The Stunning Transformation Of Rylee Arnold

Viewers of "Dancing With the Stars" were introduced to a fresh-but-not-entirely-unfamiliar face during the show's 32nd season in 2023: Rylee Arnold, a new pro dancer making her debut on the show. When she joined "DWTS," Rylee was uniquely positioned for the job: Lindsay Arnold, her oldest sister, was also a pro dancer on the show, winning the Mirrorball trophy back in 2017 alongside dance partner Jordan Fisher. As Rylee told "Good Morning America," she'd pretty much spent her whole life preparing for her new gig, having studied dance since she was a kid. "I was on a competitive team, I did ballroom dancing, so I competed all over the nation," she shared.

Rylee, who was born on June 5, 2005 and raised in Provo, Utah, was more than ready to take the small screen by storm. "I just found a lot of joy throughout my dance career, just performing and being in front of a camera, which is what I'm going to be doing," she said. "So, I am just so excited to do that."

During her debut season on the show, this dancer certainly made an impression on both "DWTS" judges and the show's viewers — and she's only just begun. To find out more about the dynamic performer, keep on reading to experience the stunning transformation of Rylee Arnold. 

Dancing is in Rylee Arnold's blood

After older sister Lindsay Arnold found success on "Dancing With the Stars," Rylee Arnold was eager to jump into the competition herself. Yet Lindsay and Rylee aren't the only dancers in the family. Their sisters Jensen Arnold and Brynley Arnold are also talented ballroom dancers in their own right. The siblings' love of dance was fostered by their mother, Mindy Arnold, who operated her own dance studio in Utah. Naturally, all four sisters trained together at their mom's establishment.

Like Lindsay and Rylee, Jensen has also danced on television: In 2018, she competed on "So You Think You Can Dance," making it all the way to the finals and finishing in 2nd place. Brynley is the only sibling who hasn't thrown her hat in the dance competition reality show ring. The third eldest Arnold sister became a registered nurse in 2020 and continues to work in the healthcare field.

Meanwhile, all four sisters share their lives with more than 160,000 followers on their own YouTube channel, The Arnold Sisters, with videos ranging from pregnancy and baby updates, to detailing their morning routines, to one in which the sisters attempt to teach their father how to salsa dance.

She couldn't wait to follow in her big sister's footsteps

For years, Rylee Arnold religiously tuned in to "Dancing With the Stars" to see her big sis display her skills on television. "Watching Lindsay on the show was such a fun experience and made me want to do the show even more," Rylee told "Good Morning America," revealing that in addition to watching on TV, she'd also show up at the studio to view tapings in person. For Rylee, Lindsay was a role model whose career path was one that she wished to emulate. "I just remember when I was like 8 or 9, after a show one time, I was trying to choreograph a dance for Lindsay because I just literally wanted to be on the show so bad," she said.

That lifelong immersion in the show proved to be invaluable when she was eventually hired as a dancer. "It's really helpful to me that I got to experience that because I'm not just coming from not knowing anything about the show or not knowing how things work," she said. In addition to having an insider's understanding of the inner workings of the show, having seen it up close since she was a kid, she already felt like part of the "DWTS" family even before she was tapped to become a pro dancer. "All the people on the show already are like big sisters and brothers to me," she added.

She competed on Dancing With the Stars Juniors in 2018

Rylee Arnold may have been a newbie to "Dancing With the Stars" when she joined in 2023, but she actually had prior experience as a dancer on a related show. Back in 2018, she competed in "Dancing With the Stars: Juniors." That series, which ran for just one season, featured Jordan Fisher (who won the "DWTS" Mirrorball trophy in 2018 alongside Rylee's big sis, Lindsay Arnold) and "Malcom and the Middle" alum Frankie Muniz as hosts. With choreographer Mandy Moore, "DWTS" fan-favorite dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, and Olympic ice skater Adam Rippon sitting behind the judges' table, the "Juniors" format copied the original show, with the key difference being that the "stars" are child stars partnered with similarly aged dancers. Each of the pairings were then mentored by one of the original series' pro dancers; Rylee and "Black-ish" actor Miles Brown were coached by Lindsay. 

Of course, just because her big sister was a "DWTS" pro didn't guarantee the 13-year-old a spot on the junior edition; in order to be considered, she first needed to pass an audition just like any aspiring dancer, an experience she recalled as being particularly tense. "It was really nerve-wracking because all I wanted was to be on the show," Rylee told Dance Dish

Years after the fact, appearing on "Dancing With the Stars: Juniors" continued to be a highlight for her. "That was the best experience ever," Rylee told "Good Morning America." 

