During the past two weeks, Kelly Monaco — the ex-Baywatch babe and current General Hospital mob moll — has bravely withstood some cruel commentary from the bitchy judges on ABC's Dancing with the Stars. This spunky dame may wince or pull a face, but you'll never hear her sass them back like one of those mouthy mannequins on America's Next Top Model.
"For some reason, there are some biased opinions going on. What are you gonna do?" Monaco tells TVGuide.com. "I'll refrain from using bad words, I'll be politically correct and I'll be the professional that I am. I spoke my mind and said what I needed to say without being abrasive or harsh. There's no need.
"There's a time and place to let out your anger and aggression — and it's not on live TV!" she adds, laughing. "Plus, I get so much support from my cast mates, the makeup artists and the rest of the crew at GH. They make me feel like I'm running for president! They make me kick myself in the ass and push myself harder."
Monaco admits she felt some initial trepidation about doing Dancing, given the extremely random assortment of celebs involved, from ex-Bachelorette Trista Sutter to boxing champ Evander Holyfield. "I was totally nervous going into this, like, 'God, what the f--- am I thinking? Is this going to be like Surreal Life 20?'" she chuckles. "But Brian Frons, the president of ABC Daytime, promised they're all about good, uplifting, positive [programming].' I was also initially nervous about the reality-TV element, but once they broke it down for me, I realized it's completely different from what's out there now. There's no bug eating."
There's also no cutthroat competition for the sake of fame and cash. "I've got a job. I'm doing this for fun," Monaco says. "Everyone got a lump sum of money up front, so the [financial] incentive is definitely over. It's not a million-dollar prize at the end — it's a trophy. At this point, [it's about] pride.
"Everyone's pretty stable and set in their careers, so it's not about money or trying to get a career. That's a cheese factor too, in my opinion. Money is the root of all evil and people can get pretty nasty on reality shows. So I'm really glad that's not the incentive in the end."
Of course, publicity doesn't hurt, and Monaco certainly attracted a lot of attention with the sparkly, skimpy dress she wore Wednesday night. "You mean my lack of a dress?" she teases. "We couldn't even get a mic on it, that's how lacking it was. My dance partner, Alec, and I thought I was going out on [Wednesday] night. So I thought I'd go out with a bang. In another situation, I might've been a little more subdued, but I thought I might as well look fabulous while I was getting canned!"
Thanks to fan support, however, she'll perform again this week. "We're doing the jive to 'Footloose,' which is a crazy, affectionate, impulsive song that will get into everybody's blood the second it comes on," Monica previews. "You can't help but bop your head and tap your leg. We're gonna work it!"