It’s a challenge the mum-of-one is embracing with gusto.
Since announcing the end of her seven-year marriage to former Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke in February 2020, Clarke has been focusing on Kelsey Lee, 5 - the daughter she co-parents with her ex - and getting into the best shape of her life.
Clarke, who’s equally as comfortable on a building site (she obtained her project manager’s license recently) as she is on a catwalk, says she and pro-dance partner Gustavo Viglio will be a force on the dance floor.
“I will give this my all,” she says. “When people say they didn’t think I could do something then see that I can, it’s a really cool compliment.”
You look amazing! How much preparation have you been doing for DWTS?
Gustavo and I have been practising up to six hours a day for the past few weeks. It’s been intense.
You’ve always had a strong dedication to health and fitness. What is the secret to maintaining your amazing figure?
For me, it’s about having balance in life. I eat pretty clean but I do train a fair bit.
I focus on Pilates, Barre Attack or going to the gym and doing weights. And I do the Bondi to Bronte walk a fair bit. But I definitely make room for a cheat day or two.
WATCH: Kyly Clarke enjoys a 'cheat day' with daughter Kelsey Lee
What do you like to indulge in on those treat days?
Pizza! Being of Maltese and Italian descent, it’s definitely my favourite. But I don’t mind a good burger now and then, too.
You had to pull out of your first season of DWTS in 2014 due to a terrible hamstring injury. Coming back, did that make you feel like you had more to prove?
Yes, for sure. The training can take a massive toll on your body, which you don’t necessarily notice at the time as it’s so much fun.
But I’ve been really trying to nurture myself this time around in between sessions to ensure I’m fit to be there at the end. There have been quite a few Epsom salt baths though!
On House Rules, you’re used to calling the shots as a judge. Are you nervous about being critiqued on DWTS?
Of course, it’s always nerve-racking to put yourself out there like that. But I came on the show to impress the judges and I’m very open to getting their feedback.
If I can take what they say on board and come back with the next routine being something bigger and better, and grow as a dancer, then I’ve achieved what I set out to do.”
Your life has undergone massive changes since your last turn around the dance floor. You’ve welcomed your daughter and split with Michael. How is co-parenting going with him?
Michael I have worked out a system where we each have one week on and one week off with our daughter.
I can speak for both of us when I say that our first priority is always putting Kelsey Lee’s welfare first and making her feel comfortable above all else. If something stops working and there are changes needed, we stop, reassess and go from there.
And what does Kelsey Lee think of you being on DWTS?
She loves it. Kelsey Lee came to watch the show a few times and now she wants to start taking tap dancing lessons. I think it’s really cool that she’s been inspired by me.
Do you dance with her at home?
Just mucking around and play dancing, but I’m excited to be able to give her a few tap dancing lessons myself when she starts learning.
We really love spending so much time together and our favourite things to do are hitting the beach on a nice sunny day or play Uno [the card game] when we’re both home. She’s getting so good at it.
WATCH: Kyly Clarke takes daughter Kelsey Lee shopping on her fifth birthday
What qualities do you have that you hope your daughter will inherit?
She always tells me that I’m really funny and can make her laugh. Life can get really tough and serious at times and you just need that thing that helps to soften it up.
If I can continue to be that for her, while teaching her to face life with a bit of cheek and joviality, then I’ll be very, very proud.
What is next for you?
I’m expanding my business and just continuing to follow my dreams.
You’ve started your own construction company doing mini-builds of granny flats. What do you love about working in the building industry?
I love being able to start with nothing and build something from the ground up - there aren’t many jobs left in life where you can do that. I also have a really amazing team.
Mostly, I love to show my daughter a different side to me. As a woman, you can dance or work in front of the camera but you can also run your own business and be hands-on in a job that you feel really passionate about. I want Kelsey Lee to grow up knowing she can do anything she wants to.
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