Playing Tonya Harding‘s mother in I, Tonya won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Allison Janney, and she gratefully turned out to support the former figure skater when she recently made her debut on Dancing With the Stars‘ all-athletes season. “I thought she danced so beautifully,” Allison, accompanied by co-star Mckenna Grace (who played the young Tonya), exclusively told Closer Weekly.
“I know she’s always a little worried about not having the grace and the choreography, but I thought that she did. She was beautiful and graceful and so emotional, and I’m so happy for her,” Allison added. Tonya, 47, told Closer that she was thrilled to have Allison and Mckenna there for “my new beginning.” She added, “It’s a fresh start.”
Because of her past controversies, Tonya hopes that appearing on DWTS will hopefully make people see her in a better light. “I haven’t had respect from people for a very long time,” she told Closer in a previous interview. As a former pro figure skater, Tonya’s motto is to “always believe in yourself and have faith no matter what anyone says.”
Season 26 of DWTS features many strong-hitting competitors and based off of the stars’ past careers in sports, it seems like every participant is a serious contender to win the Mirror Ball Trophy. But the competition will be extra fierce this season because the show is only four weeks long this time around. During a previous exclusive interview with Closer, pro dancer Keo Motsepe revealed why this season is so short compared to the normal three-month-long series.
“I think it’s an amazing season, to have all athletes. I think for all the pros and I, the pressure is on because there are no actors or anything — it’s all athletes. I think the competition is going to be so high and expectations from the viewers will be so high,” Keo, who is paired with pro softball player Jennie Finch, told us. “I think the show is also trying to see if the athletes season is going to work. They didn’t want to do a whole season and have people be like, ‘Only athletes. Are they gonna be good?’ You never know. I think it’s gonna do amazing. It’s trying something different and new.”
For more on Allison Janney and Tonya Harding, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!