Dancing With The Stars 2019: Cassandra Thorburn's Empowering Journey Comes To An End
From her close bond with dance partner Marco to the lessons even the harshest criticisms gave her, we caught up with the third celeb to sashay off the dance floor.
Speaking to 10 daily, Cass said she was exhausted by the extensive dance schedule. "it's been seven days for three weeks straight without any days off!" she said, adding: "you just want to crash."
Despite finally getting a chance to kick her feet up and rest a little, Cass beamed about her time on the series.
"It was great, really great, but the dancing was so much harder than I imagined," she said.
Describing it as "intense", she continued. "I mean, you're not a dancer so even the lifts I felt were... confronting. You're going from woe to go," the journalist, author and mum-of-three laughed.
Despite falling to the lower rung of the scoreboard several weeks in a row, Cass never let it get to her.
"I wasn't too surprised I wasn't a very good dancer!" she joked, but admitted sometimes the harsh criticisms from the judges could be a bit of a shock to the system.
"We worked so hard, tried so hard and then you go through the nervousness on the night of performing thinking 'oh sh*t, what's Craig going to say this time?'," she said. "You're trying to be positive but it's at the back of your mind."
In the first week, Craig wrote off Cass and dance partner Marco de Angelis' performance as a "disaster".
"She didn't get offended because they were talking about dancing," Marco told 10 daily. "They were not criticising Cass as a person or her behaviour, they were talking about the dance."
Meanwhile, working so close to Marco, Cass put more and more pressure on herself and became her own biggest critic.
"You spend all this time with someone and you've got a relationship with them," she said, "not being able to perform or do something well impacts on them. It sounds selfish but I didn't factor that in!"
"That's why I started to be harder on myself, because you're letting someone else down and I don't like letting people down."
Although disappointed to not make it further in the competition, Cass said the connections she made throughout the experience was what it was all about for her. "It's such a great cast, you want to stay [in the competition] because it's so much fun, you're putting pressure on yourself because you want to stay -- I knew Marco wanted to stay!"
Calling the decision to join Dancing with the Stars "empowering", Cass reflected on the experience and admitted that -- when it came to the performances -- being able to just experience the moments with Marco was what it was all about.
"I was really nervous for the first one, like 'holy sh*t, what have I done?' But to get over those nerves, I found that huge," she said. "I think that's why we enjoyed it so much," Cass said to Marco, "to focus on each other was really, really nice."
Throughout the whole journey, Cass was competing for a good cause very close to her heart.
"I chose Palliative Care Australia because my dad passed away in October last year," she said. "He had been in hospital for a very long time and he wanted to pass away at home."
"He was from a country town, and you can't do that if palliative care doesn't exist in country regional centres," Cass explained, adding that the charity provides "support for families as well."
Before her dad passed away, one of the final conversations she had with him was about having no regrets, and it sounds like Cass leaves the Dancing stage with absolutely none, telling us she'd absolutely recommended the experience to anyone.
"The connections you make with people, the things you learn about yourself... even dance! I could show someone, not do it myself," she said, laughing, "I could show someone else maybe."