The race for the Mirror Ball is on once again in Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars, and this time, former Bachelorette Hannah Brown is taking the stage with her partner Alan Bersten. This week saw Hannah struggle with the rumba, and with how to communicate with Alan. Read on to find out about everything that happened in the week leading up to this performance in Hannah's DWTS diary.
Tuesday, Sept. 24
Today is my 25th birthday! I think 25 kind of snuck up on me a little. This past year has been crazy — my week has been insane, and my schedule is something I can't even catch up with.
Two of my best friends are in town for the show, and they get to see a day in the life of what I go through. It was good to have their encouragement and a little piece of normalcy in a world that doesn't feel quite normal yet. I had these really cool plans for us to go to a nice restaurant and then go out, but from the day and from the week I was really exhausted. So we had pizza and wine night at my apartment. It was great to just be able to not have to put on a show, to not have to really have worries about anything. I could just be tired and talk some crap with my friends.
This day has been really difficult on a deeper level. There are a lot of unknowns when you start the next year of your life, and it's kind of scary for me in that way. Will 25 be more of the same, exciting, scary, emotional things in my life? Or is everything going to slow down, and if so, in what way, and is that a good thing or a bad thing? Because if there's nothing here for me anymore, then what next? Because I don't want to go back home, either. Ultimately, I'm just tired.
Wednesday, Sept. 25
Practice was really hard today. I was really emotional. I was frustrated, and Alan was frustrated, because we only have three days to learn this dance. I couldn't pick up anything. I have a lot of mind fog from the stuff emotionally that I haven't had time to deal with, and it's decided to come out this week. I'm having a really hard time picking up the rumba and just taking steps today.
I think what it's coming down to is I feel like I've made a lot of decisions that I shouldn't have trusted in the past year. That's the raincloud over all this. Because of that, it's manifesting in dance. I don't trust myself to just take a step. I don't trust myself to make decisions right now, because a lot of the decisions I made the past year, were they the best? I don't know. I was having that a-ha moment that trust is not something that I really have right now, at all. For other people, or for myself. It was a heavy day.
We got through it, though we were at practice from like 1 to 9. We took lots of breaks in between, and then we both hadn't eaten so Alan took me out to Mozza and we had pizza. And that bread, man... we were really excited about the bread and burrata. We hung out and it was great. I think he knew that I needed a little break and it was really sweet of him to do that. He caused a lot of the irritation in practice, yes, but overall, he's a great partner to just hang out with. He's the person I'm with all the time, so it was nice for us to do something other than count four counts and three counts.
Thursday, Sept. 26
Today we had a fun little shoot for my week's dance. We're doing the movie Bridesmaids, so we're recreating some of the scenes from the movie, because my best friend is getting married very soon! So I flew her out here and we did a fun little bachelorette party to get excited for this next dance, and to be able to see her has been really great.
It kind of sucks because I feel bad that I don't have the energy and I don't really have the time to hang out. But I love that my real friends don't put expectations on me. They didn't expect me to be able to hang out, but then that makes me feel sad, because ugh, my friends don't expect me to be there for them? I keep trying to tell myself it's just temporary, this is just life right now and it's good that I'm busy. But it's kind of hard to hear. But it was really good to see them; we had so much fun filming our little package.
From there they came and watched some of our rehearsal. My friends know I'm not exactly OK, and I could see the concern in their eyes. I'm really just trying to hold it together in terms of being stressed and needing a lot of me-time that I don't necessarily get. I'm still kind of lonely, too. I don't feel like I have anybody I can talk to about what I'm going through.
Here's the thing: I have a lot of plans and a lot of fun things I can do. Why I say I feel lonely or weird is because I don't know what the best thing to do for me is right now. Is it to go hang out with people and have fun and be around people? Maybe. But what I need so badly is just time to breathe. But then I isolate myself, because I need that sometimes, but then don't see people. I just don't know where the balance is of letting myself relax and probably needing to be social with people I really care about.
I've lived this past year with my emotions being exploited for national television... there are only a few hours of the day where I don't have a camera on my face.
I've lived in LA for I don't even know how long yet and I haven't really experienced it. I don't know the fun things to do, I don't know really anything except for going from one show to the next. I've lived this past year with my emotions being exploited for national television, and that is really hard sometimes, when you have a lot of bottled up emotions but you know every day you're going to be in front of the camera. Because I am who I am, I can't hold my emotions in, so I know they're going to be exploited because I can't hold it together. Because honestly, there are only a few hours of the day where I don't have a camera on my face.
I think they could see that — I think it worries them — but they know how strong I am, and they want me to continue on this path because there are great things here. I gave them my car for the day, and told them where they should go. Alan and I practiced again from 1 to 6 or so. We had to shoot our wide, which is for the cameras to understand how our dance will move, and for creative to create the set. There's a lot of pressure to get that, but we did.
