By Jimmy Traina
April 12, 2010 spoke with Dancing with the Stars contestant and ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews last Thursday. Andrews' response to being ripped by a Toronto Star columnist and her comments about a rumored romance with dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy appeared inThursday's P.M. Hot Clicks. Here is the rest of the interview. How are you doing in light of the recent death threats against you?

Andrews: The past week was a really hard week. I'm not going to lie and say that it didn't bring everything back that I had to deal with last summer. Granted, this was to a different level, but it brought back a lot of different emotions that I was trying to get past. But it just puts me back in the spotlight and makes me an example of how stalking is for real and it needs to be taken seriously, and I think it forces me even more to say to myself, "OK, how am I going to use this platform, how can I show women they have to be smart about their safety and protection?" But it's been a difficult week. Has being on the show helped distract you from this horrible news?

Andrews: Yeah, to be honest, I think before the news of the second guy came out, I was really starting to say, "Wow, things are going good. It's nice not to talk about everything that happened last summer all the time." But then when this happened, I thought, Thank goodness I'm here and around all these people, because I don't have time to sit and cry about it. I have to be in the dance studio, in front of a camera. I have to get my routine done and ready to go. It's good for me to be busy and it's good for me to be around a group of people who are used to being in the public eye because they know how you're feeling, which is nice. Your contract with ESPN is up soon. What's the latest with that?

Andrews: My agent is handling all that. We're in talks, trying to figure some stuff out. I miss sports a lot right now. I feel like I don't know what's going on and it kills me. And [ESPN colleagues] Chris Fowler, Craig James and Jesse Palmer are going to be in the audience this Monday, and I'm so excited to see them and get some sports in my life. So there are no plans to do something other than ESPN?

Andrews: Oh, God, no. I'm not even thinking about that right now. Before I know it, it's going to be time for college football. There is, in the back of my mind, something I'd like to do with female safety and crimes against women, so maybe that's something I can do in addition to ESPN. But you know me, I'm obsessed with sports. I miss it a lot right now. I feel like I was cheated out of March Madness because I didn't get to see any of it. I was walking up and down the press line last Monday asking, "Does anyone have a Duke score?" Nobody knew what I was talking about. This is such a different world for me. How has being in sports affected you on DWTS?

Andrews: There's a lot from sports that's has rubbed off on me. I really wanted Maks as a partner because he reminded me of Urban Meyer and Nick Saban -- your no-nonsense kind of coach. I wanted someone who wasn't going take any of my bull. I hurt my back this week. It really, really hurt, but I wasn't going to tell the doctors about it because I love athletes who tough it out. So, I didn't want to go to the doctor, but Maks called production and said, "I need to get her a doctor because I need her back to be OK." And I was like, "No, no, just tell me I'm good to go." And I still think of this as a game. I always ask, "When are we getting to the stadium?" And people here are like, "Do you mean the studio?" Tell us about the other cast members.

Andrews: Evan Lysacek is my best friend. I'm obsessed with Pam Anderson. Despite what the preconceived notions are of her, she's taking this very seriously and she's so sweet. She wrote me a fabulous e-mail the other night after the latest news came out, saying she felt so bad for me, and she's sent all the females flowers. I adore Niecy Nash. She's so much fun. She brings me food and drinks to the dance studio.

SI: Chad Ochocinco is on Twitter 24/7. Do you ever see him without his phone?

Andrews: No, no. He's crazy. But I've really come to like Chad a lot. The night he got really low scores, he was really upset. He was gritting his teeth like he was going to cry. He doesn't want to lose. My readers are not exactly the biggest Dancing with the Stars watchers. Can you explain how the scoring works? Because people who get good scores seem to get cut and people who aren't that good seem to stick around.

Andrews: The judges' vote plays a big part, but what we came to see quickly was that the fan votes means so much, which is what Maks has tried to tell me since Day One. He said, "You may be the best dancer on the show but not win it." Fan base is huge. And it's scary for me because people watching the show are predominately women and my demographic tends to be the male sports fan, so finding a way to get them to vote for me has been a challenge. But I'm lucky because every female loves Maks, so that helps me. But please, Hot Clicks Nation, vote for me. [Call] 1-800-868-3403. What's the typical day for you like with the show?

Andrews: Usually, you do press starting at 5:30-6:30 in the morning and that goes for three or four hours. Then I record an interview for DWTS. Then I have an hour before I have to be at the studio and then I'm at the dance studio for six or seven hours. You were in good shape before doing the show, but do you feel like you're in even better shape now?

Andrews: It's a different kind of being in shape. There's really no time to eat because you're dancing so much. You also don't want to eat a big meal because you have to dance. So you have to force yourself to eat. And I'm trying to eat a lot because I know I'm burning it off. I feel like I'm a lot slimmer. I feel like I lost the weightlifting kind of muscle because I'm not doing any of that stuff. Before, when I was on the road with college football and college basketball, I would P90X and everything like that with the guys. But I'm not lifting any weights. I'm just longer and leaner. P90X?

Andrews: [Laughing] You know what I mean. Oh, yeah, totally. On that note, I'll give you one last chance to get some votes.

Andrews: Oh, gosh, please, I need my fans more than ever now. Don't for a minute think it's the wussy thing to do. Just watch us. Baseball will be on for the next seven months. We're going to be on for only a few more weeks. So just watch us. Or if you're not going to watch, just vote for me, anyway. 1-800-868-3403 [Laughs]. Yeah, you're better off just begging for votes than begging the sports crowd to watch the whole show.

Andrews: What's funny about this whole thing is I feel stupid pleading my case because I feel like I'm running for student government president. I feel dumb asking people to vote for me. It's really cheesy. But I just want to stay to the end. I really do.

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