Dancing with the Stars Has Made Alexandra Raisman 'Feel Like a New Person'

updated 05/14/2013 at 05:30 PM EDT

originally published 05/14/2013 01:35PM

Alexandra Raisman has come out of her shell.

The once shy Olympic gymnast, 18, was ever the giddy competitor backstage after Monday night's Dancing with the Stars.

"I've just been having so much fun that I don't think I'm being interviewed right now or I'm on TV," Raisman – who admitted she was previously nervous to interact with reporters – told PEOPLE. "It's just been such an amazing experience. I just feel like a new person. I know I keep saying this, but I've never had this much fun in my life, so it's been really awesome."

Raisman, who was one point shy of a perfect 60 out of 60 on Monday with partner, Mark Ballas, adds, "My whole life has always been gymnastics, so to do something different is just like, 'Ahh.' "



Letting loose with laughter, the athlete went on to say, "I like this new Aly – Wooo! Well, actually, no, when I'm in gymnastics, I like the old Aly because I have to be very focused, but here, it's just all about having fun! Yeah! Yeah!"

With her partner by her side, jokingly telling her to shush, Raisman said, "[Mark] has to deal with me all the time. Yeah! … Woo hoo!"



MORE ON: Mark Ballas

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