Val Chmerkovskiy’s new partner is definitely one to watch this season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ — and her story will warm your heart. Here’s everything to know about her!
Victoria Arlen, 22, is about to prove to everyone that if you put your mind on something, you can do it! Partner Val Chmerkovskiy has won two mirror balls, and it looks like she has the determination to give him his third. However, this is just one small challenge compared to what she’s been through in her life.
1. Her battle began at age 11. In 2006, Victoria developed Transverse Myelitis and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, two rare conditions; she lost the ability to speak, eat, and move. She spent four years “locked” in her own body in a vegetative state and doctors believed there was little chance of survival and said recovery was unlikely. In 2010, she began fighting back. She started slowly to eat, move, and speak all over again — and she defied all odds.
2. In 2012, she entered the Summer Paralympics US swimming trials.
At the trials, she had a record-breaking performance, and entered the 2012 Paralympics in London, representing Team USA. She won three silver and one gold medal. She also holds World, American and Pan American Records.
3. Victoria also is a motivational speaker, going by the quote, “Face It, Embrace It, Defy It, Conquer It.“
4. In April 2015, she joined ESPN as one of the youngest on-air talents, hired for various platforms. She learned how to walk again in April 2016.
5. She launched a foundation to help people achieve their own success.
Victoria is the President of Victoria’s Victory Foundation created this foundation assist those around the world. “The VVF will provide scholarships to individuals and organizations that provide support and training for overcoming obstacles and making lifestyle changes that will have a positive impact,” the mission statement reads.
Dancing with the Stars premieres on Sept. 18.