EXCLUSIVE: Rashad Jennings Says He’s Excited ‘DWTS’ Fans Are Getting to Know ‘the Man Behind the Helmet’
Week after week, Rashad Jennings is surprising himself on Dancing With the Stars.
ET caught up with the NFL star and his pro partner, Emma Slater, at one of their rehearsals for the dance competition show in Hollywood, California, on Thursday, where he opened up about his expectations for #TeamShadSquad, his incredible journey thus far and the new fans who’ve been swooning over him ever since he stepped foot in the ballroom.
“I just came in excited for the show, excited for the journey, excited to learn how to dance,” the 32-year-old free agent, who picks up a new hobby each off-season, admitted to ET’s Denny Directo. “I have never ballroom danced before. Every single Tuesday [when we learn a new dance] is like banging my head on the wall. I don’t know what I am doing, and just, like, throwing myself at the work, so that is where I am at. Every once in a while I will look at the video and be like, ‘Hey, that’s nice. Wait a second, that’s me.’ It is fun learning every single week.”
But don’t let his modesty fool you — the Forest, Virginia, native was a frontrunner right out of the gate, and has consistently stayed near the top of the leaderboard ever since. Jennings and Slater received their best score (39/40) during week four of the competition, for the emotional contemporary routine they performed to a cover of Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally.” The routine was dedicated to his father, Albert Jennings, who lost both of his legs due to diabetic complications.
“I couldn’t believe I was chosen to do the show, it still tickles me now,” Jennings gushed. “Even when we are behind the scenes doing everything, I am still looking around like, I am on Dancing With the Stars, what am I doing here?'”
And the fans are definitely taking notice! Not only is Jennings as attractive as they come, but have you seen this man’s abs?!
Even Slater, who’s engaged to fellow pro dancer Sasha Farber, couldn’t help herself from talking about her partner’s undeniably good looks. “Um, well yeah, I’ve got eyes,” she joked, when asked if she realized how sexy her season 24 star is. “I’m not blind. So yeah, yeah, I did.”
Jennings, who’s currently single, played coy when ET asked him to give us a peek at his impeccable midsection, but didn’t deny the fact that his charm has given him an all-new fan base.
“It’s been welcoming, I would say that much,” he shared. “It’s cool because, like, in a helmet, you don’t get to show what your personality is much, right? And this is cool to let people know the other side, the man behind the helmet.”
Slater revealed she hasn’t tried to set her partner up with anyone just yet, and that’s because she doesn’t think many people “are good enough for him.”
“It will be a careful screening process,” she joked, also telling ET that Jennings has received “plenty” of direct messages on social media since his DWTS debut. “She’s gotta be top-notch.”
Next Monday is “A Night at the Movies” on DWTS, and the two are taking on the horror genre, dancing a Paso Doblé to “O Fortuna” by Carl Orff.
“It is a horror film and we are taking all of y’all to the movies,” Jennings teased. “It is going to be a thriller, you are going to be scared, we have to bring that to the dance floor and doing that inside of a dance, I think, is an art we are trying to put out on the floor.”
“The artwork is that he created the entire backstory for this dance,” added Slater. “After we found out the creative for this week … we were like, ‘Well, let’s not just make the dance a bit scary, let’s have a story, lets portray characters.’ So, he went home and literally created three pages of, not scripts, but, like, a backstory. So we have an entire themed storyline, characters, names, dates, everything. He wrote the whole thing!”
When Slater joked her partner “for sure” has a future in acting, Jennings was all for it.
“I would like to jump in it, let’s see what the future holds,” he exclaimed, adding he wouldn’t mind staying in Los Angeles to play football if the Rams or Chargers select him to play for one of their teams. “I’m enjoying myself out here. Definitely, whatever, my job is to prove one GM right, one organization right, and I look forward to doing that this year.”