Karen Hauer: ‘I had to sort myself out and make changes’

Along with millions of Strictly fans, Karen Hauer – the longest serving female professional dancer on the show – is eager to hear whether the series will return in 2020.

It’s not in this determined woman’s character though to just to sit around waiting. Instead, she’s “staying busy, active and positive and taking it day by day”. This includes promoting her online Hauer Power fitness programme, sharing home workouts, and recently joining fellow Strictly star, Oti Mabuse, to set up the Home Festival online community.

“Now I feel grounded and comfortable with who I am – I don’t want to fit the mould – and I realise beauty isn’t about being perfect.”

Her relationship with Webb, who she started dating in 2018, has been a blessing too. “There was an instant connection when we met. He’s a creative artist and loves fitness, so we share that. He always makes me laugh which is so sexy,” Hauer says, smiling.

“He understands me on a different level. He sees me for who I am and doesn’t judge me. I can be wild, but at the same time I’m also calm, collected, quite shy at times but also very driven. There are so many different levels but he doesn’t get afraid of them.”

I can be quite shy at times but also very driven

That drive and determination was forged during her childhood.

“My mom, Miriam, became a single parent not long after we arrived [in New York] and bringing up me and my brother and sister on her own was very tough. She often worked three jobs to keep us fed and clothed,” she says proudly.

After working as a personal fitness trainer and winning global dance competitions, Hauer came to England in 2012 to audition for Strictly.

“It was scary coming to England to start a career here, but my mom is such an inspiration to me,” she says. “She has such a strong backbone and never gives up and instilled that in me. As a child, I was obsessed by dancing, I won scholarships and think it was an outlet for my emotions and an escape into another world.”

Her fitness plan, Hauer Power, is symbolic of her new determination to fulfil her own goals.

“I’ve longed to do this blend of dance, body resistance training and Pilates and yoga for years. I have so much energy nowadays, which has refuelled my ambition and allowed me to fulfil my dream to show people how you can get fit, toned and strong, without joining a gym or leaving the house” she says.

Hauer’s vigilant now about safeguarding her wellbeing.

“I’m much more into self-care these days. I meditate, do stretching sessions when I’m not training, and love relaxing with David and the dogs at home. It’s my safe space, where I can be who I really am.”

Her plans for the future are focused on resuming her career post-lockdown – her tour with Gorka Marquez in Latin dance show, FireDance, was cut short earlier in the year – and maintaining her personal happiness.

“David and I have talked about marriage and about having children, but we talk more about adopting more dogs,” she says, laughing. “I’m just quite enjoying being this new person I’ve discovered. If it happens that we have a child, I’d love that, but for the moment I’m happy as things are.

“I want to stay true to myself and I recognise all this ‘celebrity’ stuff is a kind of fantasy,” she reflects. “I’m just going to carry on working hard, being professional and continue with what I’m passionate about.

“My priorities are straight now,” says Hauer. “Now, I take proper time off and I make sure that my work, which I love, and my personal life are separate.

“When the lights of the stage go out, I know I will still have my family, my lover and my health. Knowing that gives me the all the strength I need to continue and face whatever life throws at me.”

Karen Hauer’s fitness plans, Hauer Power Plan 1 and Plan 2, can be done from the comfort of your own home. Both are available for around £16 each at get.karenhauer.fit