Anyone who’s been keeping up with their ABC reality competitions knows that YouTube superstar Bethany Mota has been killing it on Dancing With the Stars. She and partner Derek Hough have been tearing up the dance floor and winning over the judges week after week, but it’s not just her massive fan-base of dedicated “Motavators” and her surprisingly strong dance skills that are keeping Bethany in the game. As with all her content Bethany is putting her heart into this competition and nowhere was that more evident than on Monday night’s episode.
Fans know that overcoming bullying is a big part of Bethany’s backstory. Being shunned and teased by classmates at school is what originally pushed her to try YouTube way back on 2009. Feeling isolated, she reached out to the internet and the internet reached back, turning her into the star we know today. In a very personal package attached to her Monday night performance Bethany shares her story with her dancing partner Derek before showing the audience just how far she’s come.
Derek and Bethany performed a confident Rumba set to Colbie Calait’s hit “Try.” In the background a screen projected some of the cruel taunts Bethany had received over the years from peers and internet trolls. “Freak,” “weirdo,” “ugly,” “fat” all appear and dissolve before being pushed away by Hough. As the routine picks up steam, they’re replaced by new adjectives, confidence, power, hope. The routine closes out with Bethany sweeps away all the descriptors, good and bad, replacing them with a single statement, “I Love Who I Am.” It’s a perfect metaphor for Bethany’s evolution from a lonely kid into an internet idol inspiring millions of young fans.