IN THE STARS: Betsey Johnson took a break from rehearsing for her debut on “Dancing With the Stars” Thursday afternoon to chat about how the role may finally fulfill her dashed dream of being a Rockette. Six days into training, the designer said that her signature runway walk-off — the cartwheel split — is also her best dance move. Preparing for her prime-time dance gig is tricky with a runway show coming up. “So I get up, go rehearse and then work on my show. That’s just what I need during fashion week,” she said. “But I am the first one to be representing the fashion industry.”

Her partner on the show, Tony Dovolani, will act as her groom when she plays a bride in her wedding-inspired runway show next week. “I want to stay around for a few weeks so I need my fans to vote,” Johnson said.

This story first appeared in the September 5, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The designer wasn’t as concerned about her physique “because basically I don’t eat very much” as her physical fitness. “I had tried Pilates and dancing in the gym and I just thought, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to be in shape. Then this comes along just when I was thinking, ‘It is not good for me not to move — I’ve got to do something.’” Johnson said.

Johnson sounded elated that ABC is letting her be and look exactly as she wants to. “When I was out in L.A., I saw all those skin-revealing, diamond, fringy, short….I mean the costume department they have is billions of dollars worth,” she said. “And it’s terrifying because it’s great costumery for 22-year-olds but I don’t even show my arms.”

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