Before Kellie Pickler charmed Derek Hough — and America — with her cute Southern drawl and snarky “wasp-face” comments on Dancing With the Stars 2013, there was another fiery (and incredibly toned) personality in Derek’s life: Maria Menounos.
One of Season 14’s sexiest duos, Derek and Maria had the perfect showmance. He pushed her to be better, while she giggled like a dolphin and tried not to injure herself (again). Derek and Maria may not have won, but they sure put on quite a show. So when Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with Maria while she was promoting her new healthy eating PSA for Avocados from Mexico, we had to ask her: Is she still Team Derek?
“Of course I’m rooting for Derek and Kellie!,” Maria told Wetpaint. “I met up with them a few weeks ago, and I was like, ‘Alright guys, we gotta win. How are we going to win?’ Kellie was like, ‘I love that you’re saying we.’ I’m always going to be on the team! I’m here to help.”
However, just because Maria is firmly on Team Derek doesn’t mean that she won’t support her other friends in the ballroom. After all, DWTS really is just one big, happy family.
“It’s hard because I love everyone, and I have so many great friendships that were a result from that show, whether it was Kym [Johnson] or Peta [Murgatroyd] or Cheryl [Burke] or Karina [Smirnoff],” said Maria. “I was really lucky to have that experience.”
Maria may also have a soft spot for Lisa Vanderpump, the busy mogul and star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. It’s not easy juggling a full-time career and a busy dancing schedule.
“It took a lot of work. God bless Derek because he was so patient. I had to work a full-time job and dance, so the hours were awful. I had to work harder than everyone to make sure that I was good on show nights.”
As for whether or not we’ll find Maria on the dance floor anytime soon, well, that’s up to her feet. DWTS fans may remember Maria’s several injuries throughout the season. It turns out the TV personality spent nearly a year recovering!
“I was really injured. It took almost a full year to heal from those injuries, so I haven't been able to do a whole lot of dancing. I had seven stress fractures in my feet, so I wasn’t able to do a lot. But I did say the second I was healed, I was going to take it up again. I’m ready to go back and learn some more moves! I want to keep it going because it was so much fun. I loved it!”
Ultimately, Maria says you just have smile through it. (Are you listening, Andy Dick?)
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I danced on so many broken bones. You just have to smile through it and really take it in as an experience. Power through and enjoy every second of it because you’ll look back on it with such fondness.”
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