In one of the more surprising “The Masked Dancer” reveals in the show’s history, the identity of the Moth was just revealed to be child safety activist and author Elizabeth Smart.
Smart, 33, was unveiled as the Moth during Wednesday’s episode. She teared up on stage as she explained why she went on the show and what the experience meant to her.
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“My grandma actually passed away very recently, but she was so much fun,” she said. “She never let a moment pass her by, and so when this opportunity came along, I thought, I live a pretty serious life, and I’m going to take this opportunity and just have fun.”
She also revealed that the number 286 from her previous clue package had a special meaning: it represented the time she testified before the Utah House of Representatives in favor of HB 286, a child safety bill that would create a curriculum for Utah schools to use on sexual abuse prevention.
Smart was kidnapped in 2002 at age 14 by Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. She was raped and tortured nearly every day during the nine months she was held captive. Now, she is an advocate for sexual assault prevention and recovery.
Before she was revealed on “The Masked Dancer,” guesses for her identity included Jewel, Megyn Kelly, Karlie Kloss and Kathy Griffin. But panelist Brian Austin Green had suspected it was Smart.
“Last performance in (the) clue package, I was really stuck on the White House … and this woman is the ultimate survivor,” he said before the reveal. “She’s met with the presidents, she’s stood in front of Congress and tried to change protection laws for children, so I’m sticking with Elizabeth Smart.”
After Smart’s reveal, panelist Ashley Tisdale shared a sweet message on Twitter.
“Watching @ElizSmart get emotional makes me emotional,” she wrote.
In an extended interview clip posted on Twitter, Smart gushed about her beautiful moth costume.
“The thing about the moth costume is, usually when you get closer to things, I feel like you end up being a little bit disappointed because it looks really great from far away but then you get closer, you see the Scotch tape or the Elmer’s glue dripping down somewhere,” she said. “That’s not true of this costume. It only gets more and more beautiful as you get closer and closer.”
She also talked about what this lighthearted experience meant to her.
“Being on ‘The Masked Dancer’ taught me that having fun is a good thing, and putting myself in new arenas way outside of my comfort zone,” she said. “It’s all good things.”