DWTS Lacey Schwimmer
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DWTS’ Lacey Schwimmer Reflects on Fat-Shaming Comments From Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Louis van Amstel

Cheryl Burke retired from the Dancing with the Stars ballroom at the end of Season 31. She started a new podcast, titled Sex, Lies and Spray Tans. The podcast goes behind the scenes of the show and talks to previous pros and contestants.

When Maks Chmerkovskiy was a guest, it brought up some painful memories for Cheryl. Years ago, she was fat-shamed by Maks and Louis van Amstel. But Cheryl wasn’t the only victim of body-shaming. Former DWTS pro Lacey Schwimmer recently spoke out on Cheryl’s podcast. US Weekly has the details.

Lacey Schwimmer’s life changed after DWTS’ Maks and Louis took issue with her weight

So, what exactly did Maks and Louis say about Lacey and Cheryl? In October 2008, Maks told TV Guide, “When I first saw these women this season, I said, ‘Guys, you know the camera adds 10 pounds. You have to do something about this.’” Maks did apologize to Cheryl years later for his remarks.

Louis said to TV Guide, “[People] look at this show to be inspired and think, ‘If I just work hard enough, I can look like that.’ If they watch someone who’s dancing her butt off and she’s still heavy, they can be discouraged,” he said. Not acceptable, gentlemen.

That is a terrible situation for Cheryl and Lacey to be in. “When I’m 19 years old and I’m excited to do this brand new venture and be celebrated for something I’ve worked my whole life doing, to hear people I’ve looked up to … it literally broke my spirit. Oh, my God, it ruined me,” Lacey stated. “I remember crying and crying and crying.”

“From that, it has definitely messed up everything. Of course, ever since that first quote from Maks and Louis, that let everyone else have an opinion of what I looked like,” Lacey said. She added that she doesn’t blame Louis or Maks. Really? I certainly would.

Does DWTS cause body issues for female dancers?

Photo by Adam Taylor/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Lacey danced intermittently on DWTS during Seasons 7 through 13. She revealed to Cheryl that, after a fitting, a producer advised her that she should wear fishnets for a “smoother look.”

“I thought maybe everyone was going through this, I thought that this was just what the show did. Looking back, that body that I had was phenomenal,” Lacey said.

“In a weird way, I do feel, and this is my personal opinion, that Dancing With the Stars breeds body image issues for women. We are forced to be put in bras and panties with a couple pieces of fringe on the butt,” Lacey stated. “And just, you’re standing next to these girls who are naturally skinny and you have to take extreme measures.”

The former DWTS pro shared that she “abused” diet pills in a quest to stay thin for the show. “I do find, and hear me out again, this is my personal opinion, the thinner you are, the more attention you end up getting on that show,” Lacey explained.

I’m really sad to hear about Lacey and Cheryl’s negative experiences on DWTS. No one should ever be body-shamed.

Dancing with the Stars continues on Tuesdays on ABC and Disney+.