Career

Jess Quinn on overcoming obstacles and life after DWTS

We sat down with Jess for some post-show analysis as well as to find out what's next for the popular DWTS contestant.

By Karyn Henger

If New Zealanders didn't know who Jess Quinn was before, they do now. The bright and bubbly social media influencer and amputee wowed us all by dancing her way into the finals of Dancing With The Stars 2018 with dance partner Jonny Williams - proving that adversity does not have to hold you back from achieving the seemingly impossible.

Jess, who runs inspirational blog, Plan Be, which encourages people to be open to taking a new path when Plan A is derailed, is one gutsy girl. She knows better than most that you have to embrace life for what it is, and make the most of opportunities.

At age nine she was diagnosed with bone cancer and after months of grueling chemotherapy treatment the decision was made to amputate her right leg.

Jess, now 25, struggled in her teens to come to terms with her adversity.

"I remember thinking, 'Man, I thought the cancer was the hard part, that was nothing'. It's that moment when you think you've been climbing a mountain but you realise that was just the hill. The mountain is ahead," she says.

"I spent my adolescent years questioning everything, beating myself up, asking 'Why me? What did I do to deserve this?' I wanted so badly to be just like my friends..."

"But something I have since learnt is cancer, or any adversity for that matter, isn't selective on its victims. And yes, that is not at all fair, but life is just as fair as it is unfair.

"Every mountain we are given, every obstacle we have to side step or battle through is an opportunity for us to grow, to learn, to fight, and boy was I about to fight."

Jess and Jonny on Dancing With The Stars.
Jess and Jonny on Dancing With The Stars.

We saw that fight on the DWTS dance floor every week, where Jess executed highly technical and daring dance moves with style and grace on live television, despite dancing with a blade.

The preparation for each live show involved training every day for up to 12 or 14 hours. Jess lived, breathed and ate ballroom dancing for three months.

So now the show is over, what's next for Jess Quinn? She admits she misses it, but is not sitting around twiddling her thumbs.

This week Jess jets off to LA to fulfill an international modelling contract with Natural Models LA.

She also has a number of motivational speaking engagements lined up.

We caught up with Jess just before she left for LA to find out more - it's all in our video, above.