How Self-Care Helped Hannah B. Salsa Her Way To Immunity This Week On 'DWTS'

by Hannah Brown
Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten dance the salsa in Week 8 of DWTS.
ABC/Kelsey McNeal

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 in good spirits as she and Alan nailed two dances and racked up two tens. Read on to find out about everything that happened in the week leading up to this performance in Hannah's DWTS diary.

Tuesday, Oct. 29

Monday was really hard for me, so I needed a self-care day. So I went and had a coffee and some breakfast at my favorite coffee spot by myself and just sat and had a moment. I don't really get that anymore. I'm constantly at the studio, or going from one meeting to the next. While that's so exciting, it's been really hard, especially when I had a such a tough week.

I needed to make that decision to take care of myself. So I went and got a coffee and avocado toast because the avocados here are so good and I can't get enough. Then I booked a physical therapist/medical massage/amazing miracle worker to meet me at my apartment and just freaking work on my sore body. My feet were really swollen last week, so I just want to go into this week feeling better. It definitely helped, but the physical therapist confirmed that my legs are swollen all over. Every part of my body is swollen and holding onto fluid. I have to really be careful and take ice baths now, but it felt good to just take care of my body for a bit.

Then it was time to go back to rehearsals. Alan was very sweet and texted me and apologized for anything that he said that may have come off a little harsh to me last week. I know he always intends to be my number one fan and support me, but I was already a little vulnerable from the week, so it was great to talk to him and communicate about how we feel, why things affect us the way they do, and what we mean. Even when you know somebody means no harm, it's good to talk it out when things can be a little sensitive. So we got that out of the way and started focusing on the next week.

Courtesy of Hannah Brown

We have two dances, so we're going to focus on the quickstep today. I'm doing it to my absolute favorite song, "American Girl" by Tom Petty. The lyrics resonate with me and my life and who I am. I haven't really had a song that's done that for the last several weeks. I'm so connected to music that it really does affect my performances. Like I said, I'm not a performer by trade, it's not what I do professionally, I'm just a normal person who lives this crazy life. I can't fake it, so I really do have to love the song, so I'm really glad that I do this week and that I can share that, because I think that is a big part of the disconnect in not being able to tell the real story about who I am.

The quickstep is really tough; the top part of your body has to stay really structured while your legs are going pretty fast. But I like it a lot, I think it's really fun, and I'm picking it up. We just need to take out some parts, because I can't pick up the Charleston. We're going to make sure that I have a very challenging dance, but one that doesn't make me get in my head. Alan has done an incredible job with this choreography, so we are going section by section learning the dance and I feel pretty good about it. Overall, it's a fresh new start to a positive week.

Wednesday, Oct. 30

Today I'm waking up a bit early because I have a few meetings with some people who can help me figure out what's next after I'm out of the ballroom, and I'm really excited. It's important for me to be able to share my story and the things I've learned in different ways, so I'm working on finding people who are invested in helping me do that in the most eloquent but also the most "Hannah" way. I'm really excited about what the future has in store for me, and it's nice to focus on something else for a bit.

Then it's off to rehearsals! We have a loooong day. These rehearsals are now being scheduled for six hours, which means that we sometimes go over. But today is really important to get the dance to music.

At rehearsals I rode Alan's new bike through the studios, which was really fun. He lives really close to the studios so he bikes there, and he got this really cool motorcycle-like bike. After practice, I went back home and showered off because I was really sweaty, and then I went and got my toes done. I haven't gotten a pedicure since Week 4, and we all know that my feet have gone through some damage, so it felt really good.

At night, I went out and got some dinner. Some people feel bad for people who sit by themselves at places to eat. I feel very empowered when I sit by myself when I go somewhere to eat. Because I'm always so busy, I feel like I often have meals at my house alone really late a night. It felt good to be out and seated around everyday people, and I had a good meal! Then I went home and went to sleep.

Thursday, Oct. 31

Happy Halloween! I haven't done a dang thing for Halloween, but I feel like Halloween Week on Dancing with the Stars was me celebrating Halloween. I'm just so tired, but I do have some special activities planned for the day. I'm up and at 'em at 5:30 this morning, getting my hair and makeup done to on KTLA with Alan to talk about Dancing with the Stars. Our segment ended up getting pushed back because the news team needed to cover the fires that are going on around California, so we went on an hour later. All I can think is, Man, I could have used that extra hour of sleep. But we still got to talk to all the people!

After that, we went to visit patients at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. It was really awesome for me, because I've spent a lot of my life raising money for Children's Miracle Network because I also was a child at a Children's Hospital of Alabama and that was a scary, very influential time in my life. So it was nice to be able to continue volunteering here in Los Angeles with the Children's Hospitals like I did when I was in Alabama. We went to different patients' rooms and gave them Halloween treats and tried to make their day really special.

1 / 3

After that, we went to practice, and practiced our butts off. I was so tired from waking up so early and from practice that I think I went to sleep before 10 p.m., which was amazing. No shame in my game.

