Alumna joins cast of DWTS

Lizzy Thomas

Former teen sitcom star and author of a series of New York Times bestselling math books Danica McKellar ’93 is competing against opponents that include two gold medal Olympians, one Real Housewife and Drew Carey on “Dancing with the Stars.”

As a cast member, McKellar joins the likes of, among others, freshly minted Sochi gold medalists ice dancing pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White and fellow 1990s sitcom star Candice Cameron Bure, of “Full House” fame.

In the years since she divided her time between playing Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years” and attending Westlake and Harvard-Westlake, McKellar wrote and had published a series of math books aimed at middle school girls. “Math Doesn’t Suck,” “Kiss my Math,” “Hot X: Algebra Exposed” and “Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape” have been widely celebrated for their helpfulness and the positive portrayal of math they communicate to young girls. McKellar partners with “Dancing” veteran Valentin Chmerkovskiy for the first half of the season. Joining the show in its 18th season, McKellar enters to a number of changes. For the first time ever, contestants who escape elimination to that point will have to switch partners for the season’s second half.

McKellar and Chmerkovskiy practiced for two weeks leading up to Monday’s season premiere. In spite of being an avid practitioner of yoga—she has an instructional DVD titled “Daily Dose of Dharma with Danica McKellar”—McKellar has found the rehearsals to be difficult.

“And after all this rehearsing, I am so sore! I actually took an ice bath yesterday, which really helped (not sure I recommend it unless necessary because, um, BRRR!),” McKellar wrote on her blog last week.

As survival on the show depends equally on scores from the three judges and fan votes, McKellar hopes to draw support from all the factions of her fanbase.

“I hope they’ll be there for me,” McKellar said on “Good Morning America.” “I’ve been a fan of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ since the very beginning. I’m just thrilled and I hope to do a good job.”