By Lorna Soonhee Umphrey | November 7, 2016 | People
We chatted with Val Chmerkovskiy to discuss all things Dancing With The Stars, why he was surprised to learn he’d be partnered up was Laurie Hernandez, and what he looks for in a woman.
When you work on one of the top TV shows on ABC, it can be a bit challenging. Add to the mix that it’s a fan-voting, dance competition show broadcast to millions and the stakes just got higher. However, professional dancer and Dancing with the Stars cast member, Val Chmerkovskiy, jumps and slides to the challenge, making his job look way easier than it is.
Now in his 11th season on the show, Chmerkovskiy's partnered up with Olympic medalist Laurie Hernandez and they look to be dancing their way to a winning season. Here, he talks about DWTS, Hernandez, and the three things he looks for in a woman.
What do you love about being on the show?
Val Chmerkovskiy: My favorite part is obviously the creating. Every week I get a chance to work with a ridiculous budget to be creative and tell stories through dance and do what I love. I think the best part is meeting my partners. You meet new people, you face a different set of challenges, and in the process you learn how to cope with them, how to adjust, and you build life-long friendships.
Let’s talk about this season. You have the amazing Olympic gold medalist, Laurie Hernandez. What’s it like working with her?
VC: It’s great. It’s been a little different because I’m working with someone that’s a lot younger than my average partner. It’s a little bit of a different energy for me. Being able to work with someone as talented as her is awesome but is also a great responsibility. I want to do a great job not only choreographing awesome pieces for her but also set a great example and hopefully teach her some things way beyond the dance floor.
Has she upped your own competitive spirit?
VS: (laughs) I’m competitive regardless. The truth is, I never thought I’d get Laurie Hernandez on the show. I have no idea how that happened. I don’t know how the mean bullying Russian got with America’s Sweetheart. I don't know what went wrong, who lost the bet or what. She is the best partner in the world—of the season—and no one comes close. I obviously feel very fortunate that my partner is Laurie, but my commitment doesn’t change regardless of whether I have a frontrunner or an underdog. I give it the same approach.
I’ve got to ask—this is for the ladies. Are you currently single?
VC: Yes, I am single.
Does the woman of your dreams have to be a good dancer?
VC: No, she doesn’t have to be a good dancer. She should probably have rhythm. Do you know how many times I’ve seen such a beautiful girl by the bar and I’ve already fell in love. Then the beat drops and she kind of starts moving. I’m like okay. She gets out there [on the dance floor] and she literally cannot sense the music. That is the biggest turn-off ever. Listen, would I trade dance ability for a sense of humor and intellect? Absolutely not. But if I could have all three, then I will take it.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images; Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images