Dancing with the Stars Reigning Champ Laurie Hernandez Shares Her No. 1 Advice for Simone Biles
Laurie Hernandez, the season 23 winner of Dancing with the Stars, is so proud of her U.S. Olympic Gymnastics teammate Simone Biles in her quest for this season’s coveted Mirrorball Trophy — and she has some important advice for her, too.
“I suggest that Simone wear socks under her shoes while practicing so she won’t get blisters on her feet,” Hernandez told PEOPLE Tuesday after receiving the Latinovator Award at Hispanicize 2017 in Miami, where she unveiled her first-ever Crest Toothpaste commercial (set to air April 10 on Spanish language networks).
“I learned this myself while competing and am happy to pass on the tip to Simone!” she added.
“I think the photos were amazing for body positioning,” said Hernandez. “As gymnasts, we take pride in our bodies. I would need to ask my mom if I could do something like that. It’s a subject we may discuss later!”
After winning gold and silver medals at last summer’s Rio Olympics, Hernandez, who started gymnastics at age 5, is so busy with her career that she barely has time to kick up her heels. With her duties as a sponsored jock for the Crest ad campaign, the travel required to promote her book, I Got This: To Gold and Beyond, and the time spent attending national clinics with young girls in gymnastics, Hernandez is having the time of her life.
“I now have many opportunities and am so grateful,” says Hernandez who has been praised for her grace and artistry on the balance beam. “I love doing the clinics where kids are active in fundraisers, and I give them feedback. It’s very rewarding and brings back memories of when I first started.”
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Hernandez is also proud to have become a Latina role model for girls of all ages.
“It was great to go to the Olympics and represent Hispanics,” she said. “My advice is to try something new and don’t be afraid to go after your dreams!”
While Hernandez is not currently in training due to her hectic schedule, she plans on going back to the regimen in a few months.
“Everything we’re doing now is exciting, and especially airing my first commercial because it means so much to my mom,” she says of the storyline, which reenacts a day in her life. “We’re discussing my future and what I’m going to do.”
This summer she will be traveling for work and would also like to vacation in Greece, a country she’s eager to explore. She also hopes to go to college and wants to become an actress.
“I’m dipping my toes into acting and still figuring out where my life will take me,” she says. “I’m too busy to date anyone now, but things are great. I’m having lots of fun. I feel so happy!”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.