a good time."
When William Waiirua swung his hips for the first time on Dancing with the Stars, some viewers asked who he was. But his 100,000 followers on Instagram already knew.
The charismatic Aucklander with the wacky sunglasses and quirky dance moves is a walking social media sensation!
"I love to make people laugh and feel good," enthuses William.
"It's usually me being an idiot, but I don't mind if it means someone's going to feel good. I've always been like that."
While William is a new breed of self-made Kiwi celebrity, becoming a social media influencer was not on his radar when he was growing up in the Manawatu.
He spent his teens playing rugby with the likes of ex-All Black Aaron Cruden, Welsh international Hadleigh Parkes and former Hurricane Andre Taylor at Palmerston North Boys' High School, and might have gone on to sporting glory if he hadn't discovered comedy.
"Pretty much everyone in our backline made Super Rugby except me and that was probably because I was joking around too much!" laughs William, who stopped playing footy two years ago to focus on his social influencer work.
It was when his friends Rob Thompson, a Highlanders player, and All Black Aaron Smith started sharing William's cheeky videos with their rugby mates that he began to build a serious following. Now his Instagram account gets more than three million visits a week!
"The good thing about my comedy is I never swear because I don't want my grandparents to see that," tells William, 32, who's dancing for the Attitude Trust with partner Amelia McGregor.
"My nan is one of 18 kids on my dad's side, and my nan on my mum Angela's side is one of 17, so it's a really big family," he explains.
"We didn't have much growing up, but we always had each other and a lot of love. Obviously, I was the joker of the family."
When William's father Dicey had a heart attack a few years ago, the first thing he whispered to the family upon waking was, "Don't make me laugh, Willy!"
A loving family environment was the motivator for joining Oranga Tamariki as a youth worker, a job he did for six years.
"I was working with kids who were naughty and easily influenced," he recalls.
"I'm talking the hardest children in New Zealand, including gang members between 14 and 20. I'd do all this funny stuff with them and they'd use the catchphrases. A lot of my sayings and gestures now are the things I taught them."
It's his caring nature that makes DWTS elimination nights challenging for William.
"Everyone's really nice and we've developed a tight bond, so standing up there isn't the best feeling!"
But he's always got his number-one supporter to cheer him on, his partner Taylor Sutherland, 23, a law student and snowboarder.
"She's always with me and drives me to all my trainings, bringing whatever food Amelia and I need," William beams.
"She's very understanding... She puts up with people pulling me left, right and centre whenever we go out."
The couple moved in together after a week of dating.
"We met during a promotional tour for Rhythm and Vines a year and half ago, and I had to ask her out afterwards because I thought she was so great," he says.
"I was living in Wellington, but most of my work was in Auckland, so I came up and stayed, and her mum said, 'Bring your bags. You should just move in!'"
William has another important member in his whanau – his cute pooch Shiloh.
"I'm really lucky," says William, who trains up to six hours a day for the Three show.
"I'm happy and blessed I get to do what I love every day, which is make people laugh, and then come home to a beautiful girl I'm really in love with. It all started with me making funny videos and having
a good time."
a good time."
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Now To LoveJun 25, 2019