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Interview: The Wedding Planners’ Kym Herjavec

by Charles Trapunski

We had the unique opportunity to speak on the phone with Kym Herjavec Johnson recently about her role on the Brainpower Studios series The Wedding Planners, for which she stars in a dance-themed episode. We used this intimate phone call to ask the multihyphenate a few of our burning questions about her time on Dancing with the Stars and about her own wedding planning, and we were thrilled to find that the Australian-born Kym Herjavec Johnson was up for answering pretty much anything, and had interesting answers to boot.

The following is a condensed and edited version of our chat with The Wedding Planners‘ bubbly Kym Herjavec Johnson.

Brief Take: What was your time on The Wedding Planners like?

Kym Herjavec Johnson: It was a great experience. Each episode is a different wedding, which is nice, and all the characters are really great, siblings. Yeah, it was really fun to be a part of it, just a small little role I have, it was really good fun.

BT: During my set visit, this show’s set felt very safe and comfortable. Is this the Canadian way? 

KHJ: For sure. I love working up in Canada. My husband, who’s Canadian, and I love spending a lot of time up there. I feel like it’s very similar to the way that Australians work. I’ve done some shows in Australia and it’s a very similar work environment. Everyone’s in there getting it done and there’s no egos or airs or braces about things. You get in there and you do it, and it’s a very positive state in which to be, which is very nice. I went to the Canadian Walk of Fame, that big event, I went there because Jim Treliving was getting rewarded and Robert and I went to it. The whole thing reminded me very much of a Canadian event, listening to all the Canadians get up, there’s so many successful people that are Canadian that I didn’t even think were Canadian, so it’s a very similar feel.

BT: What are some of your fondest memories from your own personal wedding planning experience?

KHJ: Well my wedding planner was a good friend of mine, who I met when I danced with Joey Fatone, it’s one of his really good friends. So it was really natural when I got engaged that he helped me, he insisted. It was really fun to go through that planning with someone who has known me for a really long time. So a lot of that I would leave up to him because he does know me and Robert so well. We wanted it very much to be about Robert and myself – his background is Croatian-Canadian, I’m Australian, we’re now living in America, so we had all these different elements within the wedding, from party favours to when people first arrived, so you have to make it unique to yourself, to the couple, and we still look back on the wedding and have the best memories about it, having family and friends around celebrating, it was incredible.

BT: And the wedding reception went pretty late, right?

KHJ: Yeah, we made the most of it. We partied right into the late night. Actually, Robert surprised me with Olivia Newton-John singing at the end of the night. She ended up staying and hanging out with us, it was incredible. All my Australian friends went crazy, because she’s an Australian icon and we all love her. That was a big surprise. I thought that I was surprising Robert by giving him a Croatian folk group to come and dance. And I thought that I had done a great job doing that, but then he one-upped me with Olivia Newton-John. [laughs]

BT: I believe that you won 2 Mirrorball trophies on Dancing With The Stars and one in Australia. Where do you keep them?

KHJ: Actually they’re next to Robert’s Emmys, probably again trying to one up me. [laughs] He’s jealous of my Mirrorball trophies. They’re just in the living room, the Australia ones are still back in Australia with my Mum, actually, at her house. The Australian one’s a lot smaller, [laughs] like it’s a tiny little, like it’s got bunny ears, it’s this small little Mirrorball. The American ones are big, of course.

BT: Do you remember when the show sort of blew up?

KHJ: I came into the show season three, so I think that season two is sort of when it really blew up. And I went into it when it was really hitting its stride with Jerry Springer. That was my first experience being in America as well and Jerry Springer I think has been one of the most iconic people who has ever been on the show, like he walks down the street and people just chant “Jerry” at him, it’s crazy. [laughs]

BT: Well, he is the Mayor.

KHJ: Definitely! And we were going back and forth to Chicago because he was still filming his show. And just walking down Michigan Avenue, with people screaming his name, like this is crazy. [laughs] So that was kind of a surreal experience. Because everybody was watching Dancing with the Stars then. They were coming up to Jerry saying that he was a great dancer, which he said had never had happened before.

BT: Did you have a star that thought that DWTS would be easy, and they were put in their place immediately?

KHJ: I think that a lot of people feel that way when they come into it. I think that you see the one minute dance on TV, it sort of looks pretty easy, but I think that people don’t understand that it takes about eight hours a day of practice to get at that point. [laughs] Because a lot of the celebrities have never danced before and it takes a lot. I know with Robert, he’s a business guy, he’d never danced like that before. I remember that we had the three week rehearsal period in which you don’t see anyone else before, and you get to do your camera blocking, and I somehow made him feel like he was really good. Because you’ve got to make them feel like they’re doing a good job. [laughs] And I remember that he got to the camera blocking day and they throw you on the dance floor and you have to go and they mess some things up, and he watched all the other couples and realized how great they were and then I think that he had a little freak out, like: “I can’t do this”, like “this is too hard”. That only lasted two seconds, but I think that happens to everybody. You don’t realize how difficult it is.

BT: Was there a season that you thought that you had it in the bag and then you didn’t?

KHJ: I was really disappointed that Joey Fatone didn’t win that one, we were so close, because we were winning, we were always getting the top scores the whole season. And then I think that we tied for first place with the scores but it was the public viewers that picked Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough, I think, so they ended up winning. So that one we were pretty competitive in that one, and I felt that we let Joey down in that we didn’t win that one. And the time that I danced with Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I got competitive trying to do tricks that no one had ever seen before in the semi-final and I ended up nearly breaking my neck. I ended in the hospital and it was quite traumatic. So that’s a way of being too competitive, if I do say. [laughs]

BT: But you did win that year, so…

KHJ: We did end up going on to win it but I was wearing a neck brace right up until the finale. [laughs] Yeah, that’s when I went a little too far.

BT: What have been some of your quaranstreams?

KHJ: Oh gosh! Well I’ve been watching The Last Dance, the Michael Jordan doc (on ESPN and Netflix), that was so good! We’re watching that one, Ozark, I binge watched that, that was really good. I try to watch Shark Tank, but Robert won’t let me. We watch a lot of The Wiggles, The Beanies which is an Australian kid’s group, and we just discovered Fancy Nancy, which is another kids Disney show, which I think that I like more than they do.

BT: Have you known anyone that is as driven as Michael Jordan?

KHJ: The first person that comes to mind that reminds me of his determination and his focus would be Derek Hough. He has that same drive in his creative mode of choreographing, because often we have to do these team dances on Dancing with the Stars and it’s when you see the genius at work, like the creativity, the determination, the drive of getting everything right and getting it done, and that’s the closest I’ve seen I think to the determination and focus of Michael Jordan. Yes, with Derek.

BT: How are your kids doing?

KHJ: Ah! The kids are just so fun, they’re so adorable. I can’t believe they’re two already. Being a Mum is just the best thing in the world and they’re just something amazing. So I’m really fortunate that I get to have this time with them right now before they go off to school next year. It’s a really special time with them.

BT: Do you think that their future might be in the ballroom or in the boardroom?

KHJ: They do love music and they love to dance. But I think that they will end up more so in the boardroom. Haven loves to go into the office with Robert, like: “I’m busy! I’m working!”. [sighs] So it’s super cute, they both love going into Robert’s office and sitting with him while he’s working. Hopefully they’ll just be happy with whatever they decide to do. We’re going to let them just try all different things: soccer, dance, music, just let them try it all.


The Wedding Planners airs on Friday nights at 8pm on Citytv

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Brief Take