Maria Menounos on ‘DWTS’: I Feel Like A 10-Month Old Learning to Walk (EXCLUSIVE)

at 10:30 am | By

Maria's Midriff!
The 'Extra' host bares her belly.
We’ve seen a whole lot of Extra host Maria Menounos — especially after she busted out in a bikini in Times Square — but we’re about to see much more on Dancing with the Stars!

In an interview with Celebuzz, she reveals her first dance, her feet-saving techniques and why everyone should get close enough to smell Derek Hough!

You must be insanely busy right now with Extra and DWTS and everything else. How are keeping your schedule together?
A lot of coffee, a lot of Advil. Extra has been so supportive and really behind me with all of this and making it as easy as possible. I’m pretty good, I’m doing pretty well.

Are you and Derek ringers or what? The two of you seem like you’re a perfect pick to win!
I feel like a 10 month old that’s learning how to walk, so I can’t even get to that place. Right now it’s like I’m just trying to learn and be sharp. The hardest part about being tired is that you’re not sharp. The other day at rehearsal I was getting so frustrated with myself because I couldn’t remember things. I was getting so frustrated with myself. I was like “Oh gosh this is going to get real tough.”

What does Derek say when you get frustrated like that?
He’s sweet, he’s been very sweet.

The outfits on DWTS are pretty skimpy — is there anything off limits?
I definitely don’t have boundaries because I just wore a bikini in Times Square. I mean, it can’t get any worse than that. I think it’ll be fine. I just look at Derek and say he’s in charge of everything, whatever he says goes because he knows what he’s doing and I don’t.

Do you have any clue what your first dance will be?
I’m doing the Cha Cha Cha first.

That’s a hard one! Does anything hurt yet?
No, I’m very prepared. I’ve gotten down to a science; my friend who’s been visiting is helping drive me around. He puts my pedicure station in the front seat of my car, fills it with ice water and has it plugged in. On the way home I’m soaking in ice, and then when I get home I change, get in the hot tub. If I’m in pain anywhere [after that] I use a little Arnica cream or gel. If I’m still in pain I would take some Advil, then I’ll get a massage. I’ve set up all my shoes with the gel cushions and the heels inserts and all that stuff. I’m as prepared as much as I possibly can for preventative maintenance I guess. So, I’m feeling great right now, I’m not feeling anything.

A Twitter follower wants to know: What is your favorite part of the DWTS process so far?
My favorite part is learning to dance. It’s something that I never had the opportunity to do before. Derek and I have really good chemistry. We have a lot of fun together, so it just makes it even better. We are dying laughing at rehearsals at all time and so it’s been really really fun.

Another Twitter question: someone wants to know, since you’re so close to Derek all the time — how good does he smell?
Oh my God, I’m so glad they asked! [laughs] He smells so good it’s silly. I love being close to him, it’s crazy. It’s like, I have no problem being super close to your sweaty body and dancing because it smells really nice. He never smells bad.

Each week following DWTS, you’re going to be hosting a series for After Buzz TV! Can you tell us about that?
Absolutely! We had our official launch … we partnered up with BING and also teamed up Akamai — who is helping us stream seamlessly online every day. Basically, we are an online digital network devoted to after shows. You watch your favorite show at home, then after it goes off the air we go up live on breaking it down. We’re talking about everything; the plot, what we liked, what we didn’t like. It’s like Sports Center is after a game, that’s what we do, but for TV shows. You can call in to engage in the conversation, or just watch it. And if you don’t watch things live, you can download it on iTunes later. DWTS this is going to be our headline show and I’m going to be leaving the ballroom and rushing up to AfterBuzz [right after]. I’m going to be talking about it and people will be able to call in and ask me questions directly. It’s really fan driven and fan interactive and it takes message boards to the next level.

Be sure to check out Maria’s moves when DWTS premieres on Monday, March 19.