Val Chmerkovskiy Says His 'DWTS' Partner Victoria Arlen Has Given Him a 'Purpose' Outside the Ballroom
By Desiree Murphy
Val Chmerkovskiy is extremely grateful for his partner on Dancing With the Stars this season.
The 31-year-old dancer took to Instagram on Thursday to marvel over former paralympic swimmer Victoria Arlen, who was paralyzed from the waist down for a decade before learning to walk again a year and a half ago. He said that working with Arlen, who's currently a correspondent for ESPN, has given him a newfound "purpose."
Chmerkovskiy posted a video from Project Walk Boston, the city where Arlen was born. The video begins with a young boy holding a sign that reads, "Vote for our very own Victoria Arlen!" The rest of the footage shows patients from the paralysis recovery center wishing #TeamViVa good luck in the competition.
"Like many people out there, I have my moments of severe doubt. Insecurity," Chmerkovskiy captioned it. "I constantly [am] finding myself questioning not just my own worth, but also my impact on the world. How am I contributing? What will I leave behind? Am I really going to be simply remembered as 'that guy from that dance show'? With endless gratitude and the utmost respect, the answer is...absolutely not."
Chmerkovskiy says that although he's "not sure what the future holds" for him, he's "so grateful" for today.
"Victoria Arlen has given me a purpose beyond the dance floor," he gushed. "She has given me an opportunity of a lifetime.. to be able to make an impact on a very special community and beyond."
"Today I'm showing up to work, as a man with a higher purpose and a drive beyond just doing another turn or dip, even though I think we can all agree that there are very few things more fun than a good 'ol dip," he added. "I'm going to work knowing that with this great opportunity comes a massive responsibility. I'm going to seize the blessings that are right there in front of me, not a single breath for granted, not a moment left empty of joy and gratitude, and who knows maybe through the laughter, the struggle, the ultimate joy we show on Monday, we can inspire the next Victoria Arlen."
When ET spoke with Chmerkovskiy backstage at DWTS on Monday, he echoed these sentiments about Arlen.
"Oh my god, [she's taught me] how lucky I am, how grateful I am and, as grateful as I am, how much joy I could still have," he explained. "It's hard work to be happy, it takes effort and the effort is in reminding yourself how beautiful you have it, and she's a reminder of that every day. I get a little ray of sunshine every single day I go to work and that's a blessing in itself."