June 27, 2009 11:00 AM by Britteny Elrick
In an interview with ivillage.com, former Dancing With The Stars contestant and host of Dance Your Ass Off, Marissa Jaret Winokur, opens up about balancingher busy schedule as a TV host and working mom. The actress, who recently battled cervical cancer, also talks about her dailychallenges surrounding weightloss…
Q: What’s Dance Your Ass Off about, for you?
A: When you have to lose a lot of weight, you say, “Oh my gosh, there is nothing I can do.” But I think this show promotes the fact that if you just dance every day and if you feel good, it’s a win/win situation. When you start feeling good, then you start looking better. Then you start feeling better. And you work harder to feel good because you’re looking better.
Q: How is hosting a show different from being a contestant, like you were on Dancing With The Stars?
A: Oh, it’s completely trippy. I’m a total reality TV junkie. That’s why I wanted to be on Dancing With The Stars. That’s why I wanted to be a part of this show. But when you’re a contestant, it’s all about you. This is the first job I’ve ever had where it’s not about me. It’s about these contestants, their journey. I’m just there to help facilitate it.
And there was a moment when the producers asked me, “Do you want to dance? Do you want to sing? Do you want to do something on this show?” And I took a step back and told them no. You know what? This is about the contestants. This isn’t about me. And I guess, being a new mom, it’s the right timing for me to be a host because now I know it is absolutely not about me.
Q: How do you juggle hosting a show and being a mom?
A: This was probably the perfect show for me as a new mom, because being the host meant that I didn’t have to put in 18-hour days. For the contestants it was, but for me it wasn’t. Every Tuesday, and I would go by and visit the contestants. But it wasn’t an 18-hour shoot like I’ve [done before]. I couldn’t have done Dancing With The Starsas a new mom. So this job was the perfect job. And on show days, much to everybody’s chagrin, I would bring my son with me. And he would watch the dances, and he would totally kick and scream, and love it. He was crazy! He loved the music. He loved the lights. He loved it all. So for me, this was a perfect job. I applaud every working mother out there. It’s such a hard balance. If you’re at work, you feel torn because you want to be home with your son. But when you’re at home, you’re like, “Oh, I need to be working to provide for my family. It’s a very, very hard job.
Q: The contestants and the audience seem to love you. How does it feel to be a kind of hero to them?
A: It’s really exciting to be a mentor to a group of people and actually be with them on a daily basis, rather than just meet them at Target! When I was on Dancing With The Stars , I was just a bigger girl dancing on a dance show. And then I realized how much it impacted so many people. I was getting the worst scores and America just kept voting to keep me in. And it was because they thought, “I look like her. I move like her.” They saw themselves in me.
Then, when I met the Dance Your Ass Off contestants, it was the same thing. And by the end of the show, they said, “You inspire me because of what you did on Dancing With The Stars . That’s why I want to do this show. You made me want to get off my butt and do something, and feel not-scared of showing my body and showing my skin, and being proud of who I am.”
Q: Do you have a regular workout routine?
A: Well I can honestly say that during the show and after [my son] Zev came home from the hospital, I didn’t work out at all. So that was really bad. But since we wrapped the show, I definitely got back to it, and honestly that was because of the contestants. They did this in just ten weeks and I haven’t worked out since we started this show. It was a wake up call for me. I started losing weight a while back, before I did Dancing With The Stars . I lost 45 pounds by dancing and then I lost 15 more during the show. So dancing is really what does it for me. And I started counting my calories. There is no magic pill. I wish there was, but there isn’t.
I do as much as I can with my son. I walk with him. I play music. I dance around the house. He does this really cute thing when I do pushups or sit-ups. He will literally climb on top of me. And it’s hilarious, because he adds like 25 extra pounds. It’s become our family joke that my son doesn’t really want me to work out, so he makes it harder for me.
Photo credit: theinsider.com