Dancing With The Stars’ Damian McGinty has opened up about ‘slowly transitioning’ his life back to Ireland from the United States.
The Derry native, who found fame on Glee, is currently back on our shores as he prepares for the RTE dancing competition’s grand final on Sunday.
With just one hurdle left between him and the Glitterball, Damian is adamant that it won’t be long until he’s back in Ireland once the show ends.
‘I am so happy, it’s going to be very hard to go back to America. Transparently with my wife, we’ve been having a lot more conversations about spending more time here.
‘This is the first step of doing that, spending chunks of time here and slowly transitioning our life so we can have a base here and in the States. She’s American so we’ll obviously always have to balance both,’ he said.
When asked what he misses the most when in America, Damian said: ‘Irish people. I love American people, but there’s just something more hearty about Irish people. They’re always up for the craic. This experience has been amazing… I miss the chippy, no chippers in America. I hate that.’
Since becoming a household name in the musical comedy phenomenon, Damian has done everything from taking on Hollywood to releasing music as a solo artist.
When he wanted ‘a new challenge’, the opportunity to compete on Dancing with the Stars was one he couldn’t say no to.
He explained: ‘I went in and I didn’t have any expectations, that was by choice. It was a blank slate, I wanted a challenge and an opportunity to do something completely different. Not to reinvent yourself but to learn a new skill set and see how far hard work can take you.
‘That was my attitude, I had no idea what that would look like or how far it could take you. It took us to the final, I’m very happy.’
Admitting that he ‘hasn’t ‘had a drink this entire experience’, Damian didn’t think alcohol would be of much help to him on his dancing journey.
‘Since January 1, haven’t had time. Totally honest, we’re back very early tomorrow morning. I can’t imagine dancing with any sort of hangover. It’s hard enough as it is.
‘I wouldn’t be a big drinker anyway. It was a conscious decision. I wanted full clarity doing all of this and that’s kind of the way I am. Whenever I’m in the middle of big projects I’d be very focused. I wouldn’t really drink a lot of alcohol. But the wrap party next week, I apologise in advance,’ he joked.
Last week saw Damian and his dance partner Kylee Vincent take the trip up north to Derry, where the 30-year-old got to visit his old schools and receive ‘an incredible reception’.
‘The whole of Derry is going to be watching the final. When you’re in the show, you don’t really do an awful lot apart from rehearsing. We’re back in at 9am tomorrow morning and the place is empty. You stay here all day and you don’t really do a lot of socialising.
‘You’re kind of cut off from everyone’s experience of the show. Going up to Derry was the first time. People are loving this show and season. They were interactive and passionate. I thought the whole of Derry was watching it,’ he said.
After initially struggling with his anxiety when taking to the dancefloor, Damian has found that he’s ‘not as scared’ as he inches closer to becoming the DWTS’ season six winner.
‘I’ve had a couple of weeks on the show where I would say I wasn’t fully at myself because I was so naturally uncomfortable. Out of uncomfort, you find growth and you find an ability to hone a completely new skillset. I do find myself on Monday morning picking up steps quicker and not being as scared.
‘I’m still anxious, before a performance, I’m anxious. I hide it well. It’s a funny thing when you get in your head. Three months is a long time doing this, but it’s nothing in the spectrum of Kylee doing it her whole life. Even after three months, before I go on I’m still second-guessing. “What comes after this”, you know it’s just natural to do that.
‘The reality is I’m not a dancer. There’s still anxiety and a major challenge there, but Kylee has really created something I didn’t think was there,’ he admitted.
Dancing with the stars airs Sunday at 6.30pm on RTE One and the RTE Player.