As the head coach for Navarro College’s cheerleading team, Monica Aldama, 50, knows a thing or two about point deductions. For Monica, points are how you win competitions. During the Dancing With the Stars season 29 premiere, Monica shined with a beautiful foxtrot with pro Val Chmerkovskiy. Carrie Ann Inaba noted Monica’s foot did come off the ground, which resulted in Monica getting just a 6 from Carrie Ann. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Monica about how she felt she did with her first dance.
“I have very high expectations, so I’m really disappointed in myself that Carrie Ann Inaba deducted a point from my toe because I’ve been really tight, really efficient in pushing that toe to the ground,” Monica told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY after the premiere. “I didn’t think that it came off but maybe it did. I just want to get my technique right and get the highest score that I can, so I told Val that I’m going to work really hard next week to make sure everything is technically correct.”
Monica has spent 25 years coaching others, but now she’s getting coached by Val. She opened up about being on the other side of things. “It’s been a great experience because I personally did not have a coach that pushed me the way that I coach my kids,” Monica continued. “I didn’t get to experience it from an athlete side, so this is my experience. It’s literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically and mentally, but I am loving every minute of this journey so I’m just really grateful to be here.”
She admitted that it’s been tough to “retrain” her body after being in cheer mode for so long. “It’s definitely challenging, and I’m sure that I’ve tried Val’s patience quite a bit because I’m a little slow,” Monica revealed. “But it’s hard to retrain your body when you’re used to being really tight and your shoulders are up and they’re supposed to be down, so it’s just a slow process for me, but I’m just really working hard. I go home and stand in these weird positions trying to really train my body to stay in it. So hopefully the longer that I’m here, the more consistent I can be and I can meet those expectations and not disappoint him.”
As for Val, he thought Monica “did great” on night one. He knows the best is yet to come. “Listen, I mean, Val has expectations but Monica has expectations, too,” Val told HollywoodLife. “She’s meeting my expectations week one for sure. I think she has really high expectations for herself, and we are going to work really hard as a coach and her partner. She is an ambitious dancer in the making. We’re going to work hard and hopefully meet those expectations.”
Monica and Val will dance again next Monday, and Monica is determined to get the technique right so there are no more deductions. “If you do something technically well and perform, then they’re going to score you high,” Monica said. “So that tells me that, obviously, I just need to keep working hard to get the technique and to train my body to hit these positions, while at the same time selling it here on my face and not have my thinking face on. I was disappointed in myself for getting a deduction. But that won’t happen again.” Val added, “We’ll turn it around.” Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.