Rose Ayling-Ellis wants to use Strictly to break stereotypes about deaf people

The EastEnders star is making history as the first deaf celebrity to compete on Strictly Come Dancing.

Strictly Come Dancing

EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis said she hopes her competing on Strictly Come Dancing “breaks the stereotype of what deaf people can and cannot do”.

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The actor, who plays Frankie Lewis on EastEnders, will be the BBC One show’s first ever deaf contestant to join the Strictly Come Dancing line-up when she steps onto the dance floor year.

Speaking to press at a Q&A ahead of Strictly 2021’s launch, Ayling-Ellis spoke about why she chose to sign up for the dancing competition.

“I wanted to do Strictly because I feel like I’ve got a purpose because I am deaf. To be the first deaf person on Strictly, I feel it would be a good chance to break the stereotype of what deaf people can and cannot do.

“A lot of people think deaf people can’t hear the music and enjoy the music and enjoy the dancing, so I thought it would be good to break that.”

When asked what the reaction to her joining the Strictly line-up from the deaf community has been like, she said: “It’s very excited and positive.

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“Also, I think it will be interesting to see the reaction from the audience. The deaf community is very excited and I just hope a lot of things come out of it that will improve the deaf people’s experience – people’s attitude will change and deaf people will have better experiences, probably get more jobs.”

Strictly Come Dancing starts on BBC One on Saturday 18th September. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide or visit our Entertainment hub for the latest news.