Craig Sjodin/ABC
Dahvi Shira
September 27, 2011 09:35 AM

Ricki Lake has made no secret about which former Dancing with the Stars contestant she looks up to as she competes on the show.

But Lake, 42, who continuously says she’s “hoping to pull a Kirstie Alley,” needs to stop focusing on other people’s accomplishments and inspire herself, according to her ballroom partner Derek Hough.

“I told her, ‘No more,’ ” Hough, 26, told PEOPLE backstage after Monday night’s show. “I said, ‘This is about you. This is now time.’ ”

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“I’m me, I know, I know,” Lake said in response to her partner’s comments. “That’s probably good advice. I really love working with Derek. He’s such a good teacher, and I’m learning so much. He encourages me. I feel like I’m learning that way. He’s really intuitive with me.”

It sure seems like Lake is finding her own confidence.

The actress and talk show host ended up atop the leader board on Monday after earning 23 points for her lively jive.

“Each week I’m here, I’m feeling better and better about my body and about what I can do,” Lake said. “I’m having the time of my life.”

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