Candy Lane left New Zealand aged 15 to be a champion ballroom dancer in London. She is best known for her professional dance troupe and hosting Dancing With The Stars.

1. Did you get teased for being called Candy at school?

I think I was called everything but Candy - Lolly Lane, Chiquita. The good thing about my parents calling me Candy was I didn't have to change it (for a stage name) later on. I've often joked that with a name like mine I was gonna be a dancer or a prostitute. The truth is my mother had a good friend from America who was called Candice and they called her Candy and Mum liked it.

2. How would you describe your childhood?
Very happy and active. We had a bach at Clarks Beach that my parents would take my brother and I to after they finished work on a Friday night. I loved going there. I had a palomino pony called Honey which I kept on a nearby farm and I loved her so much. When my parents went to sleep I'd bring her inside to sleep on the lounge room floor. Mum and Dad had two shoe shops: Keith Lane Shoe Salon on Queen St and Camden Shoes which was next to where Showgirls is now. I worked with my parents all the time, from as early as I can remember. When we couldn't find a size in one store, they'd say "we'll just check the storeroom" and I would run between the stores, run the lights, to see if I could find them. I learnt people skills, how to sell, to never be late, no such thing as a sick day. I have been hotwired to be a workaholic.

3. You still live next door to your Mum: have you always been close?
Yes. I love her to bits but she's definitely where I get my drive from. She's always driven me. Is she still on my case? Oh God yes. If I'm at home a little late in the morning she'll be 'aren't you working today?' And then she complains I don't see her enough - when I'm just next door. I can't win! She's very proud [of my career] but whenever I came off the dance floor, feeling really good as you do, she'd say 'I've seen you dance better'. I could never have an ego. She's brutally honest.


4. What kind of mother have you been?
I think that's a question for my kids. They are grown up now, 20 and 17. They are good people. My daughter Jaz will be a qualified midwife by the end of the year and my son Zak is doing a building apprenticeship. Neither of them were into dance. I remember once going to pick up Zac from a dance class and the teacher, who was my friend, said "what are you doing here?" He'd spent the term sitting in the foyer watching TV. That's how much he liked [dance]. They have grown up with me out at rehearsals, teaching or doing shows most nights so that's all they knew but I think they would say they would have liked me at home more. I know that's what I would have liked.

5. Did they enjoy your TV career?
They didn't ever say anything about it. They'd fly down for shows sometimes and they'd like that, and their friends might come over and mention it. I found out years later that Jaz did get a bit of bullying at school because of me which I didn't know about. There's good and bad [with a public career].

6. Did you have a chaperone when you went to London as a teenager?
God no, just my dance partner. He was about 22. We spent a couple of days with my [dance] teacher's friend then we found a flat. We were representing New Zealand and there were dance couples from all over the world living in the same area, where all the good teachers taught. Couples from Germany, Wales, Japan. I'd work jobs during the day then dance train at night. I was the party organiser. Our flat was definitely the party flat. It's amazing to think I went over there, at that age. But it seemed natural to me.

7. How much jealousy have you endured in your career?
My fair share, I guess. Recently I was talking to one of my best friends who used to compete against me and somehow this subject came up and I said 'you danced against me and you were never jealous of me' and she said 'of course I was, we all were, you won everything'. I couldn't believe it but she said I was just in a bubble and never noticed if people were mean. I think that's true, but it was a surprise. I think the tall poppy thing is still alive in New Zealand which is a shame. I love seeing people doing well and being acknowledged for it.

8. Did you have low times?
The lowest time in my life was when my first husband left me. We had met in London, just out one night, he was a jewellery buyer and I didn't really want to get married but he did. So we came back to New Zealand and did it. When he left me the first time it broke my young heart, but I know I'm not alone in that experience. I do remember saying to my girlfriend 'but I'm special. How could he do that to me?' You think you're bulletproof, as silly as that sounds now. But the one thing you learn is that you are not special. Or maybe just that everyone is special. We got back together and were married for about seven years but we were too young. He was too young, I see that now. What it taught me was I could never be hurt that badly again.

9. Is that why you and [husband] Chris took so long to get married?
Oh no, not at all. He had been married twice before and we met and had our daughter within the first year. All planned. We had our kids and I didn't feel the need to have a bit of paper to prove my commitment to our relationship. But he tricked me into it. He used to ask me all the time to get married and I'd say no, don't ask me until we're at the Eiffel Tower or something which I knew would never happen. Then of course we were in Vegas and at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant and he asked. The thing about Chris is his kindness. He's very like my father in that way.

10. How is your body holding up?
My poor body! Let's say it won't be worth much second hand. Like most dancers and sports people we have wear and tear to deal with, with back issues and joints wearing out but I will keep pushing my body as long as I can stand up. I see the osteopath each week - I'm holding out for stem cell therapy. I love the fact I'm still working and seeing all this lovely young talent, helping it grow. My professional dancers are young and gorgeous and I love being surrounded by them. I do care about how I look though I'm not manic about it. It's important, though - dancers want to learn off someone who still looks athletic.

11. Do you have a healthy daily routine?
I don't have any daily routine. I'm here in my cave, at the studio, from 8.30am to 9pm every night. I forget to eat and the girls have to remind me. I don't like breakfast - just coffee - and then when I get home Chris will have a bowl of food ready for me. Chicken and vegetables or whatever. He cooks very healthy food. But I don't cook. When he's away I eat nachos every night. I put on about 3kg every Christmas.


12. What are the best business lessons you've been given?
My dad used to tell me don't mix business and friends, trust is earned, not a given, you get out of something what you put in, don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Haha - the list goes on. I'm probably not the best business person but what I learned from my Mum and Dad has helped me make a life from my passion. Creative people usually aren't that great at the business side. I was lucky to have both.