Episode 123 – Derek Hough

Derek Hough on striving for perfection, Vegas residency
By LA Stories Staff
PUBLISHED 5:00 AM PT Jun. 13, 2022

Derek Hough rose to fame on the hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” winning the coveted mirror ball trophy six times — more than any other professional dancer.

In this episode of “LA Stories,” Hough opens up to host Giselle Fernandez about the lessons he learned from the experience — both on and off the dance floor.

“Being on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ taught me how to release that perfectionism and realize that perfectionism doesn’t really exist,” he said. “It’s the lowest standard you can have, actually, because it doesn’t exist. So if you were seeking perfectionism, you’re only going to live in disappointment.”

Recalling his childhood, Hough shares horrific stories of being bullied as a young boy. He opened up about the experience in his book, “Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life in Motion,” saying that neighborhood boys would hogtie him, hang him from a tree and even, on one occasion, hold a gun to his head.

The traumatic experience caused night terrors for years, and Hough never opened up about it as a child. Since then, he has learned from the experience, saying that he now has compassion for those neighborhood bullies.

“I think that somebody who has a lot of pain in their heart,” he said. “It’s usually those who need to inflict power over others. It’s weakness in disguise.”

When he was 12, Hough’s parents sent him and his sister Julianne to London so they could train to become professional dancers. Eventually, both of them landed on “Dancing with the Stars,” catapulting them into the spotlight.

Hough is now expanding his career with his “No Limits” Las Vegas residency show, where he gets to dance with Hayley Erbert, his new fiancé. He’ll also return to season 31 of “Dancing with the Stars” as a judge.

After everything he’s overcome, Hough says he’s finally found his happiness in life.

“It’s a really profound place to be because it’s sort of an endless tank of fuel that inspires you to continue to create and then, more importantly, to serve others. ‘How can I serve this person? How can I elevate this person? How can I make this crowd feel something?’ That fuel is endless.”


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