Drew and I were declared the winners of season two on that cold night in February, when we brought some serious heat to the dance floor. Before that night I was more or less anonymous. I could eat, shop, walk, and work out anywhere I wanted to and at any time. People didn't know my name. I might look familiar, but they weren't quite sure where to place me, so they didn't say anything. That all changed on February 26, 2006.
Confetti dropped from the ceiling as the live orchestra played celebratory music. The crowd was cheering. My mom was crying. Within minutes cameras hovered around us. Reporters shoved tape recorders and microphones under our chins. I felt like the proverbial deer in the headlights. People were asking me all kinds of questions. How did I feel being a winner? How was I going to celebrate? Where was I going to put my trophy? Would I be back next season?
Whoa—that last question stopped me in my tracks. Next season? It didn't even occur to me that I would be back on the show. It hadn't crossed my mind that the show would want to hire me for another round. That kind of job security just doesn't happen in the dance world. But that night, when Drew and I threw out the rule book and just went freestyle, it kicked off a new life for me. It was a new beginning, and I couldn't wait to get started.