EXCLUSIVE: ‘I had a strict diet’ Hayden Quinn dishes on his Dancing With The Stars experience

Plus, the cook shares how married life is treating him.
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New Idea caught up with Hayden Quinn ahead of his Dancing With The Stars debut. Scroll on for the full interview.

hayden quinn on dancing with the stars
Hayden Quinn on Dancing With The Stars. (Credit: Seven)

How did you feel when you were asked to do Dancing with the Stars?

A little bit apprehensive because I’m not much of a dancer. I came around and was excited by the fact that it was a chance to learn a new skill and meet some amazing people. In the end we had a lot of fun but it was hard work!

Have you ever danced before?

If you include weddings and parties then, yes. But anything with any form of technique? No, definitely not.

Would you say it’s given you an appreciation for dancers?

100%! All of the celebrities on the show really came to understand that about our dance partners and the Pros. Just how much work, time, commitment, how much they’ve dedicated their lives to this art form, and when you do see people performing on a stage or video or in a movie, you recognise that it really is a lifetime of work to get to that point. It’s very, very impressive. It’s quite special.

And you surf. Was that skill helpful?

I do! I thought that was going to help me! The good thing is surfing is a lot of coordination a lot of foot work. In surfing you go out there and you’re in the natural environment and it’s quite relaxing and you’re surrounded by friends. What I didn’t really understand was the amount of mental energy that it was going to take. We did seven weeks of training, eight hours a day, six days a week. It was all-encompassing and just the fact that we had to we had to learn six different dances. It was full on. But I was dreaming of surfing the whole time! (laughs)

hayden quinn on dancing with the stars
“I was dreaming of surfing the whole time,” said about DWTS. (Credit: Seven)

Were you dancing when you got home with your wife or were you completely conked out?

I would eat and I’d sleep. I definitely wasn’t doing any dancing when I got home. Every now and again my wife would drag me in for a little dance, but I basically would just revisit the videos, look at replays of what we’ve learned the day, I’d draw some little diagrams and try and get my head around what we’re doing and then fall asleep.

Were you eating more? Obviously using up some serious energy

Yeah, it was a big day! I was very strict with what I was eating. I would pack my lunch every day to make sure I had plenty of food because you don’t want me to be hangry and eating good quality food. Making sure that there was plenty of fuel in the body to fire everything up.

Congratulations on getting married last year. How’s married life treating you?

It’s good! September last year but feels like a lifetime ago already. Everything’s going wonderfully. The wedding was absolutely amazing. My wife did an incredible job in bringing it all together and making it such a special time not only for both of us, but for both our families. It was really quite an incredible week of festivities over in the US. Now we’re just both of us are very, very busy with life and work. We just got a little puppy dog so it’s very cute. Very exciting. We love her.  She’s a rescue, a Kelpie- sausage dog. A bit of a funny little mix. She’s amazing. She’s only eight months cold.

hayden quinn on dancing with the stars
“I was very strict with what I was eating,” the chef said.

It’s like having a baby, isn’t it?

Oh my gosh, it is! Not that we have a baby or know what that’s like but it felt very similar, especially in the early stages. She’s an amazing little dog and loves doing adventures and being outside and all the things that I really enjoy. She’s my little buddy! She loves the love that she gets from her Mum and cuddles and all that sort of stuff. I’m the adventure Dad. Jax is the lovey, dovey, cuddly pampering mommy.

Married in September, were you doing long distance before that?

Not really. Jax moved to Australia pretty much as soon as we met so we’ve been living together in Australia for eight years or so, longer. She’s from the US. We met overseas she moved out here pretty quickly which was quite handy. The rate that both of us travel for work, sometimes it does feel a little bit long distance but it’s all good.

Why did you choose to marry in the US?

We wanted to get married, and she had her dream spot where she wanted to do it and her family are obviously there. We spend most of our life here in Australia so, it was nice to be able to take all our friends over there and show them what her life and Americas like. Plus wanted to introduce the extended family and what not. So yeah, it was pretty cool.

Are you going to be dancing in life going forward?

Once I finished filming, I thought gosh, I wouldn’t mind keeping this going and doing more of it? But then when I get back to normality and thought ‘far out’ I just don’t have time to do anything like that. It’s funny. Ballroom dancing, it’s very performance based. It’s definitely good to have those ideas in the back of the mind if ever a dance floor opened up at wedding or a party that’s for sure!

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