Written Recap by: Seacrest Studios Intern, Breeana Kovelman
Video Recap by: Seacrest Studios Intern, Carrie Smith
This past Valentine’s Day, Seacrest Studios at Children’s Hospital Orange County was visited by Laurie Hernandez, Olympian gymnast and Dancing with the Stars champ. Taking a break from her busy DWTS tour, Hernandez stopped by to hang out with some biggest fans in the hospital.
Hernandez sat down for a quick interview to talk about her experiences in the Olympics and with Dancing with the Stars. When asked about her time in Rio, she explained how exhilarating it was to be part of the Olympics and how much she enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. Where would she meet all of these athletes? In the cafeteria! She also talked about how important it was to maintain a healthy diet to stay in shape for her events.
When asked how she became inspired to be an athlete, Hernandez spoke about when she was very young, “I saw a gymnast on TV and I told my mom, ‘that’s what I want to do!’” She knew from the beginning exactly what she wanted to pursue in life and she has taken that determination to great lengths. And it was easy to tell how Hernandez also earned the nickname, “the Human Emoji” from her smiling face and animated expressions throughout her visit.
Even though she had two injuries back in 2014 involving her wrist and her knee, Hernandez mentioned how badly she wanted to get back to competing with all of her fellow athletes. Even though it felt like she was missing out, Hernandez knew how important it was to let herself rest, heal, and fully recover. She did recover and it obviously did not hold her back from being a gold and silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics! Hernandez also has written a book I Got This: To Gold and Beyond to share her inspiring journey.
As if participating in the Olympics and writing a book did not make her busy enough, Hernandez also competed in Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars, winning the mirrorball trophy with her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy. Hernandez spoke about how competing as a gymnast differed from performing for DWTS. She definitely had butterflies for both! But in the dance competition, she mentioned the challenge of implementing the judges critique from the last performance as she learned an entirely new routine each week. Quite a contrast in pace compared to her gymnastics. The competition was a whirlwind of dance origins lessons, choreography rehearsals, stage rehearsals, and costume fittings. Her favorite performance was her final dance that involved a Foxtrot-Tango fusion where she truly enjoyed combining both of the dance styles.
Next, some of the children in the studio asked Hernandez some of their own questions. Such as, “do you have any siblings?” (Yes, she’s the youngest of three!) and “what is the longest you’ve held a handstand away from a wall?” (Two whole minutes!). Following a quick break, Hernandez played a game of “Flip or Flop” where we learned whether or not she was daring enough to do certain things. She would go skydiving, hang-gliding, or ziplining but would not go swimming in a shark cage or go white water rafting (unless it was with her “Final Five” teammates).
Thank you Laurie for visiting us!