Ricki Lake has lived her life as an open book since making her star turn in the 1988 hit movie “Hairspray.” The TV host and actress has been honest about her weight struggles (she once weighed 260 pounds before dropping nearly half her body weight) and her struggles for love (she divorced her husband and the father of her two sons in 2005).
Lake, 38, challenged herself in the public eye again by competing on “Dancing With the Stars” last year with partner Derek Hough, making it to the finals and losing more weight again.
Now, the newlywed star, who tied the knot with boyfriend Christian Evans in a surprise wedding April 8, has put her life in a book, a new memoir called “Never Say Never: Finding a Life That Fits.”
In the book, Lake, who will return to TV as host of a new daytime talk show this fall, opens up about everything from her molestation at age 7 to her lifelong struggles with her weight.
Three days before I performed live for the first time on Dancing with the Stars in the fall of 2011, I stared into the floor-to ceiling mirror in the dance studio where I’d been training with my partner, ballroom pro Derek Hough, and tried not to hyperventilate. Had I really decided to attempt to learn to dance on national television, wearing a sequined bathing suit? Was I hallucinating? Was there a loophole I could crawl my way out of? Does somebody have a copy of my contract?
I wasn’t worried about whether I would be able to pick up the complicated dance steps. I wasn’t worried about going back on TV in front of millions of viewers after such a long hiatus. I wasn’t worried about performing well enough to keep my spot on the show.
I was worried about looking fat.
Even after twenty years of slaying my demons, I was still most concerned with how I looked. When a professional dancer sees her own reflection, she’s not looking for double chins or figure flaws; she’s studying lines, steps, and timing. The relationship between a dancer and her mirror image isn’t about emotions or self-punishment; the mirror is simply a crucial tool that promotes her progress when it is used correctly. Most of us try to avoid confrontations with our reflections whenever possible, seeing the looking glass as the enemy. The dancer calls the mirror her friend and teacher.
But when I catch a glimpse of myself in a store window, I quickly avert my gaze.
Staring at my hips in the mirror, in an effort to make them move like a dancer’s, was awkward for me, plain and simple. The very first day we worked together, Derek commanded me to stare down my own image and truly believe, deep down in my gut, that I was a beautiful dancer. Only if I was able to do this, he said, would it become true. I knew that he was right, but I doubted that I’d ever be so confident.
The first week of the show, I pushed past my fears and strutted out onto that dance floor in a skintight dress. I danced pretty darn well for a girl with no ballroom experience, earning high marks and tons of applause. But my performance didn’t really impress me. The thing I was most proud of was getting a little bit thinner.
QG WD feels this book will be a definite pager turner and we wish Ricki much success with her new venture as the “New Orpah!” Catch the rest of the story on Ricki’s book and her life on GMA.