With the romantic date of Feb. 14 looming, I’m on the prowl. So I felt like a princess when reigning Dancing with the Stars champ Helio Castroneves asked me to attend an intimate dinner with him at Butter, a trendy celeb-infused restaurant in downtown Manhattan. Okay, so it was to celebrate his gig as spokesperson for Leblon Cachaca, a Brazilian rum, and there were other people in attendance. No matter. I still got the exclusive scoop on his triumphant return to the dance floor with his partner Julianne Hough.

 

“I’ve been off two or three months, and when you get back into it like that, it’s really cool,” said Helio of the DWTS tour. The professional race car driver loved the welcome he received from fans in Indianapolis. “We only had about 200 or 300 people watching in the studio. In the arena, it was like 10,000 screaming. I felt like a rock star!”

 

During the show, Helio turns out his unforgettable cha-cha outfit. “When I show up in that outfit, people go crazy. I actually kept that one. I said there is no way this is going back to Dancing with the Stars, this is mine,” he laughs. Helio’s also got love for his DWTS mirror ball trophy. “It’s right between my two Indianapolis trophies. When I get out of my house and I look at that trophy, I know I put my heart, my mind, my soul, in something, I can make it happen. For me it’s a good lesson.”

 

Helio and I do share one thing in common – we’re both on the search for the perfect Valentine. What type of woman is he looking for? “She needs to be self-confident, independent, charismatic and happy. Don’t come with bad humor, that won’t work,” Helio says. “Physically, I love legs, so there has to be long legs. Blonde or brunette, to me it doesn’t matter, the whole package makes it work.”

 

Better get to work on those lunges!

 

 

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