We chatted with Brant, 29, about being a part of the 10th Anniversary Special, hurdles during his time on the show and just why he wanted to participate in the first place. Check it:
JJJ: What were some of your favorite moments on the show?
Brant Daugherty: The entire experience was a highlight so it’s hard to pick specific moments! But since you asked, meeting Bill Nye was surreal. I rarely get starstruck unless it involves my childhood, and I grew up watching Bill Nye the Science Guy. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous to introduce myself to someone. Not many people know this, but I used to work as a Production Assistant and one of my first gigs was a movie with Christina Milian. It was my job to get coffee and keep everyone on schedule. Five years later, I got to dance alongside Christina. That was a powerful moment for me. I also loved having my family in the audience. They don’t get to visit very often and there’s nothing like having your mom cheering you on.
JJJ: Can you pick your favorite dance? Why was that one your favorite?
BD: My favorite dance was the contemporary routine that Peta and I dedicated to my father. He passed away in 2009 and it isn’t something I usually like to talk about. But that’s the thing about this show. It forces you to face yourself and your pain. Putting my story out there for everyone to see was incredibly therapeutic. Every second of that dance had so much meaning for me. I consider it one of the greatest things I’ve ever done artistically.
(Click inside for more of our exclusive interview with Brant…)
JJJ: What has the show meant to you?
BD: I’m so grateful for my time on the show. Going in, I had an idea of who I was and what I was capable of. Dancing with the Stars showed me how wrong I was. I am so much stronger and more adaptable than I ever thought possible. I didn’t just learn to dance, I learned to stop limiting myself and to embrace the unknown. Also, I learned to dance!
JJJ: Looking back, what made you want to join in the first place?
BD: Going in, I had this idea about reality TV. I thought it was all about trying to start fights and invent drama to boost ratings. That wasn’t something I wanted to be a part of. Then I learned why this show was different. At its heart, Dancing with the Stars is a show about growth. It’s about challenging yourself. It’s about putting on a good show and entertaining people. It didn’t seek to exploit. Instead, it elevated us and pushed us outside our comfort zones. And that was something I had to be a part of.
JJJ: Is there anything you haven’t told your partner? What would you like to say to them now?
BD: Peta, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It was a whirlwind and we didn’t always see eye to eye, but you were always there for me when I needed you and I couldn’t ask for a better teacher, partner, and friend.
JJJ: What was the biggest hurdle for you to get over during your time on the show?
BD: I have what Peta affectionately calls “midwestern hips.” I had a really hard time getting them to move the way they were supposed to during all those Latin dances! It took a lot of stretching, physical therapy and a dedicated masseuse to finally get those hips moving. I felt like the Tin Man oiling up my joints.
JJJ: If you could do it all again, would you?
BD: Knowing what I know now, I’d do it all over again.
JJJ: What are you most excited about for the anniversary special?
BD: I’m so excited to see my old friends again. We’ve all been busy since we wrapped season 17 so we could use a reunion! Plus I get to see Amber Riley perform with Lil’ Kim and Patti Labelle! I’m so proud of that girl and I can’t wait for everyone to see her shine on that stage again.
JJJ: Are you watching the show now? Who are you rooting for?
BD: I haven’t seen much of this current season so I need to catch up! I’m pulling for Rumer because I adore her and I want to see a PLL cast member take home the mirror ball!
Tune in for the Dancing With The Stars 10th Anniversary Special airing Tuesday, April 28th @ 8PM ET/PT on ABC!