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Jennie Garth: Primping for 'Dancing with the Stars' Was 'Misery!'

05/16/2011 at 10:30 AM ET

Jennie Garth Dove Close-Up Challenge
Courtesy Dove

The sexy little outfits, big ballroom moves and celeb-studded crowds may seem glamorous, but Jennie Garth says life on Dancing with the Stars isn’t always as it appears. “[It was] misery,” she told PEOPLE recently on the set of the Dove Close-Up Challenge commercial shoot. “I was exhausted with the upkeep of me during that time. The skin and the makeup and the hair and the costumes. There was just so much you had to think about other than the dance.” Though the prep time was tough, Garth — who appeared on season five in 2007 — does admit loving the payoff. “I could eat whatever I wanted and just dance it off,” she shared. “I was in really great shape for about five minutes, and then once you stop dancing eight hours a day, it goes away.” To stay healthy now, Garth keeps a mostly gluten-free, vegetarian diet — though she does sneak a cupcake now and then. “I just keep my food as healthy as possible,” she said. Garth starts her day with 10 minutes of meditation — “I like to have the window open,” she said — and finds time to go for a walk or jog. “I go for walks with my hand weights,” she said. “I’m punching, doing my little arm-weight lifting and people just think, ‘That lady’s weird!’”

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Garth was decidedly un-weird while working with the Close-Up Challenge winner, Kristy Herman (pictured), who shows off her skin (and dance moves) on Monday, May 23 in a TV spot during the Dancing with the Stars finale. Herman, from Jersey City, N.J., traveled to Los Angeles and trained with professional dancer Damian Whitewood, learning the Cha-cha-cha for her Dove commercial. Garth served as a ‘confidence coach,’ helping Herman prepare for the spotlight. “She’s got a lot of great energy,” Garth gushed of Herman. “She’s so excited, and I can’t wait to see her dance. She’s really nice — it’s been fun working with her.” To see the Close-Up Challenge winner bare her skin, tune in to the Dancing with the Stars finale! Reporting by Patrick Gomez

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