Dancing With the Stars pro dancer Jenna Johnson's close friend Lindsay Arnold just welcomed her first child and Johnson cannot wait to meet her. Arnold and her husband Sam Cusick welcomed daughter Sage Jill Cusick on Nov. 2. But since the DWTS cast and crew are isolated from their friends and family during the season, Johnson still has not met young Sage in person.
In an exclusive with PopCulture.com, Johnson said Arnold is doing "amazing" and "loving" life as mom to a baby girl. "I am so proud and happy for her, seeing her as a mother," Johnson said. "I feel like it's something that she's always wanted and always talked about. But to now watch it happen, has just been so beautiful. So I cannot wait to see and meet baby Sage. I'm so excited."
Arnold shared frequent updates with fans on Instagram during her pregnancy journey and also shared a video about Sage's birth on Nov. 8. On Friday, she shared a postpartum update with fans, noting that she is "incredibly grateful" for her body. "I think it's easy to only feel grateful for our bodies when we feel we are at our tip-top shape but I have truly never felt more proud of my body and it's tired/sore muscles, sore nipples, and my new c section scar that will always remind me of the most special day of my life when we got to hold our little girl for the first time," Arnold wrote.
Between episodes, the dancers have had to be isolated with their partners to help slow the coronavirus pandemic. This not only meant that Johnson couldn't meet Arnold's baby right away, but she also could not celebrate her one-year anniversary with husband Val Chmerkovskiy until after he was eliminated earlier this season. "Seeing him on set and not running up and being able to kiss him or hug him or touch him... that was pretty difficult," she said. "But I'm really grateful to Dancing With the Stars, that they've taken, all the precautions so seriously and that we've been able to work."
While Johnson waits for a chance to meet Sage, she certainly has a full plate. She is one of the frontrunners for the Mirror Ball trophy this season, thanks to her strong scores with her celebrity partner, Catfish host Nev Schulman. The frontrunner status is a little intimidating to Johnson, especially this late into a season.
"That word is just terrifying because I feel like, especially this season... it flip-flops every week," Johnson told PopCulture. "I think it is so close with all of the remaining contestants, that it could go any which way. And so I think, Nev and I just want to stay consistent. Keep doing what we're doing and focus on being our best each week." Johnson and Schulman will hit the dance floor again for the semifinals at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Monday.