The Oxford graduate has been answering only to the name Maria as she and professional partner Pasha Kovalev ready themselves for this week's show.
The 27-year-old said trying to tackle a more sensual performance was not a natural fit for her so she needed to step outside her normal self.
The numbers whiz is in sixth place after her first dance last week when she tackled a waltz for her live debut on the BBC1 show.
She said: "This week we are dancing the salsa with is three million times faster than the waltz - there is a lot more room for things to go wrong.
"Salsa is a really sexy dance, it is a sexy song - which isn't natural for me - I need to take myself out of Rachel and create a whole new character for the night."
Kovalev has been calling her Maria to make her loosen up and feel more in a Latin mood for the dance. Riley is also considering having her fringed mini-dress shortened to make her feel even racier.