Dancing With the Stars contestant Daniel Durant opens up about his two mums
Dancing with the Stars contestant Daniel Durant has opened up about how he “wouldn’t be here” if it wasn’t for his two mums.
Durant, who played Leo in CODA, made his Dancing with the Stars debut Monday (19 September) alongside his professional partner Britt Stewart. The pair performed a tango to “Barbra Streisand” by Duck Sauce and received a score of 27 out of 40 from the judges.
Durant is the third deaf person to compete in the US series after his CODA costar Marlee Matlin and model Nyle DiMarco, who won the competition back in 2016.
He told GLAAD that he was “proud” of the performance and planned to go as “far as [they] can” in the competition. Durant added it was “beautiful” to be part of such an inclusive season that also features its first drag queen contestant, Shangela, as well as its first all-male pairing.
He said the jump in LGBTQ+ representation on Dancing with the Stars was especially meaningful as he was adopted and raised by two mums.
“I support Shangela and I support the LGBTQ+ community because I was adopted by my mums, and I became successful because of them – really they saved me from a sad situation,” Durant said. “I could have had a way worse life.”
He continued: “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my mums, and I see what my mums went through growing up – saw how people treated them, everything.
“And when I saw Shangela here, I was like ‘Yes! Thank you to Hollywood, thank you to Disney for opening the door for more diversity’.
“We need to be here because everyone needs to see this.”Durant’s mums Lori Durant and Mary Engels were at the premiere of Dancing with the Stars to support their son as he stepped on stage for the first dance. Lori described how the couple is “very, very proud” of their son and that he has “never seen himself as being anything other than capable”.
Mary added that Durant ‘transcends’ the “boxes” that the world puts people in “whether you’re gay deaf or look physically different”.
“He just blows them away,” Mary said.
Lori gushed about how Durant was “inclusive” as the actor previously told a “friend at home” that he didn’t care if he danced with a man or woman on the show.
“He’s like ‘I’d be happy with either’, and I was like so proud,” Lori recalled. “I knew he was inclusive but just to have it really share that and be sincere about it was so like cool.”
Mary said the diverse cast of competitors on this season of Dancing with the Stars is “paving the way for others”.
“I can hardly wait for the day when it’s not an issue. It’s not a topic of discussion. It just is,” Mary added.
Dancing with the Stars premiered on Disney Plus in the US on 19 September.
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