Speaking to Digital Spy, the Russian ballroom pro talked about charity work, feeling like a Bond girl next to Salmon and who she fears on this year's Strictly.
Can you tell us a bit more about your work with the charity CoppaFeel! for Breast Cancer Awareness month?
"Obviously I live an active lifestyle and my health is extremely important for me, so I was a fan of Panache bras already for several years. Then they asked me to campaign with them for breast cancer awareness month, which I felt very passionate about because it's great to raise awareness and spread the word for women to see that they're not alone if they have this terrible disease.
"It really felt like an honourable thing to do, so I'm quite happy that I've done this campaign... I have so much respect for these girls who go through this experience and they're smiling, they're happy and they live every day."
How was it posing in the sports bra for the campaign?
"It's one of those things I don't feel shy about, because I know I'm doing this for a great cause and the bra and pants, they're really not that [skimpy] as what we wear on Strictly."
While we're on the subject of Strictly, how do you think Colin performed on Friday when you danced for the first time?
"I was really surprised. He went out there and absolutely did his best. He just shone. I was just so impressed because I knew he had it in him, but the first time people take the floor they're so, so conscious about what they do, they're shy, they're very nervous.
"He absolutely loved the cameras and loved the attention. I had a blast. Honestly it was probably one of my best first dances. I'm very, very proud of him."
Do you feel like a Bond girl dancing with him?
"I do. He is a tall, handsome, strong guy... at the end of the day it is about a couple on the floor, it's about performing together, and I do feel like we had that sort of old-school chemistry and I feel so feminine next to him."
Did any of the couples surprise you after the first week?
"Definitely Lisa Riley was a surprise. Personality-wise I think [her pairing with Robin Windsor] is the best pairing on the show, because they have so much fun together and I think Robin is the only person who can really bring the best out of Lisa. He's a very, very nurturing kind of person. He tries his hardest to make you look like a princess on that floor."
Would you say Lisa's your biggest competition then?
"She's one of the biggest competition I think, because the thing is there's people like Denise Van Outen and Louis Smith who are very good already, and then people like Victoria Pendleton and Nicky Byrne who are very popular. I do hope people give Colin a chance, because he has so much passion for dancing. He is an amazing person."
How's training going for this week? Can you give us any teasers about your performance?
"This week we're dancing the waltz, which is a bit more harder [because of] the height difference. But because he's an actor I work more on the performance side and telling the story on the floor, and I hope people will see that."
Will Colin's leopard print be making a comeback?
"No, I don't think so. I thought he looked really handsome in that. The waltz [outfit] will be very different. Not leopard print."
Kristina Rihanoff and the CoppaFeel! Boobettes, 18-30-year-olds who have been affected by breast cancer, pose in new pink Panache sports bra
Is it quite difficult juggling Strictly and your charity work?
"Well, OK, I woke up today at 7 o'clock in the morning for the [charity] photo call and then I have to go straight from here for rehearsals for six hours... it's probably going to be like 14 hours [work today].
"It's okay, I love my job, it's great. Every day I look forward to Strictly and I can't complain about it. Life is good. If you can help charity as well it's absolutely a massive plus. I'm just happy that I'm working and I can help people."
Kristina Rihanoff fronts the new pink Panache sports bra which is in aid of the breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel! Available at www.panachesport.com
Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday (October 13) at 6.30pm on BBC One.