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Sharna Burgess Dishes on Dating, DWTS & Aussie Vs. American Men

November 02, 2019DMT.NEWS

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Sharna Burgess on the Importance of Trust in Dance and Dating

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What do dancing, conducting interviews and dating have in common? It turns out, more than you’d think.

Sure, one requires learning choreography and performing in front of hundreds (at times millions) of people, which – unless you’re on the “Bachelor” – doesn't happen on most dates. But if you look closely, you’ll see that in order to be successful, they all rely on a foundation of trust.

RELATED: Lindsay Arnold Cusick on the Importance of Confidence in Dance and Dating

Perhaps this is why Sharna Burgess, “Dancing With the Stars” Season 27 winner turned Extra TV interviewer, considers trust to be of the utmost importance in her professional life, as a dancer and interviewer, and in her personal life, too.

“[Because of the nature of my job,] I dance with other men a lot, and some of those dances have to feel like they’re a love story, or they are lustful, or they are passionate. We spend the majority of our day with our dance partner, talking about them, building them up. And fans often have the idea that they would love to see us together in real life,” she says. “Having a partner in my life that can share in [the dancing] experience with me, and not listen to the noise, and be able to trust that I love them, I come home to them and that dance is a job is important.”

AskMen spoke with Burgess to get her take on how people can improve their dating techniques, the differences between Aussie and American gents and how she’s enjoying the transition from interviewee to interviewer.

AskMen: This season of DWTS you're doing interviews for Extra instead of competing. How has that change been?

Sharna Burgess: It was really awesome to be there with Extra during DWTS week one, getting to be backstage with everybody, watch things from a different angle and talk to everyone about it. I felt so comfortable in that space and talking to people that I’ve known for a very long time about something that I’ve done my whole life. It felt like a very natural transition, and I’m definitely excited to do more of it!

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A post shared by Sharna Burgess (@sharnaburgess) on Sep 17, 2019 at 8:30am PDT

Do you find the experience of connecting and building a sense of trust with dance partners translates into interviewing?

I feel like having known the pros for such a long time – especially doing the interviews and the questions on the red carpet for DWTS – makes the experience really comfortable. I’m talking amongst friends. But certainly, I have to allow that celebrity [that I’m not familiar with] know that I’m someone they can trust, someone they can talk to, that it is a safe space for me to ask them questions and they can say whatever they want.

It is similar to dance, but you have to build that relationship a lot quicker because you’ve got about three minutes with each couple. Whereas on DWTS, you have 13 weeks to build that trust and that chemistry with your partner.

When you were dancing, did you do anything specific to help your dance partners adapt quickly and build chemistry for your performances?

Truly, there is no quick way. You simply have to allow that person to show you who they are. As the coach, I have to observe, watch and learn what they need to thrive in that environment.

If it’s a person that needs a really tough military kind of coach, because they need to be kept in line, then I have to become that. If they need someone who has a much more nurturing, gentle approach, then I have to become that. It is always about what makes them most comfortable in the room and allowing them to learn in a way that works best for them. This allows them to open up to me and eventually we can break the ice by going to dinner or getting coffee outside the studio. We put that trust in each other, not just with dance but also with our stories.

That was how I built such wonderful chemistry with so many of my dance partners. Throughout the years, people questioned whether I was or wasn’t dating my partner, and truly I never have. I was just able to build a beautiful friendship with many of them.

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A post shared by Sharna Burgess (@sharnaburgess) on Oct 2, 2018 at 6:51pm PDT

Do you think people could take cues from those practices, and apply it to the dating world, too?

I think there is a lot of it that does translate, and then there’s a very key part that doesn’t. The part that doesn’t translate is where I become what the person in front of me needs. That is not something I promote in dating. I certainly would say that allowing a person to show you who they are is a huge part of successful dating.

I find today that when men and women are going out on dates, we get so hung up on wanting that person to like us that we’re not really allowing them to show us who they are. We’re seeing what we want and what we hope they can be. That doesn’t allow for it to be authentic. It’s not growing from a place of honesty and openness. Then you get further down the track and you’re like: “Wait. What? Who is this person? Why are you doing this? This annoys me so much!”

One of the first things to say to yourself before walking out the door for a date is: “I will be who I am, and I will allow them to show me who they are.” And, hopefully, those two people get along. We can’t walk into a date and sacrifice parts of ourselves because it never works out well in the end.

As an Australian, have you noticed a lot of differences between Aussie men and American guys? Or dating culture in general?

Honestly, I have been out of Australia since I was 18. My dating life has been here in America. I will say that Aussie men are very different from American men, in the same way that Aussie culture is different from American culture. Aussies definitely tend to drop the swear words a bit more often, which now – having been in the U.S. for so long – I am not accustomed to. Sometimes it catches me off guard.

But I’m willing to find out. I will be heading back to Australia to judge “Dancing With the Stars Australia” and I’ll be there for 12 or 13 weeks. Who knows what’s going to happen? I’ll get back to you on that!

Are there certain qualities you tend to look for in a partner? How about dealbreakers?

For me, something that I have noticed over the years of dating, and getting to know different archetypes of men, is that I need someone who doesn’t have jealousy issues and is incredibly secure and confident in who they are.

I also love tall – it’s not a dealbreaker. I’m only 5'4" but I’m quite muscular, so I like it when there’s a tall man next to me, that makes me feel little and feminine.

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A post shared by Sharna Burgess (@sharnaburgess) on Aug 12, 2019 at 12:48pm PDT

When do you feel sexiest and most empowered?

I’ve found so many ways to feel empowered. It used to be just dance. That used to be where I could unleash my creativity, my sensuality, my everything could come out on the dance floor. It was like an alter ego, but almost an extended exaggerated version of myself.

As I’ve gotten older, I have loved loving my own body and taking care of it. Going to the gym and sweating it out, eating healthy foods and just being ready for my day is something that makes me feel incredibly sexy and empowered – without makeup, without feathers and rhinestones. It is simply just me, raw. My soul is taken care of and I’m ready to take charge of my day.

I also love when you’re with your partner and he loves you in your raw form with no makeup on, straight out of the shower, just as you, as a body and as a human and as a soul. I think that is such a sexy thing. When a guy doesn’t just see you for the outside but sees your inside.

What are you getting up to in your downtime outside of work?

I love going to the movies with friends or even on my own. I definitely love hiking and working out and being active, but I’m also loving finding time to sit and read a book. A dating book I picked up that I think everyone should read – men and women – is called “It’s Just a F***ing Date.” It’s written by the same authors as “He’s Just Not That Into You.” It is brilliant. I highly recommend it to everybody to read. It’s wonderfully written.

I’ve also been in acting classes three times a week and getting back into finding characters and rediscovering the actress in me.

Apart from Extra and DWTS, Sharna is also expected to make her Broadway debut in the near future. Follow her adventures on her Instagram @sharnaburgess and catch her DWTS interviews on ExtraTV.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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