Paula Deen prepares for 'Dancing With the Stars': 'I want to dance to the moon'

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Paula Deen Won't Let 'Obstacles' Get Her Down, Prepares for 'DWTS'

Paula Deen is getting ready to for her Dancing With the Stars debut, and the former Food Network star isn't about to let being the oldest woman in the cast hold her back.

"I just want to bring hope, especially to older women in the middle part of their life," Deen told ET on Friday. "You can have a lot of obstacles come your way that are unexpected. I just want to help women realize that they can overcome."

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The reality show marks Deen's first-time back as a TV regular since the Food Network failed to renew her contract in 2013.

Deen is motivated to send a positive message to fans in her time on the show. "I have gotten so many thousands upon thousands of well-wishers contacting me," she said. "It's so important that I not let them down. I want to dance to the moon and make them proud and just bring hope."

See Paula Deen through the years:

Paula Deen through the years
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Paula Deen prepares for 'Dancing With the Stars': 'I want to dance to the moon'
FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2015 file photo, TV personality Paula Deen attends the EVINE Live launch event in New York. Companies take a risk when tying their names to real-life people they have little control over. The celebrity cook known for her rich Southern dishes came under fire after she acknowledged using racial slurs in the past during a deposition. After the remarks came to light, the Food Network pulled her show off the air and said it wouldn’t renew her contract. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Celebrity cook Paula Deen is targeted Monday Dec. 10, 2007 for a protest in front of her restaurant, The Lady & Sons, in Savannah, Ga. by United Food and Commercial Workers union because of her endorsement deal with Smithfield Foods Inc.. Union organizers want Deen to meet with disgruntled workers at the Tar Heel plant and take their concerns over low pay and poor working conditions to Smithfield executives. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)
Paula Deen, center, and her sons Jamie, right, and Bobby, rear, tape her show Thursday July 27, 2006, in Savannah, Ga. Cable TV's queen of Southern-fried comfort food is still coming to grips with the Paula-mania that's seized Savannah since her Food Network show took off in 2002. Her restaurant served 400,000 people last year _ nearly 1,100 a day. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)
Paula Deen speaks at the Women's Conference 2009 Night at the Village at The Long Beach Convention Center on Monday Oct. 26, 2009, in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Katy Winn)
Celebrity Chef Paula Deen, left, jokes with Chef Robert Irvine Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010 at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival on the beach in Miami Beach, Fla.. (AP Photo)
Television personality Paula Deen poses for a portrait in New York, Wednesday, April 7, 2010. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Paula Deen poses in the press room at the 2010 CMT Music Awards, in Nashville, Tenn. on Wednesday, June 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Paula Deen, of the Food Network, winds up to deliver the ceremonial first pitch before a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets, Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Celebrity chef Paula Deen poses for a portrait Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 in New York. Dean recently announced that she has diabetes. (AP Photo/Carlo Allegri)
FILE- This Friday, Feb. 22, 2008 file photo shows celebrity chef Paula Deen as she waits to make an appearance on the Today Show in Miami Beach, Fla. Deen recently announced that she has Type 2 diabetes. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter, file)
FILE - In this Dec. 30, 2010 file photo, Paula Deen speaks in Pasadena, Calif. Sears Holdings Corp. announced Friday, June 28, 2013, that it is cutting ties with Southern celebrity chef Deen, adding to the list of companies severing their relationship following revelations that Deen used racial slurs in the past. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
FILE- In this Oct. 25, 2010 file photo, celebrity chef Paula Dean speaks onstage at Night at the Village during the Women's Conference in Long Beach, Calif. The famous cook and restaurateur from Savannah watched part of her empire crumble after damning testimony in a civil lawsuit accusing her of racial discrimination in the workplace. The suit never reached trial, but Deen’s admission that she previously used racial slurs and shared racially charged jokes damaged her brand and cost her business deals with Food Network, Wal-Mart and Target. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Paula Deen at NBC's Today Show in New York City on September 23, 2014. Credit: RW/MediaPunch/IPX
Paula Deen attends the EVINE Live launch event at The Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
September 02, 2015:Alex Skarlatos, Paula Deen, Kim Zolciak-Biermann at Good Morning America for new season of Dancing with the Stars in New York City.Credit:RW/MediaPunch/IPX

A big part of preparing for DWTS is the grueling training regimen, which may prove difficult for a chef who notoriously loves baking – especially with butter. Deen opened up to ET about the sacrifices she was willing to make for the show. "I will never cut out butter totally," she confessed. "Never, ever, ever. Moderation, you know? Moderation is the big word in my life right now."

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"Especially when it comes to practicing," the 68-year-old added, teasing pro partner Louis van Amstel.

Jokes aside, Deen marveled over her inspirational dancing partner. "I feed people's bellies, and he has fed me with movements and words -- words of wisdom. He's fed me -- just not the way I've fed him!"

From the sound of it, Deen's certainly fed her partner well so far!

"Are you kidding? The first two weeks, we rehearsed in Paula's home next to the kitchen," van Amstel, who has previously danced with Priscilla Presley, Margaret Cho and Kelly Osbourne, gushed. "Amazing!"

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