Editor's Note: NeNe Leakes has her eye on a new prize: the mirror ball trophy. The Real Housewives of Atlanta star is hitting the dance floor for season 18 of Dancing With the Stars—premiering tonight!—and she's blogging about her experience exclusively for E! Online with a new post each Monday. The competition is fierce, but honey, NeNe is fiercer. What's her state of mind before her first dance in front of a live audience? Read on to find out...
Hunni, my nerves! I'm very nervous about tonight's premiere of Dancing With the Stars because for me, I am totally out of my comfort zone. All these other contestants—especially the athletes —to me are great competitors, they understand competitions, and they have the endurance. A lot of them are young and they work out. I don't work out, but that's one of the reasons to join the show. I'm hoping to lose 20 pounds and get back in shape from being sick.
I'm not a professional dancer, although I do have rhythm and I do NOT have two left feet. It's just kind of nerve-racking. I've done interviews in front of live audiences before, but to actually step out in front of an audience this large with heels one and a short dress…
Once we all get past the first dance, we'll know what to expect. I'm really happy about DWTS not eliminating anybody during the premiere week because it's your first time out there, you don't know what to expect. It's very fair that they're doing it the way that they are.
Just call me Mrs. Leakes-Dovolani. My last name is now Leakes-Dovolani! Tony Dovolani and I, we have total chemistry. He's like a family member to me. My husband and son spend time with him and they like him. It's like they couldn't have found a better match for me. He's perfect. Tony has a lot of patience, he's a great dancer, he is passionate…we were the perfect match. I don't know how they knew, but hunni, they worked it out well.
But let me tell you, rehearsal is every single day. We have to rehearse a minimum of four hours, but they don't want you to go over six. My feet are sore! I want everyone to know I'm hoping to stay healthy through all this.
Charlie and Meryl, I'm coming for ya! The biggest competition for everyone would be [Olympic ice skaters] Meryl Davis and Charlie White. They just took home gold at the Olympics! They have the endurance, they're young and they're skinny and they can roll around on skates. But can they roll around on heels and work that ballroom floor? I can and I will!
I solemnly swear…I want to step out there and do the best I can do. If my best takes me all the way then that's great, if it just takes me part of the way, then I'll accept that, too. I just want to know that I gave my best, and Tony's hard work wasn't in vain. I don't want to be that person that missed rehearsals. I show up, I do what he tells me to do. I just want to know that I did everything I could do.
To my fans: Please tune in, watch and vote for me. I promise to bring fun and personality and a lot of energy to the show. I promise you guys, I do not have two left feet. I do have rhythm! And know each week I'm just giving the best that I can. Bloop!
(As told to Chris Harnick)
Dancing With the Stars airs Monday, March 17 on ABC.