She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2021

In 2021, Rylee Arnold posted a video on The Arnold Sisters YouTube channel to share a health update. In that video, she revealed that she'd been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 is the result of the pancreas ceasing to produce insulin, meaning that one's blood sugar must be carefully managed while appropriate levels of insulin are fed into the bloodstream. 

Arnold posted another video, this one on TikTok, in which she recounted how she came to be diagnosed. As she told her followers, she began to feel tired and run down. She also noticed that she was urinating more frequently than usual and drinking gallons of water to slake her seemingly insatiable thirst. She also realized she was eating more than she typically did, but had been losing weight. Initially, she attributed her voracious craving for food and water to being in the midst of traveling to dance competitions during a particularly busy and active time. Coincidentally, she randomly viewed a TikTok video detailing the symptoms of type 1 diabetes and began to put it together. "I was like, holy crap, I have diabetes," she recalled.

However, it wasn't until she blacked out after a high-carb meal washed down with a sugary soda that she was able to convince her parents she should see a medical professional. A doctor soon confirmed her suspicions with an official diagnosis. 

Rylee Arnold became Dancing WIth the Stars' youngest pro dancer

Shortly after Rylee Arnold graduated from high school in 2023, she joined "Dancing With the Stars." At 18 years old, she made history as the youngest pro dancer to ever compete on the show. "I have dreamt about this moment for my entire life," Rylee declared while appearing on "Good Morning America."

Speaking about her new role during an interview with ET, Rylee reiterated her excitement at fulfilling her "DWTS" dreams, while also confirming that big sis Lindsay Arnold was sitting out that season (and maybe longer) after having recently welcomed her second child. "I'm kind of taking her spot, and it might be that way for a little while," she explained. 

In the aforementioned chat with ET, Rylee was reminded of just how young she was (and how long "DWTS" has been on the air, for that matter). The dancer was born just four days after the first season premiered; Rylee's never known life without "DWTS." "It's crazy that this show has literally been here as long as I've lived," she marveled, "but I love it — it's great!" Given that she'd only recently turned 18, Rylee was jazzed about the prospect that her presence on the reality series could attract viewers her age, who'd be tuning in to watch her. "I think it's really awesome that I'm gonna have the younger demographic come to the show," she added.

She was partnered with reality star Harry Jowsey on DWTS

For her inaugural season on "Dancing With the Stars," Rylee Arnold had Harry Jowsey as her dance partner. In addition to being a popular YouTube personality, Jowsey's also no stranger to the wild world of reality television. He made his television debut in 2018 for the first season of U.K. dating show "Heartbreak Island" — which he wound up winning alongside Georgia Bryers (although the couple split up after the show). He then appeared in Netflix's "Too Hot to Handle," "The Amazing Race Australia," "Match Me if You Can,", "Floor is Lava," and "Love Island Australia."

All that led him to "Dancing With the Stars" for the show's 32nd season. While the pair were a hit with viewers, they never made it to the finish line. They were eliminated during "Taylor Swift Week" when their rumba to Swift's "August" failed to impress the judges. "It's frustrating because we're so close but it's also really incredible because we made it this far," Jowsey said during a post-elimination appearance on "Good Morning America," as reported by ABC News.

Jowsey credited Arnold's skills on the dance floor for bringing them to that point, given his own inexperience as a dancer. "It's so wild that on Rylee's first season she made it this far with someone who can't dance," he jokingly added. "The odds aren't in our favor to make it this far, but she did it. She made it happen, and it's really incredible."

Rumors of romance sparked when she spent Thanksgiving with Harry Jowsey

Viewers who watched Rylee Arnold and Harry Jowsey burn up the dance floor on "Dancing With the Stars" couldn't help but notice the chemistry between the two. Some may have wondered whether that rapport extended beyond dancing, and rumors began to simmer that perhaps the two were a couple. 

After one of their "DWTS" performances, the duo were posed that question while interviewed by ET, and asked to respond to being nicknamed the "Roman Empire" by "DWTS" fans. "Um, we just enjoy hanging out, and we love each other," Jowsey said, a response that neither confirmed nor denied they were a couple. He then implied that, whether they were or not, they were enjoying being at the center of all those rumors. "Keep the mystery, innit?" he added. Arnold also shared her two cents about the rumors. "Literally freaking out," she admitted, "'cause I'm like, 'Wow, what? People think of us that way?' But I love it."

