Candace Cameron Bure, the former kid actor who played D.J. Tanner on Full House, is picky.
There are many things on television that she simply will not do.
“I prefer to work on good, wholesome programming that families can sit down and watch together,” says Cameron Bure, who’s now 37 and a mother of three. “If it’s not something I can watch with my kids, then I’m probably not going to be in it.”
That’s why Hallmark Channel Christmas movies are irresistible to her. Reality television, on the other hand, is generally too mean-spirited for her taste.
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But there is one exception.
“I’ve been asked to do many, many reality-style television shows, and I’ve turned them all down,” Cameron Bure says. “But I’ve always said, if Dancing With the Stars asked me to be on, that’s the only one I would do. Because I love it. I think it’s a great show.”
And look who called. She’s one of 12 celebrities taking a crash course in ballroom dancing for the 18th season of Dancing With the Stars. The two-hour premiere is at 7 p.m. Monday on ABC.
“I’m beyond excited,” Cameron Bure says. “So is all my family. So are all of my friends. I don’t know if I’ve done anything that they’re all this excited about.”
It won’t be easy.
The celebrities vying for the Mirror Ball trophy include several athletes: There are a couple of Olympic gold medal-winning ice dancers (Meryl Davis and Charlie White), a swimming legend (Diana Nyad), a former hockey pro (Sean Avery, who briefly was a Dallas Star) and a double-amputee snowboarder (Amy Purdy).
The field also includes a comedian/game show host (Drew Carey), a showbiz legend (Billy Dee Williams), a reality TV personality (NeNe Leakes) and a couple of pop music stars (Cody Simpson and James Maslow).
There’s also another former child star: Danica McKellar, aka Winnie Cooper of The Wonder Years.
“Danica and I have known each other since we were 11 or 12 years old,” Cameron Bure says. “We did a movie together when we were 13 or 14. It was called Camp Cucamonga . And I did a commercial with her sister when I was even younger, like 9 or 10. So Danica and I go way back.”
Cameron Bure is fond of Dancing With the Stars because this isn’t a show in which people have to do demeaning things or competitors stab each other in the back, she says. This is a show that elevates.
“I think people like seeing an arc,” she says. “I think they like rooting for someone who might not be so great at the beginning, but you see effort and improvement.”
That’s the kind of performance Cameron Bure hopes to deliver.
“This is all new to me,” she says. “I don’t have any dance experience. I met my dance partner, Mark Ballas, and he started running me through some moves to figure out what I could do and how easily I picked up choreography and how well I retained it.
“Our first week out of the gate, we have contemporary, so that’s the only style of dance we’ve been doing. So I still have a long way to go.
“I think my strengths are that I work out and that fitness is important to me, so I have a strong core. That works out very well for contemporary, because you can lift and twist and turn all different ways, in a gymnastics kind of way.
“My weakness is just that I don’t have dance experience, which is daunting when you consider that the competition includes two professional ice dancers.”
But there’s a history of underdog viewer favorites advancing to the finals against athletes.
Cameron Bure, whose husband happens to be a former hockey pro, Val Bure, is banking on the fact that she has an enduring Full House fan base.
“In all honesty, I can’t really think about anything beyond the first episode,” she says in classic one-game-at-a-time fashion. “Mostly, I’m just hoping to have a good time, to do a good job and to make my husband and my kids proud.”