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Bindi Irwin on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Win: It ‘Has Changed My Life’ (Video)

”This experience will forever be a part of my life and forever live in my heart,“ 17 year old dance champion says

“Dancing with the Stars” season 21 champion Bindi Irwin says her win on the dance competition series was truly life changing.

“It truly has changed my life and I feel like I’ve grown as a person,” the 17 year old conservationist said on Tuesday’s “Good Morning America.”

“Not only have I learned about the world of sequins and sparkles and high heels, but to be blessed with this beautiful family, I feel like my family has just been extended, even more than animals,” she said. “This experience will forever be a part of my life and forever live in my heart.”

Irwin’s mother Terri also praised her daughter for her performance on the ABC series. “Bindi is the most optimistic person on planet Earth…but we never knew she could dance,” she said.

Bindi and partner Derek Hough were crowned champions on Tuesday’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars.”  They beat out former Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter and U.S. Army Ranger Alek Skarlatos for the Mirrorball Trophy on the two-hour finale, which was filmed live at The Grove in Los Angeles.

Bindi was an early fan favorite, and an emotional dance tribute to her late father earned her rave reviews on the first half of the the reality competition series’ finale on Monday.