Jennie Garth Jennie Garth

As Ian Ziering struggled mightily to dance his way into fourth place on last season's Dancing with the Stars, there was one fellow cast mate who showed up twice to root him on: Beverly Hills, 90210's Jennie Garth. "I was just determined for him to get a '10,'" says Garth, referring to the top score from the judges. "I know that that was what he was going for. And when he did, I felt like he could go home."

Did she herself feel the pull of the parquet floor? "No!" she says. "I was thinking that there's no way I needed to be out there."

It wasn't like she wasn't asked. Twice before, Dancing's producers had come to her, asking Garth to cut a rug. "But I've been having babies since I can remember," says Garth, now 35 and the mother of three with her husband, actor Peter Facinelli. "I was always pregnant or had just had a baby when the opportunity was brought to me. This time, it worked out with my life and my schedule."     

Still, Garth had doubts about signing on. "My husband said, 'You should do it,'" she says. "He was the one who sort of opened the box, in my mind. And then I started thinking that maybe it would be fun. But I feel like I just jumped off a cliff."

But it's a leap she's prepared to take because of her love of dance. Garth studied ballet, tap and jazz between the ages of 11 and 14. Like Jane Seymour, she dreamed of becoming a professional in the dance world. But unlike Seymour, she saw herself more as a dance teacher than a prima ballerina. "I dreamt of being on pointe," she says, "but I just didn't have the chops. There was just something inside of me that felt inadequate, that I would never be as good as other people. And then I stumbled into acting." 

Unlike many of the other women who've done the show, Garth isn't looking for a major physical transformation. "I'm happy with where I am," says Garth, whose third child was born 11 months ago. "I like being a woman and having a womanly body." She remembers only too well that Ziering dropped 20 pounds. "Ian totally lost his butt," says Garth. "He was so happy with his body that when we went to see him at the show, he dropped his pants to show us! And it's like, OK, great, thanks. I mean, what do you say to that?"    

Garth's pro partner will be Julianne Hough's brother, Derek, who performed on one of last season's results shows and is also considered a sensational dancer. Garth is hoping that he can make her look — just a little — like two of the female professional dancers on the show or, perhaps, Laila Ali. "I'm a big fan of Cheryl Burke and Edyta Sliwinska," says Garth. "I think their dancing is beautiful. And I loved the way Laila danced because she didn't do a bunch of fancy leg kicking and splits. She just kept it simple, classy and elegant, and I really like that. I think that would be more my style."

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