(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Wednesday’s “The Masked Dancer.”)
Elizabeth Smart was revealed to be The Moth, the latest eliminated “Masked Dancer” contestant, on Wednesday night. This unmasking is one that Smart says she knows is going to come as a strange one for fans of the silly Fox competition — which so far has unveiled Ice-T and Bill Nye among its celebrity contestants — as she is best known for her nine-month kidnapping at the age of 14.
“I was pretty shocked, actually, when I was first reached out to,” the 33-year-old Smart, who is now an activist and advocate for missing persons and has had her life and abduction covered in multiple non-fiction books and films, told TheWrap. “And I kept thinking, ‘Surely not, surely they don’t actually mean me. They must be wrong.’ But I just got a call and they asked if I would consider coming on and being part of this show. And my gut reaction at first was just to say no. It’s pretty far removed out of anything that I’ve ever done before, plus, I’m not a dancer at all.”
She continued: “But my grandma actually passed away right around the time that they asked me to. And sort of the beginning of the end was she was trying to dance a rumba and she fell and broke her hip. And then at her funeral, I laughed probably as much as I cried. And I just ended up walking away thinking life isn’t just meant for seriousness. I should have fun and I should be happy and I should maybe take a risk occasionally instead of always being reserved and serious. They just caught me at a good time and I thought, ‘Why not? I’m going to give it a go. I mean, 2020 literally can’t get any worse so might as well try to make it a little bit happier.'”
Smart was abducted from Salt Lake City home at knifepoint by Brian David Mitchell in June 2002, and then held captive by Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, at a camp in the woods where he repeatedly raped Smart. She was rescued in March 2003, with Barzee being sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in 2010 but granted early release in 2018, and with Mitchell sentenced to life in prison in 2011.
Since her abduction, Smart has devoted her life to advocating for missing persons and victims of sexual assault and never before done anything like “The Masked Dancer,” which she says was a terrifying experience for her. And yes, she knows how comical that sounds given every traumatic experience she’s been through in her life.
“I mean, truthfully, this was by far the scariest thing I’ve ever voluntarily done,” Smart said. “And I know that’s probably going to be hilarious to think about because I’ve done quite a few things in my life and not all of them have been pleasant. But definitely, this took me far, far outside of my comfort zone. And looking back, I’m actually really glad I did it.”
Smart, who “can’t stress enough” that she has “zero dance background,” doesn’t know she’ll ever do something like “The Masked Dancer” again, but truly values the opportunity.
“I mean, it terrified me and it petrified me, but I really am really glad I did it. I met a lot of kind, amazing people who were such a great support team. It was just really lovely for the brief time that I got to know them. And you can never have too many good people in your life. So overall I would say it was a really positive experience. And I don’t know if I would consider doing something like this again in the future or not. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the future brings.”
“The Masked Dancer” airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.