Whether she's talking about her recent stint on Dancing with the Stars, her thoughts on turning 40, or the time she dated NZ's 'first man' Clarke Gayford, Kiwi actress and dance star Shavaughn Ruakere has the sort of engaging energy that makes you want to pull up a chair and join in the banter.
Her fancy footwork earned her a place in the Dancing with the Stars grand final, but now that she's finished with the gruelling four-hour training sessions each day to learn the steps, her usual health and fitness routine is a bit more relaxed.
"Sometimes I'm good, sometimes I'm not," she says. "I didn't get my driver's licence until I was 35, so I've always been a walker; walking is like therapy for me." She's more interested in lifting weights than yoga, and food fads aren't her style.
"Diet-wise, I'm a big eater, I come from a family where food is love. I have friends who say things like, 'Oh, I forgot to have dinner last night', and I'm thinking, 'What do you mean?' That's foreign to me! I have a major sweet tooth and bakery goods are my favourite – pastries, cake, muffins. That's what I want to eat all the time!"
It's the same relaxed, down-to-earth approach that she took to a milestone birthday she had earlier this year. While some try to forget about the passing decades, Shavaughn, who recently turned 40, is embracing a new phase.
"When I was younger I was all like, 'I just want to be skinny'. Now I just want to be well, and really look after this vessel I've been gifted," she says.
"It honestly feels like, 'I get to be 40 and some people don't'. I'm healthy, life is good. Getting older is something you have zero control over, so why let it be a negative thing?"
The Taranaki-born actress, who flew back from Los Angeles to take up the role on Dancing with the Stars, plans to return to the States at the end of the year.
"LA's such a nutty place, but what I love about it is it's a very positive place," she muses.
"I haven't missed the tall poppy syndrome you get here; it doesn't exist in LA at all. But whenever I'm there, I do miss the Kiwi humour."
*To hear Shavaughn's thoughts on her future plans, her famous ex, and the emotional charge that drove her through Dancing with the Stars, see the August issue of Good Health.