Dance is an important form of creative expression for us in the Latinx community. We might not all be able to dance well – despite the stereotype – but there’s nothing quite like getting down to our favorite songs and expressing ourselves by moving in whatever way feels true to us. And as with any kind of representation, it’s important to see people like us dancing on screen, especially on national shows like Dancing With the Stars on ABC, which pairs celebrities with professional dancers for eleven weeks. From Puerto Rican gymnast Laurie Hernandez in 2016 to Fifth Harmony member Ally Brooke in 2019 to Xochitl Gomez in 2023, known for her Marvel role as America Chavez, we love seeing Latinas taking on challenging dances and bringing pride to our community. This week, after a night (and several weeks!) of perfect scores, 17-year-old Gomez, who is of Mexican descent, and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy were announced as the first place winners of season 32. She’s now the second Latina to win and the second youngest winner following Hernandez on both counts. Hernandez won in 2016 at the age of 16 and she was also partnered with Chmerkovskiy.
“Just now waking up and it’s crazy to think that last night Val and I won the Len Goodman mirrorball trophy,” she said in an Instagram post. “I’m forever grateful for my journey on Dancing With the Stars and to whoever made the decision to pair Val and I together. @valentin you inspire me so much, you’ve made a huge impact on me. You have shown me respect, care, and love combined with work, determination, and focus- yet you made sure I had the most fun possible. I will miss dwts so so so much! I’ll be back next season and sit in the audience in admiration for the next cast. ♥️🏆 #teamxv”
Since its start in 2005, DWTS has seen many celebrities learning to dance and taking home the gold by excelling in different styles like waltz, foxtrot, cha cha, tango, salsa, quickstep, jive, rumba, and more to contemporary and classic songs. To see Gomez not only participate but showcase her roots through dance is a powerful moment for representation.
Gomez started off to strong and consistently earned better scores each week until finally winning perfect scores for four dances in two weeks back to back. In the finale, she and Chmerkovskiy performed the foxtrot to “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry and a freestyle to “Que Calor” by District 78. This last dance was particularly special to Gomez and Latinx viewers as it honored her Mexican roots, featuring a backdrop of candles, a Day of the Dead ofrenda, and cempasuchils (marigolds). She won a perfect 30-point score for this dance and, given how long she’s being dominating the competition, undoubtedly earned the coveted mirrorball trophy.
“Representation is really huge for me,” Gomez told Good Morning America following the finale. “In Latin ballroom dances, I want to really focus on the Latino portion of it and making it as accurate as I can. I took Val to his first Día de los Muertos dinner, and that’s where he saw the ofrenda, and he was inspired by that aesthetic and that look.”
Dancing With the Stars is available to watch on ABC and Hulu.