Rose Ayling-Ellis has heaped praise on her support system during her time on Strictly Come Dancing. The 27-year-old - who was partnered up with Giovanni Pernice - became the first deaf person to compete in, and win the show.
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During a chat with Deaf Talent Collective - a consultancy service "working with British deaf talent" - Rose confessed she was lucky to have interpreters and deaf awareness training all to hand.
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"DTC supported me massively on Strictly," she said. "They provided all my interpreters, they provided my deaf awareness training. They provided all my consultancy – it was amazing.
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"It was the first time in a job, where I turn up and everything is there, I just do my job and that's it."
Asked how much of an impact the deaf awareness training had, Rose revealed: "The fact that people have a basic foundation of deaf awareness – I didn't have to repeat myself, I didn't have to teach. Everyone knows already so it became a comfortable environment for me."
Last year, Rose and Giovanni performed a moving Couple's Choice to Zara Larsson's song Symphony, which left the audience and viewers at home in tears. They paid respect and raised awareness for members of the deaf community when the music cut as they continued to dance in silence.
Rose and Giovanni during their couples choice dance
The star's presence on Strictly has gone a long way to highlight the deaf community and their needs. The nationwide tour - which recently finished - had a registered British Sign Language interpreter for every performance, making it the "biggest ever BSL accessible arena tour" in the UK.
MORE: Rose Ayling-Ellis holds 'deep affection' for Giovanni Pernice - expert discusses relationship
Rose has also called on MPs to make BSL an official language and to be given legal status in the UK. She said the UK's lack of familiarity with BSL poses a real problem for the deaf community.
Speaking about the lack of respect shown to the deaf community, Rose recently told The Big Issue: "I'm backing it because this is my language. The fact that my country doesn't see it that way is really sad and means we don't get the respect we deserve and the language deserves."
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