Strictly Come Dancing's Karen Hauer shares her inspiring life lessons

Karen Hauer
(Image credit: Getty)

Karen Hauer is set to make her ninth year as a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing and she shares her wisdom.

1. It takes trauma to change

I’ve gone through a lot of stuff throughout my life – it took heartbreak [she split from husband Kevin Clifton in 2018] and being on my own in a country by myself, everything was down in the pits and it took me feeling like I had nothing to just think actually, I do have something. I have me, I have people around me who do love me, I just couldn’t see it before. I’ve let go of anger, heartbreak and whatever else I was holding on to that wouldn’t let me progress forward. It’s so liberating when you look someone in the eye and go ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘no hard feelings, it’s all in the past because it’s happened already’. Not every day is going to be positive but you make the decision on how long you want to stay negative for.

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2. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack

We need to rest our bodies or minds. I began to focus more on my well being inside out. My Hauer Power programme started from just me putting up little videos on YouTube because it made me feel good about myself, a little stretch for two to three minutes a day it would benefit other people out there. Setting small goals and not putting so much pressure on yourself – if you don’t feel like working out today or you ate two cupcakes, it’s ok. Sometimes we are so tough on ourselves. I was very tough on myself before and sometimes we just need to give ourselves a bit of slack. That’s been the mantra for me from when I was growing up.

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3. Strictly taught me how to be patient

I now have a lot of patience in terms of how to work with people and how to communicate. I dance but it’s a different thing to be able to communicate with someone and what they’re dealing with – if they have issues outside their job, if that’s going to affect them and how much I’m going to push them or not, or if they’ve had enough for the day. It’s taught me how to read people, be a better human and be kinder to people when they can’t get something. Being on Strictly and teaching someone how to dance has helped me evolve as a person. One of the hardest things for me was learning to trust people and bond because I never had that as a kid. Strictly really helped me as an adult – it was a whole big therapy session without me even knowing it.

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4. Pets are therapeutic

I grew up in Venezuela, my mum had four Dobermans and she loved animals and still does. I loved having them and feeling the protection of them but as soon as we moved to New York when I was eight, we had to leave our dogs behind so it really broke my mum’s heart. My parents wanted to start a new life because they ere going through marital troubles. In New York, we weren’t allowed to have any pets because every place we lived was too small and I didn’t really have a structure yet, so four years ago when I finally got my dog Betty, my life was a mess at the time and I remember I needed to find something that I felt like it was home. I saw this little animal online and she looked at me with the same desperation I needed, it was a no brainer to adopt her. I was trying to rescue myself – I needed somebody to rescue me but I rescued Betsy and she’s completely changed my world.

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5. Love and my health are more important than wealth

We never really had a lot of money growing up, but my mum always saved money no matter what. My father abandoned us a year after we got to New York so it was just my mum taking care of three kids in a foreign country so I remember her putting the money in a sock and putting it under the bed and as cliché as that sounds [crying], she made sure we had everything we needed, the necessities. Now I’m older I find it very important to save, yes back in the day I’d splurge a bit more, but those boots or have those red soles, I’ve worked really hard but now I’ve got rid of a lot of things. I have what I need – the love of the people around me. My circle of friends I trust and I have my partner David [Webb], my dogs and my family in New York.

For more information on Karen Hauer's fitness programme visit

Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 15 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She has covered all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand.