For most amputees, the anxieties, insecurities, and body issues that come with losing a limb never really go away. They remain just below the surface, ready to pop out at any moment. For Roxanne Day, a below-knee amputee (right leg), it happened when a representative from NBC contacted her to try out for Dancing With Myself, a reality series featuring Shakira, Nick Jonas, and Liza Koshy.
She was the only amputee on the show, and although Day had already attracted 30,000 followers on Instagram (@fleur_de_lis_amputee), where she posts dance videos, she felt “the whole grieving process” again. In an interview with Living With Amplitude, Day explained that she couldn’t help but compare herself to the other contestants because of how different she looked.
Day felt the whole grieving process again. She couldn’t help but compare herself to the other contestants because of how different she looked.
When Day expressed her reservations to the NBC representative, the woman reassured her saying, “I’ve seen you dance on Instagram. What disability do you really have?"
After picking up the courage to join, another hurdle presented itself: Day was afraid that she wouldn’t get her husband’s and kids’ support to go on TV and dance. It took her several days before mustering up the courage to share the news.
When she got their approval and support, Day said in the same interview that she didn’t even know why she hesitated; her family has always been “super supportive.” However, this is the reality for most amputees: doubts will always be at the back of the mind, ready to hold them back from doing what they want.
Before going on the show, Day had to learn four dances and record herself doing them. After she sent her videos to NBC, she got on some Zoom meetings. Although the process took a while, Day finally received the news that she was accepted to the show.
In January 2022, Day went to Orlando, Florida, to have some new sockets made by Stan Patterson, who made Amy Purdy’s prosthetic leg for Dancing With The Stars.
For Day’s stint on Dancing With Myself, Patterson created a high heel leg and custom silicone liners for cushioning and protection. According to Day, walking on her new leg felt like “walking on TempurPedic.”
Despite her acceptance to the show and her new high-heel prosthetic leg, Day was still plagued with doubts about doing the show. But Patterson encouraged her, saying, “I’ve told you this from day one; you are something special. Nothing stops you. So do this, represent yourself and everyone like you, and be proud.”
“Go represent yourself and everyone else like you, and be proud.”
– Stan Patterson
Day pushed through and went to Atlanta, Georgia, in March 2022 to tape the show. She said the taping was “a surreal, out-of-body experience.” Although she usually doesn’t have problems sweating under her prosthetic liner, Day had to take her leg off and let her liner dry for a bit between filming each dance.
Day also got to speak with Shakira, who viewed her audition videos, and Nick Jonas. When the taping was over, Day said she felt proud that she didn’t allow limb loss to hold her back. “It was a tough process to pull myself out of my struggles and regain my confidence and accept this leg as an extension of me,” she said.
“It was a tough process to pull myself out of my struggles, regain my confidence, and accept this leg as an extension of me.”
- Roxanne Day
According to Day, she’s usually hesitant to talk about her successes because other amputees will compare themselves to her. “You don’t want to rub it in anyone’s face. But if there’s one piece of advice I can give, it’s never to compare yourself to another amputee,” she said.
“I used to compare myself to other amputees that I would see on social media, and that can break you. [But] everyone’s on their own journey, and it should never stop you because you can’t do what another person’s doing,” Day added.
Instead of comparing herself to other amputees who are also doing great things, Day resolved to use others’ success to inspire her to work harder. “I don’t have to be like them, but it shows me that I can do more than I think. [But] you have to overcome the fear of failure,” she said.Roxanne Day’s episode aired on June 6, 2022, on NBC. You can still stream the show on Peacock.