‘I’m honoured to do it for the dwarfism community’: Strictly’s Ellie Simmonds explains the importance of adding disability representation to the show – after becoming the competition’s first UK contestant with dwarfism
Ellie Simmonds has opened up about the importance of disability representation on Strictly Come Dancing.
The Paralympian, 27, is set to take part in this year’s season of the dancing competition – as the show’s first ever dwarf contestant.
And sharing that she’s ‘honoured’ to be doing it for the dwarfism community, she detailed her hope to show viewers that anyone can do it,
Representation: Ellie Simmonds, 27, has explained the importance of adding disability representation to Strictly Come Dancing – after becoming the show’s first contestant with dwarfism
Sharing that dancing is something she’s ‘never done before’, Ellie told MailOnline and other outlets: ‘Disability representation is so important on a show like this, and I’m honoured to do it for the dwarfism community.
‘Especially something like dancing, which is something that I’ve never ever done before. So hopefully people who are sitting at home and watching realise that anyone can do it.’
The swimmer also gushed over previous winner Rose Ayling-Ellis – who was the show’s first ever deaf contestant, and went on to win last year.
And noting that it will not only be something new for her, but for the show’s professionals to adapt to as well – Ellie admitted it’s a learning process.
Ellie shared ‘I’m honoured to do it for the dwarfism community’
Physically grueling: ‘It’s completely different to swimming training, I’m aching already. Swimming is in the water but dancing is very high impact, it’s muscles I’ve never used before.
‘Dancing with a person of shorter stature is obviously new for the professionals too and then I’m completely new at dancing so it’s about seeing how we’ll see how we can adapt it and learning for me and my partner – it’s like where do you put your hands and things like that.’
While Ellie has endured rigorous training for her swimming career, the star also admitted that dancing rehearsals are a ‘completely different’ kind of sport.
‘It’s completely different to swimming training, I’m aching already. Swimming is in the water but dancing is very high impact, it’s muscles I’ve never used before.’
Support: She has previously been supported publicly by reality star Terra Jole, who also has dwarfism and starred on the US version of Strictly, Dancing With The Stars, back in 2016 (Terra Jole on Dancing With The Stars)
She has previously been supported publicly by reality star Terra Jole, who also has dwarfism and starred on the US version of Strictly, Dancing With The Stars, back in 2016.
And with the TV personality making it to the semi-final of the show, Ellie explained that she’s been getting some tips from her: ‘Terra Jole has been giving my so many tips on how to stand and everything so that’s been so helpful too.
‘I’ve been so nervous thinking about doing it in front of a live audience and on Saturday night TV but it’s also exciting. It’s like when you’re a kid at Christmas and you’re so excited that you feel sick,’ shared Ellie.
Strictly Come Dancing kicks off on BBC One on Saturday 17 September.
STRICTLY COME DANCING 2022: WHO ARE THE CONTESTANTS?
Profession: Coronation Street star and presenter
Kym says: ‘I’m so delighted that this year they have! I’m a huge fan of the show and can’t believe I’m going to go from watching at home in my pyjamas to actually dancing in front of the judges in a glittery dress.’
Profession: Radio presenter
Richie says: ‘This is a dream come true! I cannot wait to get in those sparkles and sequins and shimmy across the most famous dance floor in the world!’
Profession: Former athlete
Ellie says: ‘To be asked to be part of the Strictly family is just so exciting and I cannot wait, it’s going to so much fun.’
Profession: Radio DJ
Tyler says: ‘It’s a show that means so much to me and my family and I can’t wait to seriously shake a leg on that shiny dance floor… with a side of sequins.’
Ellie says: ‘Well, cover me in fake tan and roll me in sequins! I’m absolutely over the moon to be a part of Strictly 2022!’
TONY ADAMS MBE
Profession: Retired footballer and manager
Tony says: ‘To say I’m excited is an understatement – the lure of the sequins and the call of the salsa has me swapping my battered old football boots for a set of Strictly soft shoes’
Profession: EastEnders actor
James says ‘I’m not known for my shimmy or my twinkle toes – in fact my kids regularly laugh at my dad dancing but it’s an honour to be asked and I’m going to give it my best shot.’
Profession: TV and radio broadcaster
Helen says: ‘I’m really excited to get stuck into a fun adventure. My family and friends have always loved the show and can’t wait for me to get started’
Will says: ‘I know it will be a huge challenge but that’s what life is all about. This is also my Mum’s favourite show and she’s had a really tough few years so I’m doing this is for her as well. Bring it on!’
Profession: Television presenter
Kaye says: ‘I said I wanted to make the last year of my fifties memorable and i can’t think of a better way of doing it than showing the world my two left feet. Pray for me!’
Jayde says: ‘I’ve been a massive fan of the show for years. I feel like I’m watching myself in a dream and I can’t believe I’ve manifested this.’
Matt says: ‘I’ve been reclusive, I come and work and then go back to America. I thought, it’s time for me to come home and get out of my own way’
Molly says: ‘I already know it’s gonna be an experience of a lifetime and I can’t wait to meet the rest of the Strictly family I’ll be sharing it with.’
Fleur says: ‘I’m equally nervous and thrilled to be part of this year’s Strictly line up. I’m excited to learn new skills and I want to soak up every moment of this magical experience.’
Profession: Wildlife cameraman and presenter
Hamza says: ‘I am absolutely over the moon to be joining Strictly 2022. Never in a million years did I think I’d be on such a cool show.’