Jillian Barberie, <EM>Skating with Celebrities</EM> Jillian Barberie, Skating with Celebrities

TV Guide: Because you were a competitive skater as a kid in Canada, some people think you have an unfair advantage. Aren't you kind of a ringer?
Jillian Barberie:
Well, I hung up my skates at 13 and I'm 39 now: You do the math. It's what I did as a kid after school to kind of keep me out of trouble, and I loved it. But by the time I was 13, I wanted to go to movies and hang out with my friends and go out with boys. I wanted to major in boys.

TV Guide: But you're able to do lots of things  jumps and spins  the other stars can't even attempt.
Yes, but that also sets me up because it leaves less room to improve. And so the judges' expectations might be different than they are of other people.

TV Guide: So after 26 ice-free years, how did it feel to be skating again?
It felt like I was 6 again. At one point I was out on the ice doing twirly-twirls and I thought [pro partner] John [Zimmerman] was laughing at me. He said, "No, I'm smiling because you look like a child." Most of the time when people see me on TV, I'm brash and very opinionated and irreverent and glib. People tend to love me or hate me and a lot of them just think I'm annoying. But this might show them a different side of me. I think it made me more vulnerable.

TV Guide: On the first episode, when [judge] Dorothy Hamill praised you, why did you get so emotional?
When I was growing up, she was the ideal of beauty and skating. I had a Dorothy Hamill doll. I had her haircut. So a compliment coming from her pretty much floored me.

TV Guide: Now that the show has finished taping [the finale airs Feb. 27], are you still skating?
No! All my friends know me as the girl who doesn't work out. So when they saw this, they were shocked. It was like I had this secret I'd been keeping for years, that I really was an athlete.

TV Guide: You didn't get addicted to being in shape?
It was awesome. I got cut. I lost weight. I had, like, an eight-pack and my arms were really toned. It was fun to have for a while, but I wouldn't want to be like that all the time. It's too much work. I got mixed reviews from men. I lost a lot of my boobs  my boobs are real, contrary to popular belief  and some men thought I looked too hard. I like having curves more than muscle.

TV Guide: You do a lot of live TV [Good Day L.A., Fox NFL Sunday], and your on-camera persona is that you can't find a boyfriend despite being an attractive woman who likes dirty jokes and sports. How can this be?
I don't know. It would be nice to have someone in my life, but it's really hard in L.A. to meet people who get that you're a working woman and enjoy your career. It's just hard to meet quality guys. They're all married or gay, that's what I always say.

TV Guide: Are they threatened by your career or your hours?
I don't think men want women with careers for the most part. I think they would rather have a woman who's waiting for them back in the nest, raising the children. Which is great, but I'm not that girl. I think there are more and more women out there like me: divorced, in their thirties, with careers. That's a deterrent to some men.

TV Guide: When was the last time you went on a date?
Oh, jeez, I can't even remember. The thing is, I almost never get set up and I won't ask a man out. I'm just very old-fashioned that way. And I think that there are some guys I might like who won't approach me.

TV Guide: Oh, please.
They don't! Unless they're rock stars or athletes or men who can get any woman they want. And I don't want those guys. I want a guy who's, like, working and schlepping all day, not leading some sort of extravagant lifestyle.

TV Guide: So rich, famous men need never apply?
Oh, no  I've dated them, too. [Laughs] But it's not what I want. And if someone famous asks me out, my first thought is, "Why would he want to go out with me?" It's a real catch-22.