Friday, Nov. 1

Today was a really long day of rehearsal. We just now started learning our second dance, because we have to do the dance-off against Lauren Alaina. I'm learning it pretty quickly, and I really like the salsa. It's the first Latin dance that I really like! I usually love the ballroom dances, I think they're beautiful and fun, but now I have the quickstep and the salsa this week and I'm really excited. The salsa song is really fun to dance to, and we're doing these cool lifts. I would be so nervous having to learn two dances usually, but I think because I love both of these dances so much and the progress I've made, I know that I'll be able to pick them up and have them ready.

Sometimes when I mess up, Alan is like What?! because he knows I know it and can do it. Ultimately, I'm really proud of Alan for doing whatever it takes me to teach me the best, even if it's different than the way he's taught people before. It really shows that he's trying to work with me. I'm trying to not be as sensitive when he is just so passionate, and I just have to know that's just how Alan is. I'm proud of both of us for learning how to communicate better with each other. I think Alan has killed the choreography this week with songs that we really like and can get excited about. We both feed off each other's energy. We ended up leaving around 8:15 or so and feel pretty dang good.

Saturday, Nov. 2

Today was really nice. We worked really hard yesterday, so Alan said I could come in an hour later today. But I still came in at 10, so we ate our Erewhon steak and egg burritos and hung out. Then we danced from 11 to 3, so essentially I came late and left early, because we're doing awesome! We had a great rehearsal and got a lot of things accomplished and just ran the dances over and over again and worked on me having fun with it.

My brother Patrick is flying in from Alabama today, and he got in when we got done with rehearsals. So we vegged out on the couch. My TV has been broken — well, I couldn't figure out how to connect my TV altogether, I'm not really tech savvy — so my brother fixed my TV and I took him to one of my favorite Brazilian restaurants here and he loved it. Then we came back home. I haven't had this much time on my hands, it feels so weird. So I did some laundry, because I have a mountain of laundry — not a little hill, a mountain. A Mount Everest of laundry. I put my dishes away, too. I'm feeling a little domestic, but I shouldn't push it. But it's great to have him here.

Sunday, Nov. 3

We had an earlier camera blocking this morning, which went great. We had to change my costume, though. It was going to be all white, but it looked blown out on camera because it was so white, so they have to rush and change it to blue. My idea was to have the bottom of the dress have an airbrushed watercolor look, so they're going try do that. But it's kind of nerve-wracking not knowing what the costume is going to look like.

I also tried on my salsa outfit, and let me tell you, that thing is just one piece of red fabric that shimmies and shakes. It's a tiny little thing! I shouldn't have eaten so much bread this week, but oh well, I'm going to shake what the carbs gave me.

Then I went to lunch with my brother to this Mexican place called Petty Cash. It's a nod to Tom Petty and Johnny Cash, and I thought it was appropriate since I'm doing "American Girl" by Tom Petty this week and I want tacos. He met me at The Grove first — it was his first experience seeing random people looking at me and recognizing me. Everybody was really sweet, and we took some pictures. Then we had a little stroll to eat Mexican, and it was so good. He's loving all the food; I've definitely done well picking out food places for us.

Then I had to go back to get a spray tan and do physical therapy, and then we filmed our little cold open at CBS studios. After that, Patrick and I started watching RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7. At first he was really uncomfortable watching it, but now he's laughing and he's really invested in it.

Monday, Nov. 4

Show day! I think having my brother here has been really great for me, because we haven't had that one-on-one time together in a while. It's really lifting my spirits, to have that sense of home here.

I'm feeling really good going into show day. I've worn my hair the same way a lot with my costumes, so I wanted to do something really cool this time. So I'm wearing about 50 bobby pins as part of my hairstyle. My hair and makeup is bomb, and the costume came out really pretty — it's very all-American meets Dancing with the Stars.

Courtesy of Hannah Brown

I got to go out and see some of the fans before the show, and I'm in good spirits. I always get nervous and think I'm going to throw up before the dance, but I never do. I can sometimes get really distracted, so I thought doing the dance with Lauren Alaina dancing next to me would really mess with me, but I made sure I focused on Alan, and I had a ball.

I just had fun while I danced tonight. I was literally laughing while doing the quickstep. I haven't done that since the paso doble and the waltz to "Lover," which were the two dances that I loved. It was just so fun, and it was great to receive two tens and a 9. Len always says nice things about me, so sure, you can give me a 9. He's just holding me to a higher standard, and that's OK. But I was happy about the two tens, and it was nice to hear the encouragement from both Carrie Ann and Bruno. Alan was so proud, I think he was a little teary eyed because he knew that I needed that, and I think he needed it too.

Hannah and her Bachelor girls, Demi and Hannah G. (ABC)

It was a great night with so much positive energy, and it's so good to know we're safe going into the Top 6. Hopefully we're just going to continue to build from here, because I have a lot more to give and can't wait to show everybody. Cheers to another great week!

Watch Hannah and Alan's quickstep and salsa below:

Reporting by Samantha Rollins.