When Derek Hough was young, he started dancing for the same reason many boys do anything at all: to get girls.
As the DWTS pro reveals in PEOPLE’s 10 Years of Dancing with the Stars Collector’s Edition – available in stores, online or by download – that initial motivation to dance definitely made it “super awkward” for him to dance with his sister, Julianne.
In the following excerpt from 10 Years of Dancing with the Stars, read on to find out how Derek and Julianne moved past the awkwardness and how the super competitive brother-sister duo made it up as they went along on DWTS‘s very first season 10 long years ago.
How have things evolved since your first season on the show?
Julianne Hough: When I was on the show, me using a chair as a prop was a huge deal! It was crazy. My partner Adam Carolla using a unicycle was unheard of, and we got so much flack for that. Now there’s set designers, lighting, projection, fog, zip lines.
Derek Hough: Honestly, the beginning seasons we were just making it up as we went along. I wasn’t trained to teach somebody who doesn’t know how to dance, choreograph a whole routine and perform it in front of a live audience or design costumes. It was learning on the job and acting like you knew what you were doing.
How seriously do people take the competition?
Julianne: Once people get a taste of high marks, the dynamic between the partners changes. The choreography gets amped up. It’s super competitive.
Derek: We push each other. You do a bit of choreography and you think, “That’s pretty good,” and then you see what someone else is doing and you go, “Oh, that’s really good!”
How competitive were you with each other?
Derek: When we were growing up, I won everything, so when we went to Dancing and she won [before me], she was the first one to rub it in my face.
Julianne, did you give pause to becoming a judge?
Julianne: I thought about it, but I want [the other pros] to know I’m on their side. I know what they’re going through. People ask, “Is it hard to judge your brother?” It’s not because we don’t take anything personally when it comes to our work.
Does it bother you that people always want to see you together?
Julianne: You want to make sure you have your own identity. It’s unique that we both have a career in something specific that most people don’t do. It’s about embracing it and owning it.
Okay, but does it ever get weird dancing with your sister?
Derek: It’s been weird in the past. I started dancing because I wanted to be around girls. My parents were like, “Why don’t you dance with your sister?” I was like, “No, you’re defeating the entire purpose of why I’m dancing in the first place!” We ended up doing a rumba together, and it was super awkward. Now, when we dance together it’s got a fun energy about it. We do the fun dances like jive or paso doble.
Julianne: We get to affect and inspire people and make them happy. That’s the greatest gift.
• Interview by MONICA RIZZO