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Former ‘DWTS’ pro Kym Johnson-Herjavec Talks Her Second Act As a Leading Lady: “It’s Never Too Late!” (EXCLUSIVE)

Don't miss her latest film, 'Hunting Housewives', out March 9 at 8/7c on Lifetime!

You’ve seen her dazzle as a choreographer on Dancing With the Stars, but today, Kym Johnson-Herjavec is taking her talents in a different direction — on March 9 at 8/7c, the Australian multi-talent will star in Hunting Housewives on Lifetime alongside a star-studded cast consisting of Denise Richards, NeNe Leakes and Melyssa Ford.

FIRST for Women sat down with the 47-year-old dancer-turned-actress to discuss her upcoming film, breaking into the acting scene, finding balance as a working mom and staying active with a busy schedule.

Kym Johnson-Herjavec, 2020
Kym Johnson-Herjavec, 2020Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

What is Hunting Housewives about?

This Lifetime original movie stars Denise Richards as Karla Dodds, NeNe Leakes as Rebel Carron-Whitman, Kym Johnson Herjavec as Joli Symons and Melyssa Ford as Sharell Bouvier, four wealthy women who come together for a much-needed girls trip — away from their husbands, children and demanding schedules.

What they don’t realize is they’re being setup — by none other than their husbands. When their plane crashes leaving them stranded, they must use their smarts to survive the elements and surprises in store for them.

It’s not long before they realize this accident wasn’t much of an accident at all — and the women must come together to make it out alive.

“It’s a crazy premise,” says Johnson-Herjavec. “It’s the ultimate girls trip that’s gone terribly wrong, and it’s about survival, it’s about sort of finding strength you didn’t know you had.”

As we hear her character say in the trailer, “I’m a survivor – I conquer all.”

What drew Kym Johnson-Herjavec to the role

Melyssa Ford, Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Denise Richards, Hunting Housewives, 2024
Melyssa Ford, Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Denise Richards, Hunting Housewives, 2024Courtesy of Lifetime

“As soon as I read the script I was laughing out loud,” she said. “It was so funny. I loved the script, I liked my character, I thought she was great. She’s a bit of a princess, but she does have substance to her and she finds out a lot about herself on this trip,” Kym explained.

Another thing that made the film unique was the fact that she and her co-stars were face to face with the elements — bugs, dirt and all — adding to the authenticity of their performances.

Melyssa Ford, Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Denise Richards, Hunting Housewives, 2024
Melyssa Ford, Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Denise Richards, Hunting Housewives, 2024Courtesy of Lifetime

“It was summertime, up north in Canada, and we all had a great time,” she recalled of filming outside in the woods.

As for her favorite part of working on the film, the other women are part of what made it so wonderful. Kym Johnson-Herjavec recalled catching up with the women between takes or running lines in the makeup trailer. “It was really collaborative, which I loved,” she said.

A career pivot for Kym Johnson-Herjavec

Prior to her role in the film, Kym was made famous for her work as a pro on Dancing With the Stars. Getting her start in ballroom dancing at the age of 13, she went from the Australian version of the franchise to the US version, where she could be seen partnered over the years with famous faces including David Hasselhoff, Joey Fatone, David Arquette and the man who would eventually become her husband, Shark Tank‘s Robert Herjavec.

Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Ashly Delgrosso, 2007
Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Ashly Delgrosso, 2007Chad Buchanan/Getty Images

While Kym has hung up the dance shoes for now, we’re still excited to see her on our screens as she takes on her next role.

“I’ve always been very interested in acting,” she told FFW. “I trained in musical theatre, so singing, acting, dancing, but dancing really took off and then Dancing With the Stars came about, so that sort of became my focus.”

She continued, “I’ve just wanted to explore my singing, acting, and my husband and I moved to Canada about four years ago, which is where I got my first little acting gig, just a small one, dipping my toe in it, and I really enjoyed it.”

“I’ve enjoyed working with an acting coach there in Canada and I’ve been lucky enough to then get a few more opportunities, and then this one came about which was a bigger role, which I was nervous about, but they believed that I could do it,” she explained.

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Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Hunting Housewives, 2024
Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Hunting Housewives, 2024Courtesy of Lifetime

While Johnson-Herjavec shines in this Lifetime film, her pivot into acting didn’t come without a mild learning curve.

“With acting it’s so different to dancing, with dancing I’m so rehearsed. You rehearse, rehearse, rehearse until it’s completely in, which is what I did with my lines, but then, you’re told ‘don’t do that,’ because the lines will change the night before, which they did.”

“Some great advice I had was just to be really present in the moment, react to who you’re actually working with, which is what I really tried to do,” she said.

Melyssa Ford, Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Hunting Housewives, 2024
Melyssa Ford, Kym Johnson-Herjavec, Hunting Housewives, 2024Courtesy of Lifetime

Balancing her career, motherhood and staying active

Kym Johnson-Herjavec and Robert Herjavec married in 2016, and in 2018, the couple welcomed twins Haven and Hudson. As for juggling a successful career and caring for young twins, Kym shares that she and her husband make an effort to have one of them home at a time when the other is working — and one of her biggest pieces advice to other working moms is to try and let go of the mom-guilt.

Kym Johnson-Herjavec  and Robert Herjavec, 2015
Kym Johnson-Herjavec and Robert Herjavec, 2015JB Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images

“For a long time I didn’t work, I sort of was really just a stay-at-home mom, which I loved, but I’ve missed being creative, I’ve missed performing, and this is a way of performing. It’s very different to dancing and what I did before, but I get to have that creative outlet.”

She continued, “It’s a juggle, it’s a balance being a mom, but it’s the best, and being a mom is the greatest role in the whole entire world, but it is nice to go and work with adults and actually focus on career as well.”

Kym Johnson-Herjavec with her two children, Hudson and Haven
Kym Johnson-Herjavec with her two children, Hudson and HavenRebecca Hitch Photography

“You’re happier when you get out and you’ve actually done something for yourself. The juggle, it’s tough, it really is hard, but you’ve just got to make the time and not be too hard on yourself I think.”

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Staying active off the stage

For Kym Johnson-Herjavec, whose physical fitness has allowed her to enjoy such a successful career as a dancer, making time to stay active is key. And while she unfortunately suffered a partial hamstring tear during a game of pickleball with her husband, she’s continued to stay active with walking — from taking the dog for a walk or going on a stroll with her 81-year-old mother.

“I think you’ve just got to move. It’s the best thing and it makes you feel so much better when you get out there and move. I feel like if I haven’t walked or done some sort of physical exercise each day, I feel it, I feel it in my body,” she explains.

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Kym’s advice for other women: “It’s never too late”

In this transitional time in Kym’s life, she emphasizes the importance for all women to avoid putting yourself in a box and trusting the timing of your life’s events.

Kym Johnson-Herjavec
Kym Johnson-HerjavecRebecca Hitch Photography

“It’s never too late,” she urges. “Changing a career later in my life, I had children later in my life. Another one I think is to trust the timing of your life. I ended up meeting my husband later in life, and now I’m changing my career, which is kind of crazy to do at the age I am. But, I’m doing it and I love it and it’s great having this new chapter. It’s never too late.”

Don’t miss Kym in the premiere of Hunting Housewives, out March 9 at 8/7c on Lifetime!

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