While they didn't affirm they were one of the couples to emerge from "Dancing With the Stars," rumors heated up from a low simmer to a rolling boil when Arnold revealed on an episode of the "Lightweights Podcast" that she'd invited Jowsey to spend Thanksgiving with her and her family. "He had a good time, I think, and all my nieces and nephews really loved him, so it was really cute," she said of Jowsey's presence at her family's home.

Further romance rumors were sparked by an expensive bracelet

Despite spending Thanksgiving together, Rylee Arnold and her "Dancing With the Stars" dance partner Harry Jowsey kept on implying that their relationship was a friendship and not a romance. However, rumors of coupledom blew up once again when Jowsey gifted Arnold with a diamond-encrusted gold bracelet from Van Cleef & Arpels, worth an estimated $15,000. During the Thanksgiving holiday, he even shared a video of himself presenting the bracelet to her, then posted her reaction to Snapchat.

In January 2024, ET caught up with Jowsey on a red carpet, where he had nothing but praise for Arnold. "She's such a sweetheart," Jowsey gushed. "She's everything; she's such a special human. I can't believe I got to spend all of that time with her ... I have so much love for her, she's incredible."

Asked about the significance of the pricey bling that he gave to Arnold, Jowsey explained that it was his way of making up for not winning the Mirrorball. "Well, I love her, so I just thought, you know, we didn't get the trophy 'cause I can't dance. So I give you your own trophy," he told ET. "So, hopefully, that makes up for it." Addressing fans' hopes that the two might eventually shift their relationship out of the friend zone, he admitted the door was open to a potential romance. "Well, who knows? Who knows what could happen?" he teased. "[Leave] a little bit of hope."

She and Harry Jowsey went on tour with Dancing With the Stars

Under normal circumstances, Rylee Arnold would have returned to Utah while her "Dancing With the Stars" dance partner Harry Jowsey would have remained in Los Angeles. However, the two were able to spend even more time together when they signed on for the "Dancing With the Stars: Live!" tour, which hit the road in February 2024 and traveled throughout the U.S. until late March. 

In a return appearance on the "Lightweights Podcast," Arnold was asked what she'd learned about Jowsey now that they were not only dancing together, but were also traveling together. "I mean, since we're together 24/7 now, he's a really hard worker," Arnold declared, marveling that he was managing to launch a new podcast and maintaining constant communication with his manager, all while on tour. "Everything in check while also doing this brand-new thing that he's never done before, which is tour," she added. 

While on tour, Arnold was interviewed by Spokane's KXLY News, and continued to gush about how much she was enjoying getting to spend so much time with Jowsey while traveling the country. "It's been so fun, he's just like my best friend, so it's really special to have him out here, and to have him here to do things with, and just spend time with," she said.

She gave fans an inside look at the DWTS tour bus

While traveling the country on the "Dancing With the Stars: Live!" tour, Rylee Arnold went from city to city in a tricked-out tour bus. With time on her hands, she took to social media to share the experience of her first dance tour with her followers on social media. 

In January 2024, she took TikTok followers on a guided tour of the vehicle, showcasing some of its more unique features. After working her way through the living space — complete with a small kitchenette — and dining area, she filmed the tiny bathroom and then headed to the back of the bus. At one point, she went to the back of the bus that features a small room where celebrity guests who join the tour are assigned to sleep. "There are no celebs on our bus right now, so we've got bags ... we call this the junk bunk," she said, explaining that she and the other pro dancers will clean the room out so it's junk-free whenever a celeb arrives and needs the space.

She elaborated on the sleeping arrangements during an appearance on the "Lightweights Podcast," revealing that there she is one of two buses used during the tour. On her bus, there are eight bunks at the front — occupied by her and seven other dancers — while Harry Jowsey takes the back bunk whenever he joins the tour in his capacity as a guest star.

She was injured during the DWTS tour, but returned to the stage

During the "Dancing With the Stars: Live!" tour, Rylee Arnold took to Snapchat in March 2024 to reveal she was injured while performing in St. Louis. "I just need to rest for now," she wrote (via Heavy).

Her injury was apparently not severe enough to keep her off the stage, as she continued to dance during subsequent performances. She addressed fans' concerns in a post she shared on Instagram Stories (via Heavy). "So grateful for all the sweet messages I have been getting and I'm feeling and getting better!" she wrote. In another Snapchat post, she revealed that the injury involved her hip; while she didn't offer much detail about the nature of her injury, she did reveal it was improving with the help of physical therapy. 

As for what's next, Arnold would jump at the chance to return for a second season of "Dancing With the Stars." However, as she told the Tahoe Daily Tribune in March 2024, she wouldn't know if she'd be back until closer to the fall. "You don't find out until later," she said, "but we can always hope that I will be on next season."