Ricki Lake says she agreed to compete on "Dancing With The Stars" after watching actress Kirstie Alley overcome hurdles on the previous season.
Lake, a 42-year-old former talk show host and actress, is one of 12 contestants announced on Monday as the cast of the upcoming 13th season of the ABC ballroom dancing series, which is set to premiere on September 19 on ABC.
Lake had attented a taping of an episode of the previous season, which saw Alley fall during a performance and even lose a shoe during a different dance routine. The 60-year-old actress placed second, while Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and partner Kym Johnson walked away with the big prize.
"I was like, I gotta do this," Lake told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "The stories, it's so compelling. Kirstie Alley ... that was what pushed me over the edge. Seeing what happened to her physically, seeing what happened internally. You could see on her face, every week, that confidence. You want that feeling."
Both Alley and Lake have battled weight problems throughout their lives. Alley dropped several pounds while competing on "Dancing With The Stars."
"Obviously, I play to win, but I really want to have the experience and see what my body can do and giving money away in the process," Lake said, citing her charity work. "I think it's just a win-win in every day."
Among the other celebrities set to appear on the series this season - Chaz Bono, who underwent a sex change in 2009 and was born Chastity Bono, the daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono, reality star Kristin Cavallari, Los Angeles Laker Ron Artest, actor David Arquette and Chynna Phillips of the group Wilson Phillips.
Fashion expert Carson Kressley, TV host Nancy Grace, soap star J.R. Martinez, U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, Italian actress and George Clooney's ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis and "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" star Rob Kardashian make up the rest of the cast.
The professional dancers who will be paired up with the celebrities are set to be announced during the ABC show "Good Morning America" on Wednesday at 7 a.m. ET. Lake did not name hers, but said: "He's the one I wanted. I was so nervous yesterday when I met him. Let's hope I can do him justice."
Lake is best known for her syndicated talk show 'Ricki Lake,' which ran between 1998 and 2004. She is also an actress who has appeared in films like "Hairspray" in 1988 and "Cry-Baby," a 1990 musical movie starring Johnny Depp. Lake also starred in the 1994 dark comedy "Serial Mom."
Lake hosted the VH1 reality show "Charm School" in 2009 and is currently set to return to television full time in the fall of 2012 with a new daytime talk show. She recently got engaged to boyfriend Christian Evans. Lake has two sons with her first husband, Rob Sussman.
For more information on the rest of the contestants, check out a photo gallery.
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Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).