Gay London Life chats to former US competitive skater and The Vivienne’s partner on the most recent series of Dancing on Ice, Colin Grafton
Hey Colin, congratulations on getting to the final of Dancing on Ice. How did you find the experience?
Thank you so much! The experience was a whirlwind of excitement, blood, sweat, tears, and pure joy. Honestly, it was truly fantastic and I was quite sad when it all came to an end.
How did Dancing on Ice compare to competing for Team USA?
There are many bits of the show that are similar, in particular the competitive aspect and the nerves of it all. In fact, once the competition was in full swing, Ihad the same surges of adrenaline that I haven’t felt since competing for Team USA. However, nothing compares to the glitz, glamour and magic of being part of a TV show, skating in front of the legends that are Torvil and Dean, and of course the millions of viewers at home.
How did The Vivienne take to ice skating?
The Viv! Where to begin? Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner, especially for my first series. She was a natural on the ice, but she was such an incredibly hard worker, as well as a fantastic student. She not only listened to every piece of info from myself and other coaches, but she also went the extra mile and practiced everything on the floor at home at night, watched skating videos to learn more, and I even had her doing ‘8 min ab’ routines at home daily. The amount of texts we had back and forth daily and nightly about new lift ideas and costumes were hilarious and insane! We truly were eating, breathing and sleeping skating. I know I can be a bit of a tyrant sometimes, but she handled everything spectacularly and now, she truly is a wonderful skater.
Have you ever skated with drag queens before?
I had never skated with a Drag Queen before. Viv was my first, and I certainly consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity.
Why do you think it was important for a drag queen to compete on Dancing on Ice?
As Viv frequently says, representation matters. In a time when individuals who are part of minorities or have different interests than others are being constantly repressed and shamed just for being who they are and doing what they love, this opportunity was more important than ever. I think Viv was able to achieve greatness on the show, and in doing so, showing to the world that drag artists are no different than anyone doing what they love and entertaining along the way. It was an honour to skate alongside Viv and have the Dancing On Ice viewers witness her talent. We were able to inspire others with our performances and that alone was the greatest accomplishment for me.
You’ve recently relocated to the UK. How are you finding life on this side of the pond?
I’m loving it! If I’m honest, I’ve always loved the UK. I find the people to be so friendly and I appreciate British culture – I’m working on my banter! The weather could be slightly better, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it and it’s nothing a quick holiday to Spain won’t fix.
What plans do you have for the rest of the year, both on and off the ice?
BIG PLANS! Haha no, in reality, I really enjoy a challenge. There’s something so exhilarating about throwing yourself into something that you know is going to push you and your boundaries. Perhaps something you’re not entirely comfortable doing, but then, in the end, the reward is the best feeling. Of course, I’m still skating and taking part in various shows around the world – skating will always be my first and true love. With that being said, Dancing On Ice has opened doors for me and has given me the opportunity to try new things. I’m excited to be dipping my toes in the world of acting and entertainment, as well as doing some modeling jobs. It may sound cliche, but I firmly believe in never letting anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. The sky’s the limit and if you believe in yourself, you can achieve it.
After being the first dancer to skate with a drag queen on Dancing on Ice, is there anything else you’d like to be the first person to do?
This is a great question. Being the first to do something is always exciting and rewarding, but I really haven’t given this one too much thought. I’m fully open to suggestions!
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