Alyson Hannigan faced fears in joining 'DWTS' 'roller coaster'

Alyson Hannigan is competing on Season 32 of "Dancing with the Stars." Photo courtesy of ABC
1 of 4 | Alyson Hannigan is competing on Season 32 of "Dancing with the Stars." Photo courtesy of ABC

NEW YORK, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- American Pie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and How I Met Your Mother star Alyson Hannigan says her time on Dancing with the Stars has given her the confidence to try difficult things she has long avoided.

"It's a roller coaster of everything because it is so hard, but it's so rewarding. It's one of my favorite jobs that I've ever done," Hannigan told UPI in a recent phone interview.


Asked what initially made her agree to participating in Season 32 of the ballroom competition show, with professional dancer Sasha Farber as her partner, Hannigan quickly replied, "Fear!"

"I didn't want to keep not trying things because I was afraid to fail," the 49-year-old actress said. "As a mom, we try to teach our kids that they should try things that they are worried about not being great at."


Hannigan, who celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary with her former Buffy co-star Alexis Denisof on Oct. 11, is the mother of two daughters: 14-year-old Satyana and 11-year-old Keeva.

"When they are deciding what they are going to go for, it's nerve-wracking because they don't want to put themselves out there and be vulnerable," Hannigan said of her kids competing in activities like volleyball or swimming.

"But that shouldn't hold you back because that is just fear winning. I got to the realization that I can't just talk the talk. I have to walk the walk and they're old enough to know if I am being a hypocrite."

Hannigan said her DWTS experience has had a wonderful impact on her whole family, who have told her how proud they are of her progress.

"It's so good for the girls to see, yes, I struggle. This does not come easily to me, but I work really, really hard and, hopefully, each week, I am improving and I definitely feel like I have breakthroughs every week," Hannigan said.

"But then, every Wednesday, I'm back to zero because I am learning a new style of dance," she added. "It's so exhilarating and I don't think there has ever been a time in my life when I've had to do this much learning in such a short period of time."


So far this season, Hannigan and Farber have performed salsa, tango, foxtrot, jazz and Viennese waltz numbers.

"It really was a foreign language to me and the stakes were so high because you are going on live television in front of millions of people," Hannigan said.

"I have surprised myself. Obviously, I'm never going to be the best dancer on the show. I knew that going in. But, for the first time, I'm allowing myself to be proud of my journey and what I'm doing and that's also a new feeling," she added. "I'm proud of others all the time, but I never gave myself that."

She jokes that she isn't "delusional" and doesn't think she will ultimately be the one to take the coveted mirrorball trophy home at the end of the competition.

"Each week, I'm just so grateful that the fans are getting me through to next week [by voting]. At first, my daughters were going, 'Just don't be the first one out.' And, when I passed that, I was just like, 'Great, great, great!'" Hannigan said.

She secretly coaxed herself to keep going so she could enjoy themed nights, when the dancers would perform to Disney or Halloween songs.


Having accomplished that, she just wants to make it to Taylor Swift night.

"That is my dream," she said. "That would be my mirrorball -- Taylor Swift night. So, even if I went home on that, I'll go home very happily," Hannigan said.

"That's an unrealistic expectation because it is so far [away]. It's so close to the semifinals. I would be as shocked as anyone if I do make it that far, but I've also requested tickets to sit in the audience, just in case. I have a few connections."

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