Then I Ubered home, and realized when I got home that I left my keys at the dance studio. Alan was so nice and brought them back to me. He lives really close, so he rode one of those scooter things over. It was so funny. That's such a typical thing that would happen to me. It was a really long day, a really long week with a lot of emotions, and it's like I can't even get into my apartment.
I ordered some Mendocino Farms, because that is the one of four places I ever order Postmates from, and Postmates has all my money. I had a salad and a glass of wine, and was in bed by 10.
Friday, Sept. 27
I hate throwing pity parties for myself, so today is going to be a better day!
Practice went pretty well, I finally started getting the dance, but Alan was really hard on me. He just pressed all of my buttons that should not be pressed, and sometimes and we get in very heated fights. Five minutes later, we'll be fine, but that's a lot of emotional back and forth. I'm already dealing with a lot of emotions so it's really hard, and I think by the end of it, he kind of felt bad. I know I talk back and it's disrespectful to a teacher, but what's hard is that we are friends and he is also my teacher. As a friend, I don't want him telling me that my steps look bad or I'm doing terrible or that was sh*t. But as a teacher he's just very hard on me, and it makes for a tough dynamic. I'm glad we're friends, but I want to be like, Don't talk to me like that!
After practice I came home and took a nap around 3, and then we went to dinner at this Mexican restaurant. Alan and I just had to talk it out and make sure we were both good. I told him I love dancing with him, and we love dancing together, but it was not fun, and I didn't like it anymore when he was so hard on me. He said he was sorry, he gets it, and that he would try harder.
At night my friends came over because they're still in town. We had a wine night and chatted about life. I gave them the inside scoop on Bachelorette stuff and Dancing with the Stars stuff and showed them my dance and they thought it had gotten so much better since the day before. I went to sleep late.
Saturday, Sept. 28
More of my family and friends from back home got in this morning, so we went to brunch at Joan's on Third. We met Ms. Joan and she is a doll. I got some avocado toast. It was good to see friends from back home that just love me no matter what and have been there for me. They can see that I'm struggling a bit, but they're encouraging.
Practice was so much better today. Alan definitely kept his promise. He was so much more patient with me; the energy in the room was just a lot better. I'm finally starting to feel better about this rumba, because it has just been the hardest week so far. Thank goodness, today it started clicking. Hopefully by Monday I'll do a good job. I'm about to cook some Home Chef meals and then probably just chill out. We'll see... the night is still young.
Sunday, Sept. 29
Sunday, we made it! Our dance is looking good, but I think Alan and I are worried a little bit because he's never choreographed a rumba on the show and I've never danced one. With a few days of practice and a few days that were washes because of me being emotional, it made it extra hard. We're learning the opening number, and I think all that stress was getting to both of us.
Alan and I got in a little bit of a disagreement about how to communicate with each other during those times, and we had to talk about it. For me, when he does certain things it feels like I am a disappointment. It's better to encourage me and tell me to get better, because I will work my butt off. I don't care about working hard, doing it better, it's just the way that he communicates that and the energy in the room that affects how I dance. So it was good that we continue to talk about that.
We went to Erewhon and had dinner, and answered questions on Alan's Instagram story for the people that love us and support us. Ninety percent of them were "Are you dating?" No, we're not. It was fun though — I'm glad Alan's my partner even though our relationship as a team is crazy.
Monday, Sept. 30
Show day, baby! It's always hard to rehearse early in the morning. I'm really worried about the inside tendons in my leg, because they're really tight and have little tears in them. It makes it really painful to dance and I really need to rest them, but I can't, so I went to physical therapy for a little while.
I'm trying to get ready for the night and got all taped up. I got my hair done, I looked like Shirley Temple at first, but somehow they made it look like a bridesmaid's hair. Magic people! I love Sarah, who does my makeup, too — it's very natural for stage makeup. She's the best.
We had a really good dress rehearsal, but I'm just ready to do this dance and move on to the next week. I just didn't feel comfortable with the rumba. After the performance, it was hard hearing the judges say I didn't move my hips, but you know what? I will work on my hip action and come back better. I think I do good with constructive criticism, so I'll definitely work on that. The hardest criticism to hear was that I dance like a cheerleader. I hope I don't dance like a cheerleader.
I went to dinner with my friends and family afterwards, and I was craving a burger. They loved on me and encouraged me, and were just so glad to be with me tonight. They had flights in the morning, so I sent them off to bed, and then I went salsa dancing — it was so fun. A lot of the cast was there and we all hung out. I wanted a new Latin dance, I had to work on my hips, so I started right off the bat working on my hips! I took tequila shots with some random guy. Good times, you know. Then I got home, went to sleep, and now I sound like a croaked frog.
Watch Hannah and Alan's rumba below:
Reporting by Samantha Rollins.