Dancing With The Stars will look different yet somewhat familiar this year, with contestants from previous seasons returning to the dance floor to claim the mirror ball. There are also four wildcard contestants who have never been on the show, one of whom is Jessica Gomes.
The Australian model and actor of Portuguese and Chinese descent will be participating with professional dance partner, Lyu Masuda, and she’s just as excited as us about representing Asian Australians on the show.
“Wildcard is out! Im so proud to be dancing and competing in Dancing with the Stars ALL STARS AUSTRALIA. @dancingau with @lyumasudaa We are so excited to be representing our people and to rip up the dance flooooooor!!” Jess wrote on Instagram on Monday.
The former David Jones model has been based in the US until recently, and last month joined a string of celebrities in calling out racism against Asian Americans.
Jess shared a post from Crazy Rich Asians star Gemma Chan which drew attention to attacks against Asians in the US, and said she had thought of what would happen if “anyone were to harm” her “family”.
In 2014 she also spoke about her personal experiences with racism, saying she was “teased at school and racially discriminated against”.
“I didn’t feel accepted because I was Asian,” Jess said in a video for CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment).
She also spoke about the importance of representation and her struggle finding a role model in pop culture while growing up.
“I think my first attention to an actress was Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels – I loved that,” she said.
‘When I would play games with my friends and act it out I would always play her, I’d be like ‘I’m Lucy Liu”‘because that’s what I look like,” she continued, adding, “It was hard in Australia because I didn’t have any other Asian role models that I looked up to – maybe Pocahontas because I thought she looked like me too”.
The full cast of Dancing With The Stars is Renee Bargh, Lincoln Lewis, Ada Nicodemou, Matty J, Luke Jacobz, Kyly Clarke, Tom Williams, Bec Hewitt, Jamie Durie, Manu Feildel, Erin McNaught, Schapelle Corby, Jessica Gomes and Fifi Box.
Channel 7 is yet to announce a premiere date.