When I think of Simone Biles, what comes to mind is words like "strength," "power," "ability," and "badass." And while those are all words that should come to mind when we think of most female celebrities, it's too often the case that their looks will be the focus instead. But not for this athlete, thankfully. In fact, Simone Biles wrote about having to be "sexy" for Dancing with the Stars, and how foreign that is for her, and that made me so happy. That this, now, at 20 years of age, is really her first experience with having to work around that societal expectation is huge, you guys — at least to me. I've watched in frustration for years as female Olympic athletes in sports like beach volleyball, ice skating, and gymnastics have had their achievements dismissed or skipped over in favor of discussions of their appearance. As a fan of good old-fashioned athleticism, it really bums me out, so I'm relieved to hear that Biles hasn't really given it a second thought or even had to.
I'm sure she's aware that people have unwanted opinions on her body and her sexuality, but, based on what she told People ahead of this week's dance, DWTS is the first time she's put genuine thought into coming off sexier:
The actual steps are not the hard part. I’m supposed to be sexier in this dance and that’s not something I’ve ever had to do before. Sasha has been really working with me to loosen up my body and to make sure I’m showing the emotion of the dance on my face.
I would imagine that being a gymnast is a tricky line to walk between being judged on an international stage for what you've trained your body to do and then not caring about any judgements beyond that. But I didn't take into account what a beast Biles is, because she seems to be sailing through those potential pitfalls with ease.
Trying to be sexy is very different from what people are used to seeing from me, but I’m 20 and it’s been really interesting to explore a new side of myself. I hope everyone enjoys it tonight!
You hear that? She hopes you enjoy it, but, if you don't, that's on you. Biles has enough experience at this point to know that all she can do when tackling a new skill set — which exuding sexuality in a dance absolutely is — is do her very best.She comes off calm and confident in her own abilities, which she should, because they're literally world-class. If she's not one of your role models yet, maybe you should re-evaluate some things.