The Dancing With The Stars pros wear many hats week after week. They are coaches, performers, competitors and, sometimes, hairstylists! Val Chmerkovskiy opened up to HollywoodLife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview about how he balances it all, and even shared that he did his partner Gabby Windey‘s hair for the premiere episode this season. “I tell all my partners in the beginning of the season, I’m going to wear many hats, but our time in this space is divided really into two main roles — I’m your coach and your teacher in the first part of the week, and then I become your partner, your date, your equal, really,” Val told HL. “I tell them, I hope you now accountable to the same standard that I’m holding myself accountable to. Because of that transition of responsibilities, it can be stressful. I make it very clear, I’m going to be challenging at times, and I really, I really in advance, want to thank you for your patience with me.”
Val continued, “At the end of the day, regardless of what hat I wear, we are two people who are pretty much peers, about the same age and the respect that is in that room is mutual, regardless of my position as her coach or partner or whatever else.” The pro added that he has “immense respect” for the former Bachelorette star, noting the “courage” it took to be on Dancing with the Stars in the first place. “I’m her safe space in all of this, as well. I’m her liaison and guide to this world and I take that role very seriously,” he said.
The pair are coming off a fabulous first performance ahead of a two-night event on Dancing With The Stars this week. Val and Gabby received straights nines from the judges for their stunning Foxtrot to “If the World Should Ever Stop” by JP Cooper. “We accelerated really quickly this week, so I think it will be our most challenging yet,” Val said to HL ahead of the performances.
The father-to-be went on to recall a moment before his first performance with Gabby in the DWTS season 23 premiere, when he ended up doing her hair! “One of the things that I think people at home don’t realize is that we are also partially their creative directors. I make sure her outfits fit, I’m at all of her fittings, things like that people don’t realize,” Val revealed. “I think our hair and makeup teams are so incredible, but the first episode, things were super busy and some things got away, and I ended up doing Gabby’s final hair for her. I got her into the trailer and I gelled it the way I wanted it, and put it in a bun, and we went on.”
Val explained that growing up in the professional dancing world prepared him for the big stage, high-pressure arena that is DWTS. “We booked our flights, we checked in hotels, we rhinestoned our own shirts, dresses and shoes. I grew up with it not being taboo or weird to be a teammate with a female. We lost together, we won together, we’d eat ramen together overseas, not being able to afford anything else,” he reminisced. “Those are the things that I now take with me to the show. My approach on the show is the same way regardless of the competition. I went from the lobbies in Connecticut to the biggest stage in the world. It doesn’t matter. My approach is the same.”
Tune in to Dancing With The Stars for a special second episode Dance Marathon, tonight, at 8 PM ET on Disney+ and see Val Chmerkovskiy and Gabby Windey crush it in the ballroom once again!