Sasha Pieterse is feeling relieved.
During Tuesday’s episode, the Pretty Little Liars star surprised fans when she got emotional opening up about gaining “70ish pounds” in two years, which she later learned was due to a hormone condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Her samba with partner Gleb Savchenko was inspired by her struggles with the condition and with the criticism she received on social media over her weight gain, with the performance earning praise from the judges and viewers.
“Honestly, it’s a big relief,” Sasha told E! News after the show about finally revealing her condition to the public. “I’m glad that people know and it really is about awareness and letting that sit for people that may have it and they don’t know.”
Aside from finally being able to talk about her struggles with PCOS, Sasha, 21, is hoping her performance inspired women who could possibly have the same condition to seek treatment.
“I really want women who have this to figure it out because it really does affect you later in life,” Sasha, who has lost 15 pounds since joining the show, explained. “It can lead to ovarian cancer and infertility and breast cancer and all kinds of things. So the fact that I have that platform and he incorporated that into the dance and we did it and we performed it and it felt awesome is all I can ask for.”
As for Gleb, he was quick to gush over his partner, telling us, “I’m so proud of Sasha. I was so excited after the dance!”
Looking ahead to next week, the couple admitted they were excited they didn’t have to learn two dances again and were looking forward to the night’s “Guilty Pleasures” theme, as booth Sasha and Gleb share a similar one: “My guilty pleasure is baking,” Sasha said, while Gleb added, “I love cooking, too!”
Oh, and for any Pretty Little Liars fans concerned over the future of Emison (Emily and Alison, duh!) after it was announced that Sasha would be starring in a spinoff, The Perfectionists, with Janel Parrish on Freeform, you might want to press play on the video above to receive some very good ‘ship news from Sasha!
DWTS airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.