Paula Deen's career has been in something of a free-fall ever since it was revealed last month that she had admitted in a deposition to using the N-word. But Cheryl Burke thinks she knows of a way to get the beleaguered celebrity chef not just walking on solid ground again but waltzing, tango-ing -- even cha cha cha-ing.
Burke, 29, says Deen, 66, should join Dancing With the Stars' upcoming 17th season, which is set to premiere on ABC this fall. "I think it would be great," the DWTS pro (and two-time Mirrorball winner) told Entertainment Tonight Canada in a recent interview.
"I think you would probably see a different side of her, and I think she would be a great addition to the cast," Burke elaborated. "Right now, lots of controversial things are happening around her and her situation, and I think coming on something light and fun would be good for her."
Deen could indeed use something to distract from her recent troubles. After her under-oath admission about the N-word went public, the butter-loving chef was dropped by the Food Network. She also lost business deals with JCPenney, Sears, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Home Depot, and Smithfield Foods, and her publisher, Ballantine, canceled plans for her upcoming cookbook.
Earlier this month, Deen announced via her spokeswoman that she had parted ways with agent Barry Weiner, too. "She and her family thank him for the tireless effort and dedication over the many years," Elana Weiss told the Associated Press. "Paula wishes him well in all future endeavors." (The Georgia native has also reportedly dropped her entire legal team.)
As for Deen's future endeavors? The chef has not commented on recent rumors that she is being courted for DWTS, but she did tell Extra in 2010 that she didn't think it was for her. "I think they did ask me, and I said no," she said. "Fat girls don't look good sweating. I've got catfish arms. And I've got -- is that a muffin top right there?"
These days, though, Deen is sporting a trimmer figure. After announcing her type 2 diabetes diagnosis in early 2012, she changed her eating habits and dropped 40 pounds.
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This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Cheryl Burke: Paula Deen Would Be a "Great Addition" to Dancing With the Stars