Stars in their eyes

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - REVIEW -

pow­er­ful pres­ence. At 22 and 32 re­spec­tively, there is a 10-year age gap. “We’ve never once in our re­la­tion­ship had a prob­lem with age. You started pro­fes­sional danc­ing so young,” Thalia says turn­ing to Ryan. “And I started mod­el­ling full-time when I was 15. I live so many lives in one year, and I have done for seven years, that I think I’d prob­a­bly strug­gle with any­one my age. It’s just a whole dif­fer­ent world.”

For Thalia, de­spite the fact she has been work­ing with huge suc­cess as a model for nearly eight years, the show was un­ex­pect­edly daunt­ing. “I think I didn’t let my­self re­alise the ex­tent of it,” she says of just how out of her com­fort zone she was. “I walked on set the first time and my heart dropped straight through me. At the first re­hearsal, it was so nerve-rack­ing; all the pro dancers watch­ing you.”

Ryan in­ter­jects quickly; “we are there to sup­port, not there to judge”.

Worse than just the em­bar­rass­ment of feel­ing like a klutz was danc­ing in front of the man she now fan­cied.

“Try­ing to dance in front of him for the first time was worse than [in front of ] the na­tion,” says Thalia, in­clin­ing her head to­wards Ryan.

“But I couldn’t be any more sup­port­ive,” her boyfriend protests.

She re­mem­bers with a bash­ful smile that prac­tis­ing the rumba with her dance part­ner Cur­tis Pritchard was par­tic­u­larly mor­ti­fy­ing once Ryan walked into the room. She and Ryan weren’t of­fi­cially to­gether, but they had shared a kiss after the first live show, so things were tak­ing off.

“That was ter­ri­fy­ing, I wanted to kill him. The rumba is one of the most em­bar­rass­ing dances for some­body who doesn’t dance, be­cause it’s so sen­sual, and I looked on Curt as my younger brother. And then Ryan de­cided to rock into the stu­dio and said: ‘If you can’t do it in front of me, you can’t do it in front of any­one else’.

“He sat down — and I don’t even re­mem­ber do­ing it. I was like ‘I need you to get out of the room right now, I can’t do this’,” she says with a smile.

Dublin con­tes­tants are reg­u­larly first out in these shows — Dublin­ers do not vote in large num­bers — and Thalia was gone after just four weeks.

“If you watch the footage, you can see I was ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated,” says Ryan, who cur­rently stars in a mu­sic video for the band Wild Youth with Thalia. “I felt like my heart dropped out. I re­mem­ber the

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