J.R. Martinez is dominating Dancing With the Stars this season, and it's not because of his fancy footwork (although he's certainly not a slouch in that area).
His life, featured on People's cover, is one of triumph and redemption.
For millions of Dancing with the Stars fans, there's never been an easier contender to root for, given his dance moves, personality and compelling life story.
"I'm being blessed in so many ways, and it's because of the energy I'm putting out in the world," says the All My Children actor, who backs that claim up.
J.R. Martinez survived a 2003 explosion while a soldier serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq. The trauma was unimaginable, but worth it in the end, he says.
If not for the Humvee he was driving hitting a land mine, "My life would not be what it is today: full of joy, happiness and positivity," Martinez reflects.Since the explosion, which burned 40 percent of his body and required a grueling 34-month treatment, Martinez made a point to live every day like his last.
Whether that earns him a Mirror Ball trophy or not is irrelevant. He's already embraced and all that life has to offer and become a true role model at age 28.
He's also embraced Karina Smirnoff. A lot. That alone is amazing.
When he's not acting or dancing, Martinez travels the world as a motivational speaker, spreading his uplifting message of positivity and triumph over adversity.
"When you show people who you really are and you're genuine, you don't have to force positivity," says Martinez, who's confident with the man he's become.
"I'm not your typical person walking down the street. I'm cool with being different."