Dancing with the Stars - Joanna Krupa

Joanna Krupa's ruled the Dancing with the Stars leader board the past two weeks — a surprise, as it turns out, to partner Derek Hough. "Now the truth's coming out and he told me he told his dad the first week [of rehearsals] that I was a plank of wood or something!" the 30-year-old Krupa tells TVGuide.com. "It's just so hard at first, but then something clicked and I slowly started getting into it." The swimsuit model has not only impressed Hough, but herself as well. See what she has to say about her progress, her new Playboy spread and more.

TVGuide.com: You've been doing so well the past couple weeks and people are saying you can win it all now. How does that feel?
Joanna Krupa:
That feels amazing! I feel like I'm in a dream and somebody needs to pinch me only because I've dreamt of being a ballerina since I was little. When I first signed up for the show, I'm like, "Oh, I hope I can get to Week 2 or Week 3" because of the whole model curse they told me about. Being here every day is such an honor. I've definitely exceeded my and Derek's expectations because I never knew I had it in me, but it shows, with determination and hard work, you can do anything.

Dancing's Joanna Krupa: "People will see the real me"

TVGuide.com: You came in with not the best reputation from The Superstars and now you're in the top 5. How much support do you feel?
Krupa:
A lot. It's so wonderful that Dancing with the Stars can show people the real me in rehearsals, live on the show, as a goofball and I can just be myself. It's a great feeling because I'm human and it's hurtful for people to make comments about you based on the one and only thing they've seen you in and they don't understand what the situation was. I'm so grateful that the fans keep us in every week. Aaron [Carter being in the knockout dance despite high scores] shows no matter what your scores are, it's all about the voters. Obviously we're doing something right, keeping them happy and excited. That's what we'll try to bring it again this week.

TVGuide.com: Your two dances this week are the quickstep and a futuristic paso doble. What does that even mean?
Krupa:
Yeah, it's going to be interesting. I think it'll be [futuristic] costumes and we'll go more kind of robotic. The basic steps will be there, but there'll be some spunk and something different. You have to be a little creative here and we know Derek's very creative. ... The quickstep is challenging because you have to keep the frame and it's so fast. There are so many steps. I was frustrated Wednesday because the first day of a new dance is always hard. There's this one segment that I call the "foot twister" and I keep missing it and he got a little mad at me for a little bit!

Dancing's Derek Hough: I didn't mean for mambo move to look so sexual

TVGuide.com: You had your very provocative mambo marathon two weeks ago.
Krupa:
[Laughs] I saw that in your Top Moments! Thank you! It's a mambo move, but it's usually just one dip. Here, he was playing with the audience and he's like, "OK, here's, like, 12 of them!" I'm like, "Dude, my thighs are killing me!" I was trying to get up and he pulled me back down. We had a blast and it paid off. It was a wonderful feeling because there are people on the show that have bigger fan bases than I do, so for us to actually get to the end and for the audience to go crazy cheering us on after Mya got tapped out meant so much to me. It's probably my best moment on the show.

Read Maks' Dancing blog

TVGuide.com: We saw Derek's fantasy sequence with you. Are we going to see any of yours with him? Do you have any with him?
Krupa:
[Laughs] We haven't done anything yet of any of my fantasies! But it was pretty funny. In rehearsals, he kept changing his name to Javier to try to get me into the romantic mood and all I could do was laugh. Derek's such a funny goofball and anything that we can do to show off our personalities and make fun of each other. We're so similar and that's why we get along so well.

TVGuide.com: What did your fiancé [businessman Romain Zago] think of the clip?
Krupa:
I kind of warned him beforehand, like, "Baby, we're going to the beach to shoot something." He wasn't excited and happy about it, but he knows my business! He has his little comments and opinions, but he's supportive and knows how much I love the show. He has no choice but to be supportive!

Dancing's Joanna Krupa strips down for Playboy

TVGuide.com: Your Playboy issue is coming out. Did you have any concerns about doing it while you were on Dancing since it's known as a family show?
Krupa:
I did the shoot before I knew I was on the show. When I found out it was [going to be the] December issue, I was a little concerned, but the photos are so artistic and it's part of my background. I did Playboy before and for the people who support me and follow my career and see me on the show, I would hope it wouldn't change their views on me because it doesn't change who I am as a person. I also think Playboy helps build your name, just like how the show helps you build your name. They open doors. I'm a huge animal activist and I try to do good with whatever opportunities I have. ... I owe a lot of my success to Playboy, so why go against it? I'm very proud of it.

TVGuide.com: You've said you think it's empowering to women.
Krupa:
Yeah, I think it's definitely empowering to women. Women should never feel like they can't do something. In a way, it's a man's world. Men get paid more than women for the same type of work, so this is empowering. It's saying, "You're a woman, be strong. Don't hold back, don't be scared. Do whatever you want to do. If you have something to say, say it." I think we should show women can rule.