Interview with 'Dancing with the Stars' champion Melissa Rycroft

By Sarah Burbank-Douglas

Dancing with the Stars champion Melissa Rycroft has had a crazy few years. From competing onThe Bachelor and the 13th season of Dancing with the Stars, to marrying Tye Stickland and having their first child, Ava Grace. Melissa returned for the All-Star edition of DWTS where she and partner Tony Dovolani took home the mirror ball.

During the holiday season, Melissa has teamed up with Nokia to promote the new Nokia Lumia 920. The dancing starlet shared some of her photo shots with, which reveal her adorable daughter and the excitement of preparing for Christmas.

The has had the exciting opportunity to speak with Melissa about her partnership with Nokia, her time on DWTS, co-hosting The View and what she expects 2013 to bring.

The Melissa you just took home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy following a serious head injury. How hard did you and Tony Dovolani have to work to regain the strength to bring home the win?

Melissa Rycroft: After the injury, Tony really had to rework the choreography because I really wasn’t able to physically move my neck in a lot of positions that you need to for Ballroom. He had to get really creative. A lot of it too was just about pain management. I saw a physical therapist, and I was getting treatments almost daily until the very end. Thankfully I’m starting to feel better now that I’m not having to dance eight hours a day!

TCC: Were you surprised, after everything you went through, to be crowned the winner?

MR: It was unbelievable. I think it was the biggest shock for us, absolutely. Tony and I were just hoping to make it to week 4. This season was filled with so many former champions and popular teams that we were just fighting week after week to hold our own and stay in the mix. We never had our eye on the trophy, we just had our eye on doing the best we could week after week and the fact that we walked away with it in the end is such an indescribable feeling, but it feels so good. Especially to have helped Tony, this is 14 seasons for him to not get the trophy, so this felt really good to help him bring it home.

TCC: This was your second time on the DWTS, what made you want to go back for round two?

MR: I think we all came back this time around because we all had such a good time the first time. We knew what we were getting into, there were no surprises and this time it was competitive. You could tell people were in it to win it, but it was more friendly for everybody. There was so much comradery back stage, everyone got along back stage, everyone was rooting for each other and I think for all of us it was a once in a lifetime opportunity we were given the chance to do again and we jumped on it.

TCC: This week has been incredibly hectic for you - first we saw you on The View and now you are appearing at various malls on behalf of Nokia. First off, tell me about your experience on The View.

MR: The View was amazing, I’ll be honest when I first heard about co-hosting I got a little nervous! I think we all know it can be hard sometimes to mix with those group of ladies, their opinionated, their strong, and some of them have been working together for 15-16 years now and there’s such a flow in that show that I was a little nervous kind of being an outsider coming in, but they were great. It was welcoming and kind of my first shot at doing something in that format and I loved it. I had a great time and hopefully I get the opportunity to do it again.

TCC: Tell me about the events you are working on with Nokia.

MR: I have partnered with Nokia for the holidays, there’s a new Windows phone available, the Nokia Lumia 920 with many, many great features. The one that sold me though was the camera and the photo capability. It is by far the best camera that I have seen on a phone to date. And the reason that is a big deal for me is I am so out-and-about all of the time, and I want to document my life like everybody else, but I can’t carry around those huge paparazzi lens camera’s especially when my daughter does something spur of the moment, I just whip my phone out and take a picture. So, I wanted the best phone out there that captured the best picture quality and that was this Nokia.

We’ve been going around snapping pictures, it has this huge screen on it so it’s almost like watching a mini DVD player - but it’s great and it has all of the apps you could wish for and more, it’s easy to use, it’s functional. I actually bought one for my husband. It’s one of those last minute stocking stuffer gifts so it’s great, it’s such a great phone.

TCC: You were able to meet with your fans one on one and show them all of the features the phone has to offer, what was your favorite part about helping fans learn about the phone?

MR: I was! We are at the mall right now, and back in Dallas I got to meet the fans. I got to show off the pictures I had taken over the past couple of days and I am going to get to do that again this time. I think the best thing fans see about the phone is how easy it is. You see smart phones these days and you think that you can compare it to the iPhone, but it looks so much different - it’s actually much more attractive. The buttons are bigger, it’s easier to maneuver around and it’s just really functional and at a price point that most people can afford when it comes to phones.

TCC: Were you able to show some of your video clips to fans?

MR: I was able to show off one video, there’s this app called Cinemagraph which is really cool because you can freeze half of the frame while the other is still going. Other than that it has just been pictures on this phone.

TCC: You’ve been to New York to Dallas to L.A and you’re traveling tomorrow, are you able to make it home for the holidays to spend with your husband and daughter?

MR: There was never any doubt that I would be spending it with them, it was more of a “where” we would be, but after Dancing lasted as long as it did, we were out there for three months, we slowed down a little bit, but obviously still working, I just said come tomorrow I am turning off my phone and my e-mail and everything for the rest of the year and me and Ava and Ty are going to sit in our pajamas and watch TV for two weeks.

TCC: Oh, that sounds like much needed time!

MR: Yes! Lots of family time - both my family and Ty’s family are right next to us in Dallas so we are going to be able to visit everybody, have some really good food and just relax for a little bit and enjoy some quality down time without traveling.

TCC: 2012 has been an incredibly busy one for you between competing and promoting, what will 2013 bring?

MR: Oh, I have no idea what 2013 will bring. I remember coming into 2012 thinking, “This can’t possibly top last year.” I mean, I had a baby last year and somehow I am finding that year after year it just keeps getting better. I am finding that I am enjoying things so much more than I thought I would and trying not to make resolutions but just trying to go into a new year going, ‘Here we go again,’ and it’s a chance to start over and goodness gracious Lord knows what it will bring us!

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