Stars in their eyes
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