Professional dancer Derek Hough appeared as a featured guest at the inaugural She Expo this weekend in Topeka. The following interview Q&A is edited for space.
Is it your first trip to Topeka?
I’ve been here a couple times, actually. My girlfriend is actually from Topeka, so I think the last time I was here ... I actually had a day off here. I spent the day on a lake and had a great day. It was beautiful.
What did you think when you first heard about the Dancing with the Stars concept? Did you think it would take off like it did?
No, because originally it was a show called Strictly Come Dancing in England, and I lived in England at the time so I was aware of the show already and I knew it did really well over there, but ballroom is a little bit more a part of the culture there. So when they said they were taking it to America I was like, I don’t know, I don’t know if they’re going to get it, I don’t know if that’s going to be a thing. I actually remember when I joined in season five and somebody said to me, who was a part of the show, they were like, “This probably has two or three more seasons left.” Now they’re on (season) 27.
How did you adapt to becoming a celebrity?
I appreciate it. Somebody actually asked me yesterday because a lot of people stopped me in the airport and were asking for pictures, and people around me were like, "Oh, you must be sick of that, you must just hate that.” And for me, I’m like, "No, not at all, actually." It’s why we do what we do. There needs to be an audience to do that. You know, if you’re a film star, if you’re an actor, if you’re a singer, whatever you’re doing, the audience is a very, very important part of the entire process.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever asked you?
I’ll tell you, the craziest thing that’s happened to me before was I signed a girl’s wrist and then a week later she came back to a show and she had got it tattooed. And I was kind of like, “I wish you would’ve let me do a better job.” You know, I would’ve done a much better tattoo-worthy design.
What can you tell us about your upcoming tour?
It’s going to be May 11, here in Kansas City at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. I’m looking forward to it. It’s my first solo tour. I’m going to have amazing dancers on tour with me, and what’s going to make this different than the other ones, I’m going to have a live band. I think even if there’s no dancing happening, you’re going to enjoy the live music element. It’s going to be great.