I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to be on two shows I love so much at once, to help spread a bit of positivity and happiness during this challenging time. Now that both of my shows are back on the air, it means that one day a week I’m filming both shows back to back. I’m thankful we had a very special Tuesday episode of Dancing With The Stars this week so that I could spend Monday focusing on the season premiere of The Talk, but when Tuesday rolled around it was time to start up my old double schedule again.
I start my day at 6 a.m. My first step is always to make myself a cup of coffee with almond creamer. I feed my two cats and three dogs; my oldest dog, Peanut, gets fed by hand. Next, I make myself a shake with either blueberries or peaches with vanilla, protein and a lot of greens to give me energy and keep my system optimized for the day ahead. I take a probiotic and drink a glass of lemon water (I know I should drink the lemon water before anything else, but the plain truth is that my coffee comes first!). Next I take a shower. While I’m showering I do a few exercises: 25 lunges on each side, 25 tricep pushups, and some dancer stretches. After my shower I use my neti pot to keep my nasal passages clear, which is especially important during COVID, and then I put on moisturizer. I throw on my favorite comfy sweats and head off to The Talk.
My call time is usually between 7 and 7:30— the first task of the day is always getting tested for COVID-19. Between 7:30 and 9 a.m. I’m in hair and makeup, where my team works on me while I eat my breakfast and read the updates on the stories we’ll be covering. At 9 I record my voiceovers for The Talk, then I meet with my producer (the first of many meetings of the day) to discuss our daily topics and do research. This season, we hold the meeting on Zoom for a more COVID-friendly environment. Next I meet with the guest producers to discuss the day’s guests and then I head into a script meeting to read the latest scripts for the show. Finally, there’s a group meeting where we all get ready for the live show and we do our cheer— this year the theme is “Speak Up and Be Heard.”
One thing you wouldn’t expect to have changed during COVID-19 is the order that we take the stage. I usually prefer to be onstage earlier to be able to prepare myself and feel the space. However, it’s now safest for me to enter last, a change we’re more than happy to oblige in the name of safety. Then, finally, we go live at 10 a.m.
The Talk has experienced a few obstacles in the first week of filming, but it’s nothing our amazing team couldn’t handle. Sharon is unfortunately still quarantined for another week— she’s doing well after being exposed to COVID, and you can learn more details by tuning into The Talk. Eve is broadcasting from London but our team has done an incredible job making it feel like she’s still in the studio. More than once I’d forget she wasn’t really there until I turned to look at her and remembered she’s appearing via screen.
Once we wrap on The Talk at noon, I run back to my dressing room, grab my keys, water, phone, and a pair of flats, and make the half-hour trek over the mountain from CBS’ Studio City lot to the CBS lot in Beverly Hills. On the way I put on one of my favorite playlists to get myself pumped up for Dancing With The Stars. When I arrive I take my second COVID test of the day via nasal swab, get my temperature checked and fill out a questionnaire for symptoms.
I have my first meeting for Dancing With The Stars at 12:30; we go over the show order, who’s dancing, and the judges’ comments order. Then it’s back to hair and makeup. This season I’ve decided to have a lot more fun and play around with wardrobe and wigs— if you want to know more, you can read my complete style blog at People.com. It’s an honor to be featured and I’ve had a blast. As I’m getting ready I take some time to review my notes on the couples from the previous week, how I thought they performed, and what my score was for each couple. I write it all down in my book so I have a point of reference once we start shooting.
My team and I decided that this week was going to be golden; my dress was sequined gold complemented by my second blonde wig, and my newly Emmy award-winning makeup artist Marylin (I’m so proud of her so I’m taking the opportunity to brag for her) completed our choices with a very cool look.
I try to get a nice lunch while I’m prepping to keep my energy and immunity up; yesterday I had vegetarian sausage and salad along with a peach and orange vanilla protein shake with an immunity booster. At 4 p.m. we do final looks and by 4:30 I’m headed to the stage to do the step and repeat, where we take pictures and do a bit of social media. We get into the studio around 10 minutes before we go live.
I feel very blessed to be able to work with people I care about. Bruno and I are like brother and sister at this point, and Derek has always been a part of the family and has been doing an incredible job so far. When we get to our seats I check my paddles, double check my notes, and make sure my pen is working. Before we go live I always say a prayer: to have the courage to speak my truth and to do so with love and compassion in my heart, to uplift others, and that nobody gets hurt. I take a deep breath, and then we’re live!
I love waiting to see what Tyra is going to wear. Last night she had one wardrobe change and two outfits, and I have to say I’m loving this added element of fashion on the show. It feels like every week we’re going to the Met Gala. It’s inspired me to have a lot more fun as well, as I wrote about last week.
When the show ends at 7pm, I go back to my dressing room and debrief with my hair and makeup team about what worked and what didn’t. We discuss looks for the following week and make a game plan. Sometimes after that I’ll meet with the press for another half an hour— not having a press line is another change we’ve made during COVID, so I talk to the press via Zoom.
After my time at Dancing With The Stars is over I drive home, wash my face, take off all my makeup, and hop in the shower to rinse off the day. I’m usually in bed by 10 or 10:30 so I can wake up the next day and do the whole thing over again! When both of my shows are on the air my schedule can be grueling, but at the same time I’m so grateful to be a part of two shows I’m truly proud of and I don’t take it for granted. Doing all this work while coping with my autoimmune conditions can be a challenge, but I think in some ways it’s a blessing. AI forces me to take better care of myself than I might do otherwise; because of my conditions I’m always making sure I get enough sleep, eat things that are good for me, and drink lots of water (although I could definitely be better at staying hydrated!).
Next week I’ll write about what it feels like to be the one to choose who stays or who goes on Dancing With The Stars. Thank you for tuning in to the Carrie Ann Conversations; I hope you’ll browse through our site and read a few other pieces while you’re here. I hope you enjoyed both of yesterday’s shows; it’s an honor to be able to bring them to you.