Bindi Irwin, 17, has been rehearsing for Dancing with the Stars in Hollywood, with professional dance partner Derek Hough, 30, an experienced Latin and ballroom competitor featured by the ABC reality TV show since September 2007. She was the first celebrity contestant to join the cast for the two-hour season opener on September 14, 2015.
Other celebrities picked for the competition’s 21st season are singer/songwriter Nick Carter, music icon Chaka Khan, jockey Victor Espinoza, social media star Hayes Grier, actress Alexa Penavega, and Alexa’s husband singer Carlos Penavega. The final roster will be announced Wednesday, September 2, on Good Morning America.
According to her fan page Totally Bindi Irwin, Bindi has been practicing her dance moves since she was a little girl. She had this recollection to share in an interview with ABC News.
“Living in a zoo means it wasn’t always sparkly dresses but I would still dress up. I had this pink sparkly dress and fairy wings and I’d put those on and then go and dance in the zoo. My best friend was a magpie goose and my magpie goose would follow me around and we’d dance in the zoo together. Then I’d be covered in mud! My poor fairy dress – my mom has washed it more times than I can count.”
Bindi’s interaction with debonair dance partner Derek Hough has the potential for tongues wagging. Experienced in many ways, he’s had a string of love interests, namely, India de Beaufort from 2000 to 2008, Shannon Elizabeth from 2008 to 2009, Cheryl Cole from 2010 to 2011, and Nina Dobrev in 2013.
Meanwhile, Bindi is holding on to a budding romance with wakeboarding competitor Chandler Powell, 18, whom she met back in November 2013. According to Us magazine, He Instagrammed her the following message on her 17th birthday, July 23, 2015.
“Happy Birthday to this gorgeous girl! Feel very blessed to have you in my life. Counting down the days until I get to see you again! @bindisueirwin #TotallyGushing #ILoveCamping #ILoveTheOutdoors #ISwamTheCrocPond“
Bindi’s life in the spotlight began when she was just 2 years old and her father Steve Irwin cast her as a regular on his reality T.V. series, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries. His death at 44 from an encounter with a stingray left an indelible mark on her. Regarding her iconic father, People quoted her making this reflection.
“You have good days and bad days. With the huge milestones in life, I think, ‘I wish he was here for this,’ but when you lose someone so close to you they never really leave. I’m very lucky and very happy. I look back over the past 17 years and think I’ve been privileged to have done so much. But my life journey is only just starting.”
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was pierced in the chest by a stingray while he was making a documentary in Queensland. The cameraman who witnessed the incident during the shoot of The Great Barrier Reef recalled Irwin’s last words “I’m dying” after he was stabbed several times.
Bindi Sue Irwin received an early legacy from her father when he named her “Bindi” after his favorite crocodile at the Australia Zoo, and added the middle name “Sue” after the family dog, Sui. Bindi in the Australian aboriginal dialect, stands for “little girl.”
While sparkling at her Hollywood dance rehearsals, Bindi admits that she finds the whole experience more terrifying than jumping on top of a crocodile and completely different from anything she’s ever done in her life. It was upon her return from an annual crocodile research trip that she got word of her having been cast for Dancing with the Stars.
It’s been a dizzying ride for Bindi Irwin so far, from North Queensland catching crocs, to New York, then to Los Angeles.
[Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images]