09/09/2011 AT 6:05 PM ET
Time-stepping to forget? Elisabetta Canalis says she’s embracing her role as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in part to get over her June breakup with George Clooney after their two years together.
“It was a difficult time for me,” the model, 32, tells Italy’s Chi magazine. “When I lose something I always find a good reason to go forward … I throw myself into my work. It’s the only thing I can cling to.”
Noting that she is often attracted to “self-assured men with strong personalities,” Canalis, who after the Clooney split was seen with former flame Angelo Vita, says: “I’m a bit of a tomboy, but when it comes to love I am a doormat. I’m looking for men who can give me security.”
Though she and Clooney kept their relationship fairly private, the breakup seems to have soured Canalis’s view of love.
“You have to accept that Prince Charming who is coming to save you is not going to happen. It works against you,” says Canalis, whose DWTS partner will be Val Chmerkovskiy.
“At the end of the day I have always seen the end of my relationships as a personal failure,” she adds. “There is nothing ever pretty in saying goodbye.”