Rose Ayling-Ellis has said her emotional number on Strictly Come Dancing – which included a 10-second silence – was a “special moment” for her.
The actress, the first deaf contestant in the show’s history, performed a couple’s choice routine to Symphony by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson on Saturday.
During the middle of the performance, the music was paused as the couple continued to dance in silence as a tribute to the deaf community.
Appearing on This Morning, Ayling-Ellis, 27, said the silent passage had shown how hard deaf people have to work every day.
“It was a special moment for me because a lot of the time you always see a deaf person getting on well and doing what is normal but you don’t see how much hard work goes behind it,” she said.
“So I think the silent moment was to show this is what I do when I dance. This is the amount of work I do. But I still do it with a smile on my face.
“I think that’s what my message is. And that is what a lot of deaf people go through.”
Her partner Giovanni Pernice said dancing to even 10 seconds of silence had been a challenge.
He said: “I am a professional dancer. I have been doing it for 23 years.
“Even 10 seconds of silence was so hard because in that 10 seconds you have to think about your steps, you have to keep in the beat.
“So I was like, now I understand what she is (doing). The 10 seconds was just powerful.”
During her TV appearance, Ayling-Ellis was also shown a video of a young deaf girl reacting to her performance.
She said: “I feel like as a child I never had anything like that, so it is really nice that deaf children can have someone to look up to.
“And also not just for children, also for parents, because my mum, when she found out I was deaf, she felt so alone.
“She felt she had no idea about deaf culture or deaf community at all. The conception of a deaf child growing up in society is quite limited so when they see someone like me on Strictly they will be like, ‘Oh OK – she can do what she wants to do’.
“It is society that makes it difficult to be deaf, not a person being deaf. There is nothing wrong with being deaf. I have no problem with it. It is society that makes it hard for me.”
Ayling-Ellis and Pernice will take on a quickstep to Love Is An Open Door from Disney’s Frozen this weekend as part of musicals week.