By Ingrid Meilan
At the young age of 16, Olympian Laurie Hernandez is already a role model. In fact, after the gymnast took home the Mirrorball trophy on season 23 of Dancing with the Stars with partner Val Chmerkovskiy, Hernandez said that inspiring young people was her No. 1 goal.
And while the spunky teenager aspires to be someone that her fans can look up to, Hernandez says she had some magical role models of her own growing up. “I love everything Disney!” Hernandez told D23 at the fifth annual Radio Disney Music Awards. “Everybody here just wants to show up and have fun and I love that,” Hernandez said of the April 29 show.
While Hernandez (who also recently authored a best-selling memoir, I Got This: To Gold and Beyond) got to make new Disney memories of her own, meeting her favorite Disney Channel stars at the RDMA, we asked Laurie to share her “Fab Five” Disney role models. She had a tough time picking just five, but here is her list:
“I love her whole persona and her attitude. And I love the fact that she just can’t deny the urge to go out into the sea and see what’s out there. I feel like I can relate to her because I’m constantly like, ‘I want to see what’s on the other side! I don’t want to stay in the safe zone!’ I want to go past that reef! I’ve been staring at the edge of the water as long as I can remember, too!”
2. Elsa and Anna
“I have to have both Elsa and Anna share a spot on the list. I love their partnership. They remind me of my sister and me. But my sister would have still made me a snowman and she wouldn’t have told me to go away!”
3. Snow White
“I love Snow White. I just think she’s so gorgeous and elegant. She has a different look than all the other princesses. She’s a classic. And I love how sweet and kind she is.”
“I love how Cinderella takes care of herself. People had preconceived notions about her and she goes up against them and defies their expectations. I love that people see the natural beauty in her. And also, who doesn’t want a fairy godmother? I want one!”
“Mulan is one of my favorites—her father wanted this male soldier [for a son] and someone who could fight. He got a girl and was disappointed… but then she went out and proved that a girl can be strong and a soldier and a warrior. She was better than all of them! Go, girl!”