Rose Ayling-Ellis: Who is the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 contestant and what is she famous for?
The 26-year-old is used to smashing records, having become the first deaf actor on EastEnders when she joined the soap in May 2020, playing Frankie Lewis – the daughter of Danny Dyer’s Mick Carter.
She first became interested in acting as a child, starring in the award-winning short film The End in 2011 from deaf director Ted Evans.
She later joined the Deafinitely Youth Theatre, before performing in a number of stage productions at the National Theatre and Manchester’s Royal Exchange.
On TV, she’s appeared in Casualty and Summer of Rockets , as well as starring in a music video for boy band The Vamps.
Upon the news of her casting in this year’s series of Strictly, some fans wondered if she would be at a disadvantage due to the dancers’ need to follow the live band and dance in time to the beat.
However, in a recent interview, Ayling-Ellis said that she hopes to challenge assumptions about deaf people and music .
“A lot of people think that deaf people can’t hear the music, enjoy the music, and enjoy dancing, so I thought it would be a good platform for me to break that stereotype,” she said.
“It’s a common misconception that deaf people can’t enjoy music. I have a hearing aid, so I pick up some of the music and I can hear the beat. I can hear someone singing, but I can’t identify exact words. I can also feel the vibrations.”
Strictly producers have also been working with Ayling-Ellis to ensure her needs are met on the show, with many learning British Sign Language .
Ayling-Ellis admitted that being the first deaf contestant was “exciting” and “a little bit scary”.
“It is the hardest secret I have ever had to keep so it feels amazing to finally have this out in the open,” she said.
“I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. But I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill and even better I get to learn whilst wearing beautiful dresses made especially for me!”
Strictly Come Dancing returns Saturday 18 September at 7.45pm on BBC One.