James Stewart gets cheeky: ‘I found my Latin hips’

The actor on discovering his rhythm.
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James Stewart took a while
to warm up to his Dancing with the Stars experience. 
“In the first two weeks, there were many moments where 
I looked in the mirror, saying 
to myself, ‘What have you done? Why are you doing this?’” he admits.

In time, he came around. The fact that 
he improved his dancing skills helped.

James Stewart pointing at camera, talks to Who Magazine about Dancing With The Stars
James Stewart (Credit: Alana Landsberry)

“About week three or four, out of the eight hours a day that you’re dancing, about half an hour of it is good, because you’ve done it over and over and over,” he tells WHO, adding with 
a laugh, “After a while, I found my Latin hips.”

A key motivating factor for the 48-year-old star of Home and Away was his daughter, Scout.

“I said to my daughter, you can’t put something down because you’re not good 
at it,” he recalls. “It takes practice. You’ve got 
to be able to keep doing this thing – and practice will get you there.

“So I had to live up to that. I had to say to 
my daughter, ‘Don’t do as I say, do as I do.’”

James Stewart and his daughter Scout
James Stewart with daughter Scout

Stewart says his 12-year-old, who he
shares with former partner Jessica Marais, was “stoked” he agreed to compete in the reality series.

“Scout came to all of the shows except one and by the end she knew the moves I was going to do because I turned my living room into a mini-dance studio – I took out all the furniture and just put all the mirrors up,” he says. “She won’t let me take it down 
now because she’s doing jazz at school.”

When Stewart was weighing up 
whether he should sign on for a second Channel 7 show, another consideration 
also prompted him to give it a whirl.

James Stewart on chair photoshoot
James Stewart (Credit: Alana Landsberry)

“A couple of theatre mates said if 
you were ever going to try to be 
a triple threat, this is one of the things you would have to know 
if you could do or not,” 
he explains.

“I’ve never danced professionally. But I’ve done 
so much theatre, so much television, so much music in bands, so I can 
act, I can sing. And I always wanted to know 
if I could be a triple threat and I couldn’t answer that question.

“At the end of the day, I wasn’t doing the dancing to compete, I was doing the dancing 
to learn to dance.”

Stewart says that desire to improve his skills continued from the rehearsal room to 
the TV studio, and that he hasn’t felt a sense 
of competition with his fellow cast members, especially the other men.

“All of us boys were so nervous before 
we met,” he reveals. “We were dancing with professionals, so we’re all judging ourselves against them.

James Stewart photoshoot
James Stewart (Credit: Alana Landsberry)

“But when we got into the lads’ dressing room – it was kind of like the locker room at footy training. The banter began immediately, and we all started seeing
we’re all kind of equal in what we could do.

“Rivalry is not the right word. Each 
time a bloke was going out, we all sat 
there geeing him up and making him feel 
good about himself because we knew how difficult what he was about to do was.”

Outside this season, Stewart says he 
is well aware of the fact that many former
Home and Away stars, including current
cast members Ada Nicodemou and 
Emily Weir, have done very well in their seasons of Dancing with the Stars.

James Stewart white suit
James Stewart (Credit: Alana Landsberry)

“I know the winners and they tell me 
all the time that they won,” he says with a chuckle, adding that he did receive 
some tips from former contestants.
“They were all about: listen to your
dance partner.”

No matter how far he progresses, Stewart has 
been thrilled with the experience, saying,
“I’d love to keep it up.” 
As for that triple threat status?

“Do you know? I reckon 
I might be able to,” he says. “If there was a 
role going and they needed to do a little foxtrot or a bit of this or a bit of that, I think I could 
do it.”

James Stewart Blue Shirt
James Stewart (Credit: Alana Landsberry)

(Dancing with the Stars premieres Sun., Jul. 7, 7pm on Channel 7 and 7plus)

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