Television January 14, 2021
Elizabeth Smart Reveals Why She Joined ‘The Masked Dancer,’ Plus: She Talks ‘Finding Justice’
Elizabeth Smart was unmasked as Miss Moth Wednesday night on “The Masked Dancer,” and she told “Extra’s” Cheslie Kryst all about her experience.
Smart is known as an author and activist following her 2002 kidnapping. She also opened up to Cheslie about her latest work with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, her show “Elizabeth Smart: Finding Justice” on Lifetime and more.
First, sharing her experience on “The Masked Dancer,” she said that last year “was kind of a bust. This opportunity came along… My gut reaction was to say no because I have never done anything like that before and then I lost my grandma around the same time. She was a really great influence on my life. She was all about fun, and living, and living life to the fullest, and passion, and I just thought, ‘She would love this. I’m going to do this. Why not?’”
The mother of three loved the experience, despite not having any dance experience. “I’m like in the movie, ‘Hitch’ with Will Smith. He’s like, ‘Stay right here, this is home base, six inches back and forth.’ That’s my dance move.”
She went on, “So fun, it gave me such an appreciation for everyone behind the scenes... They wanted me to do my best and walk away having a really positive experience. The saddest part of it was saying goodbye to everyone.”
At first, the 33-year-old was disappointed to be voted off the FOX show. “I had to pep talk myself into it. When they unmasked me, I was like, ‘Oh, darn, I tried so hard.’ Then I watched the other episodes and I was like ‘Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.’”
Elizabeth admitted dancing in front of a live audience was nerve-wracking, but said she loved her costume. “I had the most beautiful costume… It was stunning.”
Now it is back to her activism work with the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. Smart said, “We are working on quite a few things. We have our SmartDefense program… We have a campaign I love so much. It’s called a We Believe You campaign… It’s trying to help spread awareness, and education and really try to help people think twice before responding to someone who discloses abuse.”
Plus, she has “Elizabeth Smart: Finding Justice” on Lifetime. Smart said, “I have been able to interview other victims and survivors… It has been a huge privilege for me because I think it is important to share stories because that’s how we change culture.”
Her own experience, going back to the scene where she was held captive, motivated her. “I remember my parents the whole time were like, ‘Are you okay? Are you worried? Was it hard for your to come back here?’ I finally said, ‘No, I feel triumphant… Nothing bad, nothing like what happened to me can ever happen here again. It’s no longer a secret.’ I hope that’s how each of these survivors walk away feeling.”