Q&A: Cat Deeley

Orlando magazine associate editor Alexis Senior talks with the Emmy nominated host of So You Think You Can Dance, who stopped by Orlando in September to emcee The Mall at Millenia Runway To Hope fashion show.


AS Orlando Fashion Week helps local charities. What inspires you to work for charity?
CD It’s something that’s important to me. There are so many people who aren’t lucky purely in terms of geography. So I make sure that doing what I love [as host of So You Think You Can Dance] also means those people are getting clean water, enough to eat and medical attention. 
AS So becoming host of So You Think You Can Dance motivated you to be more philanthropic?
CD Absolutely. Fame is empty, it doesn’t even exist, if you don’t use it to do good. If you can take fame and do something positive with it, then it becomes worth something. Bono [lead singer of U2] taught me that. I’m now ambassador for UNICEF. They took me to poor areas in Brazil and the Philippines, and I loved meeting the people. It’s only when you go out there that you realize people aren’t really that different anywhere else. 
AS Have you taken any life lessons from So You Think You Can Dance?
CD No one becomes a dancer to be rich and famous. They become dancers because they can’t imagine their life not doing it. That’s inspiring. I’d never really appreciated dance before, but on this show, when you get the right dancer with the right choreographer, the right hair and makeup, music, and wardrobe, occasionally it does this thing where it gives you chills or it makes you cry or makes you feel elated. And that’s what any great piece of art should do. 
AS Do you style yourself on the show?
CD I do. I take fashion inspiration from everywhere. Whether it’s the color of fall leaves, a great film, French vogue, people on the street, African tribes, whatever it is, you can make it part of your style. But it’s also about practicality. I dress how I feel. 
AS What advice would you give Orlando women who want to stay on trend this fall but still have to deal with the heat?
CD Carry a pair of brilliant statement earrings and a bright lipstick in your bag. The best way to keep up with fall trends when it’s hot is probably with lipstick. A pop of lip color can change your look from summer to fall.  

Yes, She Can Dance!  

UCF student and jazz dancer Tiffany Maher has happy feet. Not only because the 19-year-old danced in two recent movies, Rock of Ages and Step Up Revolution, but also because she nearly won Fox’s reality competition, So You Think You Can Dance, in September. She beat out thousands of dancers to make it to the finals and came in second. She’s now on tour with the SYTYCD cast. 
Maher was given the star treatment while on the show. Anything she needed was immediately available, and she had her hair and makeup done every day. However, she was caught off guard by the toll it took on her body. Once, during rehearsals, a fellow contestant accidentally kicked her in the face. “Once I knew I didn’t have to dance anymore, my body realized how much pain I was in,” Maher says.
In January, she will move to Los Angeles, while still taking online courses in interdisciplinary studies at UCF. “I’m moving to L.A. because if I don’t, I will always wonder,” she says. “I want to get into singing and acting and maybe be on the Disney Channel.” One thing is certain, she says: “I know I have to have dance in my life forever.”
     —Sarah Sekula
Categories: Community