Olympian Laurie Hernandez is blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about her quest to take home the Dancing With the Stars season 23 Mirrorball Trophy! Check back each week for her latest update on the competition.
So this week, doing the Face-Off was … interesting! I was really nervous to go up against Marilu Henner because she has that beautiful frame. Especially for tango, but for other ballroom dances too. So I was a little nervous because she’s so good, and she’s also got so much more life experience than I have, so she's able to show off that emotion. That’s why I said, “Oooh, I’m thinking about a quesadilla!” because I don’t have that experience. I’ve never had a boyfriend! And I can’t say, “Ooh! Dave Franco!” because I haven’t met him before. But hint hint, Dave, if you’re reading this, I really want to meet you! Please come to the show!
I was struggling to get into the tango character, but once they put me in the dark lips and crazy eyes, I said, “I’m good now!” I got it after that. I went 16 to 25 REAL fast. I had such a sexy outfit — slits for both legs, not just one. And wearing my hair down … girl, I wasn’t ready! Val slicked back his hair for this dance and my hair was straight too – so we matched. It’s funny watching him gel it back. He’s high maintenance with his hair, but listen, if it’s curly you have to be. I relate to that!
I think after this week — you know when you play video games you get to another level and you’ll unlock a character? — it’s like I just unlocked my tango character. I already started off with this bubbly character and that’s me, that’s the main person, and then I have other characters that I have to discover. I really liked doing the tango. Even though we lost a point for doing a lift, that was OK with me. Honestly, I don’t really know the rules of tango!
I have had a huge week. First of all, I got to meet my idol, Tori Kelly! I can’t even talk about meeting Tori Kelly! Basically my manager called me after my show and said, "I want you to meet a friend of mine,” and she came out from behind. I was so overwhelmed I had to walk away for a second — otherwise I would have had a heart attack.
Tori was like, “Why do you keep running away from me?!” It was so embarrassing. I’ve never been so starstruck in my life. I can’t even remember what we talked about. She was so nice. She’s perfect! I have to figure out a way to dance to one of Tori’s songs on DWTS. She has so many great songs — her music is so heartfelt and I feel like I can relate to so many of her songs. Except for the ones about boys because I’m not really there yet. Like I said, I’ve still got a teddy bear that I sleep with!
Then I got to go to the White House on Thursday with other Olympians! That was so exciting. We got to meet the President and Mrs. Obama and take some fun Boomerangs with her. We had a lot of fun doing that. Michelle was so nice. She was telling us how she tweets, and if she wants to tweet something or someone, she calls someone and they do it for her. I don’t know if she knows how to tweet on her own!
This has been a really exciting few months — we did the Olympics, I met Tori Kelly, I’m on DWTS, I went to the White House — it’s all crazy. I’m hanging with the big dogs now!
I couldn’t even tell you what my schedule is. I think I have been in five states this week. I get a text message every morning telling me my schedule and where I’m going to go! Something that Val has taught me when we’re dancing is that even if I trip while we’re rehearsing, he still makes me finish the dance. So now I look at my life that way — I could still just go with the flow even if there’s too much stuff going on.
This coming week on DWTS it’s a Cirque du Soleil theme and we got Michael Jackson: ONE. We’re dancing to “The Way You Make Me Feel,” which is such an awesome song. Since I’ve been traveling so much, Val sent me a video today of him dancing with another person who is doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and he said, “Watch this and learn as much as you can before tomorrow!” I was like, “Oh no!”
I kind of learned the beginning, and then there’s a mini solo part at the end, and I’m working on it. I’m not really able to get up and do it, I’m only able to watch since I’ve been on a plane, but I’m watching it and visualizing what it will be like to dance it. I have a show Thursday night, and then Friday, I think Val is flying to Texas and we’ll have a rehearsal in the morning and then a show at night. After the show, I’m going to back to L.A., so Saturday and Sunday I’ll have time to practice — but not much time!
I hope we get it all down before Monday!
Watch Dancing With the Stars Monday, October 3, on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.
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