’ve watched the show and I’ve enjoyed the show. It’s hard, it’s tough, it’s different than what I do onstage for sure, but what a great journey and what a great group of people. I mean, everybody’s super sweet, from the pros to the celebs to production.
In your music videos, you’ve demonstrated that you can move.
I went in saying the following: “I’m not a ballroom dancer, so you’ve got to show me everything.” I’m just in my partner’s hands and whatever he feels we can do, that’s what we’re doing with regards to each dance. I don’t know how to waltz. I do not know how to foxtrot. I don’t know how to rumba, but I’m about to learn. There are moments of sheer joy and there are moments of frustration and there are moments of, “Holy s—, I don’t know how I’m going to pull that off.” You get to run the whole gamut here.
Your resume has definitely changed over the years from this music star to now a reality star. If you had to choose one title, which do you prefer?
Entertainer. You know, I entertain whether I’m on Housewives, or whether I’m on Dancing With the Stars, or whether I’m on Young and the Restless. My goal is to get out there. I need to put a smile on people’s faces, make them feel what I’m feeling, let them forget their troubles. Whether I’m performing in a club or onstage as Erika Jayne, whether I’m making records, whether I’m doing TV, I’ve got to entertain, and I have to take people away from their space and bring them into mine.
What’s your outfit for opening night?
Oh, it’s super short and sassy. And I have to be tan. It just makes the body prettier and the lines longer.
Let’s talk about your other TV gigs. First up: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. What changed for you when you joined the show last season?
Erika Jayne, who was alive and well in clubs, is now in people’s homes all across the country for 20 weeks every Tuesday night! It’s brought an incredible amount of awareness to everything that I do and I’ve had a really good time both seasons and have enjoyed myself immensely and I’m very grateful for the opportunity, quite honestly.
Were you familiar with the show before joining?
I was familiar with the show. I had never watched the show. I had never, ever thought about being on any Real Housewives show, so it was interesting to actually be on one. I always thought they were big personalities on TV, and I think when you put big personalities together, anything can happen. If the cameras were to turn away today, the same thing goes on. All they did was point a camera at my life.
Have you been shocked at what goes on among the women?
I’ve never been shocked at anything I’ve said. I’ve been shocked at what others have said about me and about other people, but I am perfectly fine with everything I’ve ever said. I feel like all of the fans of this show are very… they feel like they know us and they feel as if they know a little piece about our lives, which they do. Oftentimes people say, “Hey, you’re my best friend in my head.” No one’s ever come up to me and asked me if it was real or not.
Can you see yourself doing this for a while?
I have to be asked back and I think that as long as the producers and everyone wants me back and it feels right — who knows what happens tomorrow?
The cameras recently went home with you and viewers got to learn more about your mom and family.
I didn’t want to do it. I’m a very guarded person, very controlled person. And I didn’t want to do it because I knew it was going to dredge up all of these tender moments, and it did, and that’s what you saw. My mother surprised me, talking about the way she raised me, and it was hard emotionally, but it also connected with a lot of people. I had a lot of people reach out to talk about my connection with my grandmother and her Alzheimer’s, and I’ve been overwhelmed with people reaching out about their relationship with their grandmother or their grandparents and Alzheimer’s. It really struck a chord, I think, with a lot of people.
Can you tease the upcoming episodes?
I get more emotional than I ever have in these last few episodes, and rightfully so. I didn’t want to. I don’t like that. I don’t want to make an ass out of myself, and I think that cooler heads do prevail in life and especially on reality television. However, every now and then, you break down like everyone else.
Talk about your guest role on Young and The Restless. You just booked another one!
Let me tell you something: How about that as a birthday gift? How about, I mean, giving me a role for my 45th birthday on [fellow Housewives star] Eileen Davidson’s show? I still had to go in there and earn it and work for it. It could’ve gone bad. Eileen was so careful and she held my hand. I was a bundle of nerves, but she was more of a bundle of nerves for me. She’s a lovely person. I can’t say enough about her. They asked me back last week and I shot my scenes last week, so there you go. What a compliment to be asked back. I thought it was great.
Who is your character?
I’m a sassy realtor named Farrah Dubose and I come to town and just kind of take over the real estate game, and I’m a little pushy, I’m a little sassy, and cause a little bit of trouble.
Back to tonight’s premiere. It needs to be said: You’ve got some stiff competition. There’s another Olympic gymnast and a very talented hoofer from Glee.
I don’t look at it that way. Everyone has their own race to run. I’m not 20 years old. I’m 45 years old, and you know what? I don’t want to be a 20-year-old again. I want to be where I am today, so I’m going to go out there as a very proud 45-year-old woman and kill it. Let the chips fall where they may. At the end of the day, I feel great about who I am, where I am in my life, and I’m quite certain that a lot of women in America will feel the same way. You cannot compare apples to oranges. As a performer, you’ll never get past week one if you feel like you’re already defeated.
Dancing With the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.