Cheryl Burke on 'Dancing with the Stars': 'I Haven't Seen the Judges Get This Nasty in Awhile'

Cheryl Burke (Getty)

Cheryl Burke (Getty).
Cheryl Burke is currently competing in her 15th (yes, 15th!) season of Dancing with the Stars, but the pro ballroom dancer and author is showing no signs of slowing down.

She's currently taking part in the Great American Try-On, which involves trying on the Depend Silhouette for Women underneath one of her skimpy dance costumes. Because of her participation, Depend will donate $50,000 to Dress for Success, an organization that inspires confidence in women by helping them with career development.

We recently chatted with Burke about her partnership with Depend, her latest DWTS partner D.L. Hughley, and why she's been surprised about some of the judges' comments this season.

I love that the Depend Silhouette for Women is all about helping women feel confident in themselves and in their bodies.
Totally. And that's why I love this campaign so much, because it is about feeling good and especially for women, gaining confidence. I think it's just perfect. Especially with the Depend product itself, there's no reason for them not to feel confident. For me, I literally wore it right under my costume. It's like normal underwear, so I think it's great that the product feels amazing and you can't even tell you have it on.

Are there any tricks you have for keeping up your own confidence out on the dance floor and in your daily life?
For me, it's all about staying healthy and feeling good. Every time I perform, a week beforehand it's important for me to eat healthy and stay hydrated. Especially in those skimpy costumes we wear. [laughs] It's important that my body feels good in the costume or else I won't feel confident.

Why did you choose Dress for Success as your charity for this Great American Try On Challenge?
Dress for Success is an organization that inspires women and helps women. It's an amazing organization that inspires confidence in women.

Moving on to Dancing with the Stars, you and your partner D.L. Hughley got some harsh criticism from the judges this week. Were you surprised when you didn't end up in the Bottom 3?
I was surprised. I thought we were going to be the first ones eliminated, actually. I mean, we were close to the bottom — we were only one point ahead of Wynonna [Judd] — and we still weren't in the Bottom 3. So it just shows us that our fans are really pulling for us. And we obviously wouldn't be there if it weren't for them.

How do you take that sort of criticism and make it motivate you guys instead of letting it bringing you down?
With the judges it's hard because sometimes they give you constructive criticism that you can take back to the studios and sometimes they don't. With D.L., a lot of the criticism has not been constructive, so it's been an emotional ride. I think it's hard and it's not very encouraging, especially for someone with no dance experience, to kind of be talked to like that. It's been a surprise for me. I haven't seen the judges get this nasty in awhile.

Well next week is a brand new week. Can you give fans a teaser of what's coming up for you guys?
The theme for next week is "The Best Year of Your Life," so it's D.L.'s best year of his life. And he has a really great story and we'll be dancing a foxtrot, so I'm really excited about it.

What do you like best about working with D.L.?
His sense of humor, obviously! He's so funny and we get along great. He doesn't take himself too seriously, but at the same time he's trying hard. You know, he did this show because he's trying to conquer his fear of dancing. So we're having a great time and we're still so happy to be here right now.

He's afraid of dancing? Have you met a lot of people who have that same fear of dancing?
Actually no, I have no. In all my 15 partners, he's the only one who's ever said that he has a fear of dancing. I think everyone, deep down, has a fear of dancing in front of millions of people, but not a lot of people have a fear of dancing, period.

You've been with Dancing with the Stars almost since the very beginning. How has it been to watch the show grow into this incredible phenomenon?
It's pretty crazy. For me, I've been on since Season 2 so this is my 15th season. I never thought it was going to last this long. I remember Tom Bergeron and I were having a conversation back in like Season 6 where were were thinking, 'Okay, the show will probably only last until Season 10.' But it's been incredible. It's pretty amazing to be a part of it.

You and the show have been so instrumental in this whole ballroom dancing revival that has happened. Dancing is obviously meaningful to you, so what has that experience meant to you?
It's amazing. I mean, I was living in New York before I came to LA, just training as a ballroom dancer and I watched the first season. A couple of my friends were on the first season, and I thought the show was going to be a one season deal. So being a part of it — it's pretty amazing just to see how many people love to dance now. And having a dance studio, I see how many people just want to learn how to dance because of all these reality shows that are out about dancing. It's not just our show, there are so many other great shows out there.

See more Cheryl Burke pictures:
  • Cheryl Burke in "Dancing With The Stars" Celebs Go To Rehearsals
  • Cheryl Burke in Dancing with the Stars Season 16 Episode 3
  • Cheryl Burke in Dancing with the Stars Season 16 Episode 4
  • Cheryl Burke in 'DWTS' Cast Heads to Rehearsals
  • Cheryl Burke in Celebs Visit Disney Parks
  • Cheryl Burke in Celebs Grab Dinner in Beverly Hills
  • Cheryl Burke in Dancing with the Stars Season 16 Episode 2
  • Cheryl Burke in Dancing with the Stars Season 16 Episode 5
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