She’s making history as the first deaf contestant to grace the ballroom floor on Strictly Come Dancing.
And Rose Ayling-Ellis left many viewers on the brink of tears, as she used her platform on the show to introduce fans to sign language.
The EastEnders actress, 30, who has been paired with Giovanni Pernice, gushed while signing: ‘When the Strictly news was announced, The response from the deaf community was my proudest moment.’
Important: Rose Ayling-Ellis used her platform on the show to further include audience-members – signing through her introduction at the start of the programme
She continued: ‘I feel like Strictly has given me a purpose.’
‘People just think that deaf people hear nothing, but that’s not true. You hear with body language, with vibrations, with atmosphere. I can still enjoy music, it’s just a different experience.’
Fans of the show took to Twitter to share their praise for the budding dancer, with some audience members even ‘tearing up’ as she signed during her performance.
Sweet: The EastEnders actress also revealed she would be enlisting the help of an interpretor throughout her time on the show
‘So happy’: Fans of the show took to Twitter to share their praise for the budding dancer, with some audience members even ‘tearing up’ as she signed during her performance
One Twitter user wrote: ‘Seeing everyone sign is making me so happy I’m actually tearing up! You’ve got this Gi and Rose’.
Another wrote: ‘Watching #StrictlyComeDancing. Rose Ayling-Ellis is very much succeeding at being the most amazing person on the planet! Everyone else is alright too I suppose.’
Even some of the viewers who didn’t previously know Rose are rooting for her, with one penning: ‘I didn’t know her before today but already a little bit in love with Rose Ayling-Ellis #strictly’.
‘Delighted’: One member of the deaf community was ‘delighted’ by her performance, taking to Twitter
‘Catching up now. How inspirational is Rose Ayling-Ellis? Absolutely amazing. Can’t wait for the first proper show.’
One more fan simply wrote: ‘Rooting for Rose Ayling-Ellis only.’
Another tweeted: ‘@bbcstrictly Permission to Dance BTS… excellent choice and the original dance incorporates Sign Language and with Rose Ayling-Ellis being part of the show makes it that extra special’.
One member of the deaf community was ‘delighted’ by her performance, writing: ‘I am so delighted to see Rose Ayling-Ellis on Strictly! Amazing role model for deaf children. I know our deaf students will love following her progress. Fantastic!’
‘Inspirational’: One home viewer said, ‘How inspirational is Rose Ayling-Ellis? Absolutely amazing. Can’t wait for the first proper show’
‘Purpose’: She continued, saying ‘I feel like Strictly has given me a purpose’
Later on, while on the dancefloor chatting to Tess, actress Rose reiterated her earlier sentiments about the positivity she’s had from the deaf community and added: ‘Finally they see someone like them on Strictly!’
The soap star also introduced her interpreter for the first time, explaining that she would be there to help Rose to communicate.
Giovanni was unveiled as Rose’s professional dance partner, and showed off some of the sign language he has learned, and continued to ask her to teach him at every opportunity.
‘He’s very open to teaching me in a new way!’ gushed Rose to Claudia, before being told that they would be performing the jive as their first dance.
Unveiling: Giovanni was unveiled as Rose’s professional dance partner on the show
Showing off: The pro even showed off some of the sign language he has learned, and continued to ask her to teach him at every opportunity
The actress, who plays Frankie Lewis, said she hopes by taking part in Strictly she will ‘break down barriers’ for the deaf community.
‘To be the first deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing is sooooo exciting.. and a little bit scary,’ Rose said.
‘It is the hardest secret I have ever had to keep so it feels amazing to finally have this out in the open.
‘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.’
Breaking down barriers: The actress, who plays Frankie Lewis, said she hopes by taking part in Strictly she will ‘break down barriers’ for the deaf community
The news was first announced on EastEnders’ Twitter page. The post said: ‘We’re unbelievably excited to announce that our very own @RoseAylingEllis will be joining the cast of @bbcstrictly 2021!
Take a look at our exclusive interview with @EmmaBarton and Rose. Good luck from all of us at #EastEnders, Rose!’
Rose is the first ever deaf actor to play a deaf character on the soap.
She has previously appeared in various stage productions, and her other TV credits include Summer of Rockets and Casualty. Rose use British Sign Language (BSL).
Exciting! ‘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 2021: WHO ARE THE COUPLES?
TOM FLETCHER & AMY DOWDEN
Celebrity’s Age: 36
Profession: McFly musician
Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’
Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
ROBERT WEBB & DIANNE BUSWELL
Celebrity’s Age: 48
Profession: Actor and comedian
Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’
Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title.
RHYS STEPHENSON & NANCY XU
Celebrity’s Age: 27
Profession: CBBC presenter
Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’
Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville.
KATIE MCGLYNN & GORKA MARQUEZ
Celebrity’s Age: 28
Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’
Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020.
TILLY RAMSAY & NIKITA KUZMIN
Celebrity’s Age: 19
Profession: CBBC presenter
Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’
Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.
NINA WADIA & NEIL JONES
Celebrity’s Age: 52
Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’
Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List.
ADAM PEATY & KATYA JONES
Celebrity’s Age: 26
Adam says: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.’
Fun fact: Adam becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.
UGO MONYE & OTI MABUSE
Celebrity’s Age: 38
Profession: Rugby player and sports pundit
Ugo says: ‘What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.
Fun fact: Beginning his rugby career at Harlequins in 2002, Ugo went on to make 241 appearances for the club where he scored 89 tries, won a Premiership and made his England debut in 2008.
AJ ODUDU & KAI WIDDRINGTON
Celebrity’s Age: 33
Profession: TV presenter
AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’
Fun Fact: Apocalypse Wow hosts AJ has featured on a whopping 14 TV shows this year, competing in the likes oF Cooking With The Stars and Celebrity Karaoke Club. She has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.
JOHN WHAITE & JOHANNES RADEBE
Celebrity’s Age: 33
Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef
John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’
Fun Fact: The duo are the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show.
SARA DAVIES & ALJAZ SKORJANEC
Celebrity’s Age: 37
Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’
Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den.
DAN WALKER & NADIYA BYCHKOVA
Celebrity’s Age: 44
Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’
Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.
GREG WISE & KAREN HAUER
Celebrity’s Age: 55
Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’
Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.
ROSE AYLING-ELLIS & GIOVANNI PERNICE
Celebrity’s Age: 30
Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill.’
Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant.
JUDI LOVE & GRAZIANO DI PRIMA
Celebrity’s Age: 41
Judi says: ‘I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!’
Fun fact: Judi began comedy when she performed a set in front of her class for a degree module.