Dancing With the Stars winner Nyle DiMarco is hoping to inspire deaf kids everywhere with his truly inspirational story.
DiMarco had the weight of the deaf world on his shoulders going into Dancing With the Stars. The model, who was born deaf, had no prior dancing experience but felt that he had something prove.
"I'd never danced in my whole entire life," DiMarco said in a new CNN report. "If I failed in the first week that means [millions of] people would view deaf people as people that can't dance."
DiMarco's partner, Peta Murgatroyd, had a big challenge in front of her. In the first week of rehearsals, she tried cranking up the music so that he could feel the vibrations, but it ultimately did more harm than good.
"When we danced, it really just threw me off," he said. "I told Peta I've always been deaf. I'm not used to sound, so I think it's better if we dance without the sound. And after that we did better."
DiMarco and Murgatroyd got off to a great start and maintained frontrunner status throughout the competition. They event allowed viewers to experience what he goes through, with one performance that featured the sound going out for 10 seconds as they continued dancing.
DiMarco's dedication and top notch dancing skills got him all the way to the finals, where he won the coveted Mirrorball trophy.
"We ended on a good note," he said, smiling.
Post-Dancing With the Stars, DiMarco is looking to continue inspiring the deaf community. He started the Nyle DiMarco Foundation this year, which aims to provide greater resources to children and families in the deaf community.
"There's 70 million deaf people in this world and only 2% of them have access to education in sign language," he said. "We're talking about millions of deaf kids without language, without education."
And even if deafness is considered a disability, DiMarco doesn't see it as a limitation.
"What people don't realize is we have our own beautiful culture," he explained. "To deaf kids, they should always find the ability in a disability ... if you do then you will do great things in life."
Dancing With the Stars returns for season 23 on Monday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.