DWTS' Britt Stewart on Being the First Black Female Pro: There's 'Power in Representation'
When season 29 of Dancing with the Stars premieres next month, the show will welcome its first Black female pro: Britt Stewart.
"I honestly get a little emotional talking about it every time," she said. "I think there's a lot of power in representation and seeing someone that looks like yourself in a specific position."
"It gives all little Black girls ... that feel like they don't have that representation something to look at and something to reach for," she added. "I'm so honored that DWTS celebrates diversity and this is just really a stepping stone to really express everything and bring light to the world and to television."
Stewart joins Daniella Karagach as a first-time pro. The rest of the pros are all returning fan-favorites: Sharna Burgess, Peta Murgatroyd, Val Chmerkovskiy, Cheryl Burke, Keo Motsepe, Jenna Johnson, Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, Sasha Farber, Pasha Pashkov, Emma Slater and Gleb Savchenko.
"I can't wait to meet her," Slater told Zee of the America's Next Top Model creator.
"We had a little tea party via Zoom yesterday and she's got some great ideas, so it's going to be interesting and fun," Farber added.
Banks, 46, will also be the show's first Black female solo host.
"I like breaking these doors down so that we don't have any more firsts, but it's nice to be first so that you can open that door and let so many people in after you," she said on Good Morning America in July.
"Let's just keep this real, it's going to be so next level," she teased. "We're doing all this crazy stuff, taking it to the next level, but still keeping the stuff America loves. But you need to get ready because it's going to be different!"
Celebrities competing on the upcoming season will be announced at a later date, and the contestant and pro dancer pairings will be revealed during the two-hour premiere.
The network announced last month that Bergeron and Andrews would not be returning.
"Tom Bergeron will forever be part of the Dancing with the Stars family. As we embark on a new creative direction, he departs the show with our sincerest thanks and gratitude for his trademark wit and charm that helped make this show a success," ABC and BBC Studios said in a joint statement.
"Erin will also not be returning, and we appreciate all that she brought to the ballroom," the statement continued. "Fans have been rooting for her since she originally competed as a contestant back in 2010, and her signature sense of humor has become a hallmark of the show."
Season 29 of DWTS premieres Sep. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.