(Image: FIRST / Tina Tiller)
(Image: FIRST / Tina Tiller)

TelevisionMay 11, 2022

Why Eli Matthewson quit dancing lessons

(Image: FIRST / Tina Tiller)
(Image: FIRST / Tina Tiller)

The comedian tells FIRST what it was like being part of Dancing With the Stars NZ’s first same-sex couple, why he had a bowl cut for so long as a child, the first porn he ever encountered and more.

First haircut

“My mum – because I was the only boy in my family – she just didn’t know what to do with my hair. For years she just thought a bowl cut was the only haircut. I was 11, I think, when I got my first non-bowl haircut. I just had the bowl for so long.”

First job

“I did a paper run for the Christchurch Star. Firstly there were some terrifying dogs on my paper run – I would skip a whole street because the dogs were so scary. And then there was also a tree where there was a magpie that would swoop me. So I used to bring a tennis racket, and I would put it inside my backpack. I don’t think I ever hit the magpie. I think it was mainly just to be like ‘Get out of here!’ A 12-year-old with a tennis racket, I don’t think even a bird is that scared of me.”

First dance lessons

“I did ballet from age four till six. An iconic run. The main thing I remember from our ballet classes was we would do a kind of witches’ cauldron thing, where you would be plucking things out and then putting things back in your cauldron. The reason I left really is because we did Elves and the Shoemaker, and they made me play a marching boy. All the girls got to show off their witches’ arms, and I just had to march. I was like, ‘I’m done. I didn’t get into ballet to march’.”

First reaction to being on Dancing with the Stars

“I was just so stoked. When I first got the call I was living with Laura Daniel, so I just came home and said, ‘I’m going to do that thing that you did’. I was very excited to be the first same-sex couple, and I just was like, ‘How lucky am I to get to do dancing for hours and hours a day?’ It’s not like when you do – I don’t know – arts and crafts one hour a week, or learn a language one hour a week. I did it full time for … not long enough, but quite long.”

First encounter with porn

“We were at a family friend’s house for a holiday in Akaroa and there was this stack of magazines under the TV. I was just looking through all the magazines, seeing what they were, and there was one called Gike. G-I-K-E, which was Girls on Bikes. I looked through it, and it was just naked girls on bikes, a full magazine. Gike – isn’t that the most disgusting word you’ve ever heard in your life?”

Interview edited for length and clarity.


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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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