Reconstructive Surgery Patient J.R. Martinez Joins "Dancing with the Stars"
K. Mathews on 1 Sep 2011 at 9:00am
Dancing with the Stars announced its new cast this week, and one of the contestants receiving the most buzz is J.R. Martinez. A soap opera star and Army veteran, Martinez underwent major reconstructive surgery on his face following serious injuries he received in the line of duty.
While serving in Iraq eight years ago, Martinez drove a Humvee over a land mine. As a result, more than 40% of his body was burned. Hospitalized for nearly three years, Martinez received more than 30 cosmetic and skin graft surgeries in order to reconstruct his face.
Since returning to the U.S., Martinez has become a motivational speaker to discuss the adversity he has faced. He has also teamed with Iraq Star Inc., an organization that offers reconstructive surgery to injured war vets in order to “help our veterans heal from emotional trauma, increase self-esteem, and ease their return to their pre-war lives.
Though clearly a hero, most veterans are not considered “stars”. Martinez’s celebrity status comes from daytime’s All My Children, on which he portrays Brot Monroe, a war vet who initially faked his own death rather than burden his fiancée with his disfigurement.
Martinez will share the dance floor with eleven other fellow celebrities, including David Arquette, Ricki Lake, Ron Artest, Nancy Grace, and Chaz Bono. Martinez’s professional partner, Karina Smirnoff, is a five-time U.S. National Champion ballroom dancer who has participated on the show for nine seasons, most notably paired with season 3 runner-up Mario Lopez.
Not only will it be inspirational to see Martinez waltz his way around on the stage, but he will also serve as a solid reminder to those who dismiss all plastic surgery as acts of vanity that the motivation for these procedures are diverse and often complicated.
Click here to see an interview with Martinez.
Photo credits: Wikimedia; All My Children