April 10, 2017 08:49 AM


Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Erika Girardi (a.k.a. club diva Erika Jayne) is competing on season 24 of Dancing with the Stars and blogging about her experience exclusively for PEOPLE. Follow Girardi, 45, and her pro dancer partner Gleb Savchenko, 33, on Twitter!

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t walk away feeling great after our Jive last week — and neither did the judges. I hate being towards the bottom of the leader board, but I agreed with the feedback we got. I just have to look at this week as a new week and hope for the best.

For tonight’s show, Gleb and I are dancing a cha cha to Madonna‘s “Express Yourself.”

I’ve garnered a lot of inspiration from Madonna throughout my creative life. I’ve always been a fan and have seen her so many times, so it’s really fun to get to channel her a bit in our routine. And what better person to help inspire a cha cha, which is hips, hips, hips! Sexy sexy! Hot hot hot! It’s a lot of fun. It’s fast-paced, sexy and sensual, so you wanna take that and put it all in the dance.

But to get it right, Gleb and I have had to spend a lot of time in the rehearsal room. I’ve been spending more time with Gleb than with my family!

ABC/Craig Sjodin

When you dance with someone and you become partners, you get to know one another on a different level than you do in any other working relationship, because you’re in physical contact with each other. We are in each other’s faces for six hours a day and on top of each other dancing and sweating. We’ve developed a real friendship. It’s nice. I like Gleb. I like dancing with him. You can’t complain about somebody who wants you to do well — and he wants me to do well. That’s a great partner to have.

This is Most Memorable Year Week, so we are all showcasing a year that was particularly impactful in our lives.

I’m 45 years old and have lived a very rich life. I could have chosen so many different moments. I could have chosen marriage, baby, divorce, second marriage, all that kind of stuff. But I chose instead to do 1989, which is the year I left Atlanta and moved to New York.

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That was a big change for me. There was the first 18 years of my life, and then the rest of my life. Moving to New York opened my eyes and I learned so many things in those first years of being an adult. It was the birth of my performance career and challenging myself — and that’s what I hope to show in tonight’s performance.

I believe that every experience builds upon the next. My life has changed since then, but I’ve remained, at my core, the same human being I was at 18 — still dreaming, still full of wonder, still pushing and still wanting things. There are life lessons and ups and downs, but I’m still that 18-year-old kid that wanted to do something with her life.

I think we should all remain hungry and fight for more both professionally and personally. I constantly seek to challenge myself, my dreams and my goals and that’s what I’m trying to do on Dancing with the Stars. I hope I get the chance to keep doing it for a long time to come!

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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