Victoria Arlen was ready to show off a new side of herself on the Monday, November 6, episode of Dancing With the Stars, but did not expect the reaction she got! The ESPN personality spoke exclusively with Us Weekly after her super sexy Argentine Tango and actually revealed she got some surprising messages following the live show.
“My grandma was super stoked about it! I think it’s fun for me to show different characters and show different sides of myself. Going into this show, I was like, ‘I’m not going to hold anything back. I’m not going to be anyone that I’m not,’” she tells Us. “It was fun to show that side [and] it was fun to learn that dance. My family loved it, my friends loved it. I even heard from ex-boyfriends. That was really funny — people I haven’t talked to in years!”
Following the show, Arlen’s partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, joked with Us and other reporters that guys would be “sliding into her DMs,” and she admitted that actually happened!
“People were pretty impressed with the spicy side of Victoria,” she adds. “I was joking around beforehand, saying, ‘I’m gonna throw some hot sauce out there’ — and apparently people like hot sauce! The reaction was quite hilarious. Obviously with what happened earlier, I was not feeling 100 percent and the fact that we got the response that we want and people liked it was a bonus!”
As for what had happened earlier, a few hours before the live show, the 23-year-old suffered debilitating rib spasms. “It was scary. We didn’t really know if I was going to be able to dance, let alone walk,” the former Paralympian swimmer tells Us. “The fact that I was upright and walking then I was able to dance, is just a tremendous blessing.”
She also kept smiling through both her routines, an act that she credits to her partner.
“Val was a tremendous rock for me. Between him, and my entire Dancing With the Stars family — everyone just wrapped their arms around me and helped me — I couldn’t have done it without all of them and I most certainly couldn’t have done it without Val,” she says. “I love to smile, even through pain. I kept telling myself, ‘I’m hurting but I’m still here and I’m up on my feet.’ Even that brief moment where I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t move was just another reality check of how grateful I am that that isn’t an every day occurrence, that that isn’t my every day life anymore.”
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!