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18th Dec 2022

Jennifer Zamparelli chats all things Christmas and the upcoming Dancing With The Stars

“We’ll have great craic, or we’ll kill each other. That could be really good.”

Jennifer Zamperelli is about to embark on one of the most exciting times of her career each year: Dancing With The Stars.

As the presenter prepares for the yearly (and very glamorous) event, she sat down with Her to chat all about the show, but not before she spilt the beans about her Christmas plans this year.

When I spoke with Jennifer, she was in beaming spirits for someone who had gotten stuck in Bristol for a few more days than planned. Knowing it was one of those situations that are completely out of your control, she seems to be making the most of the busiest time of year.

“This year we’re not cooking, we’re visitors. We’re going to a friend’s for breakfast and then to my sister’s for dinner. On Christmas Eve we have a tradition where we go into town and book a table somewhere cosy and Christmassy, have an early lunch, soak up the atmosphere and go home,” Jennifer said.

“I want to do lots of walks, get out because I feel that my kids go a bit mental when they’re indoors for too long so we have all the hiking gear, because I’m a hiking w**ker now, I’m one of those people. We’re just going to get out in the fresh air, I think that’s important this time of year,” she joked.

And that’s one thing to note when chatting to Jennifer, you’re laughing straight off the bat. This is a woman who doesn’t even have to try to make you giggle, she’s doing it effortlessly.

The RTÉ star has partnered with Heineken 0.0 this year on their “Zero Explanations Needed. Cheers to that” campaign to promote one all important message: if someone isn’t drinking this time of year, they don’t owe you an explanation.

While Jennifer admits she is fond of a few around the holidays, she told us that she has been seriously cutting back recently and her reasoning is exactly that – she doesn’t have to have one.

“I feel very strongly about not having to drink on social occasions, and that stat that 50% of people feel more pressure to drink this time of year is frightening because we should be over that now. Not having to explain, no explanations given for why we’re not drinking. It’s like asking someone their health status, it’s quite a personal thing,” the mum of two said.

“Life is so busy and sometimes you just want to go out and you want to see people and you want to have the craic but you just can’t deal with the hangover and that’s fine, it’s just not worth it. We need to get rid of that stigma of explaining why we’re not drinking.”

Going on to chat about her very exciting upcoming project alongside her new co-host Doireann Garrihy, Jennifer couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in the ballroom for Dancing With The Stars next month.

After Nicky Byrne announced he was no longer going to be hosting Dancing with the Stars, there were some very big boots to fill but Jennifer has no doubt in her mind that Doireann will be more than capable of doing just that.

“I think it’s going to be a very different spotlight because there’s no comparison, they’re [Doireann and Nicky] so different, different background. I’m just really excited to see what she does with the role because that is her in her natural habitat,” she said.

“Our stylist is really excited to get us into really cool outfits that will look good on their own but will compliment each other as well, so I think she has the hardest gig of the whole season.”

“We’ll have great craic, or we’ll kill each other. That could be really good,” she joked again. “She’s going to be brilliant, she’s going to bring a lot to the role so we’re very, very excited. Her biggest concern is those stairs, for someone who has to do a live television show for the first time. And wait until you see, this will be the first time I’ll fall down them. I’ve done three or four seasons, not once have I tripped.”

But the all important question still lingered – who is she most excited to see put on a sparkly outfit and twirl their way onto our TV screens?

“I kind of think Carl Mullen is going to be that kid that ties his tie around his head and skids across the floor on his knees, he’s going to be a bit like that so that’s going to be very entertaining to watch. I can’t wait to see Suzanne Jackson because she’s finally doing it which is amazing,” she said.

“I suppose, for me, Panty because I know her, she comes on my radio show, she’s a friend of the show and we’ve done a couple of gigs together but I think the glam is just going to be off the charts with her, I think she’s going to out-glam me and Doireann together.”

Dancing With The Stars returns to RTÉ One in January.