The professional dancer, 35, told Us Weekly exclusively about the “type” of celebrity she prefers to be paired up with and how her season 28 partner fits the bill.
“I can’t tell you who my partner is, obviously, but he is definitely somebody who I prefer,” she told Us on Friday, September 6. “I guess you could say from his job, from his occupation … he understands and he gets it. So I always prefer these types of people, let’s put it that way.”
Still, that doesn’t mean that the couple haven’t had their complications. One obstacle for Burke has been her partner’s job, which requires her to travel outside of Los Angeles, where the DWTS studio is based.
“It’s been a little bit tricky cause my partner is actually traveling. He’s not based in Los Angeles,” she said. “It’s a little tricky when you travel because, whether if it’s to the East Coast or even if it’s to Arizona, it’s like, you get on a plane and you feel like your equilibrium is off a little bit. But either way, it’s fine. We’ll make it work.”
Burke isn’t worried too much though. She explained that she had experience traveling back and forth across the country when she was coupled with NFL star Emmitt Smith in season 3, which they won. Her current partner, on the other hand, is still getting adjusted.
“I mean, he has another job on top of this show, but I think he’s starting to understand that, like, this is gonna take up most of his time,” she said, laughing.
Male contestants this season include Queer Eye expert Karamo Brown, former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis, actor James Van Der Beek, former NBA forward Lamar Odom, comedian Kel Mitchell and President Donald Trump’s former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
As for more clues about her partner, the Dance Moms alum teased that the star she’s paired with isn’t afraid to put in the work needed to win the coveted mirrorball trophy.
“He’s full of personality, and he really wants to do well,” she said. “He’s a hard worker. I mean, like, such a hard worker, and I don’t really have to be too hard on him cause I see that he’s very hard on himself. But he’s already telling me how strict I am. I’m like, ‘You haven’t seen anything yet.’ I said, ‘This is still the honeymoon phase.’”
The California native competed on DWTS from season 2 to season 19 before returning in season 23. She’s won twice. The first time was with Drew Lachey in season 2, and the second was with Smith, 50, in season 3.
Dancing With the Stars season 28 premieres on Monday, September 16, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe