Sailor Brinkley-Cook was more than a little intimidated when it came to stepping into mom Christie Brinkley's shoes on Dancing With the Stars after the supermodel suffered a serious injury to her arm and wrist that left her unable to perform for the rest of the season. After she and partner Val Chmerkovskiy wowed the judges after only three days of practice, taking home an 18/30 for their foxtrot to "Uptown Girl," Sailor told PEOPLE she initially was hesitant to take to the dance floor.
“I didn’t want to at first, honestly,” the 21-year-old model admitted. “I was terrified. It was a very scary thing for me. The whole idea of having to be live on stage, be on TV dancing, that’s something I’ve never done before.”
“I was so scared, but that was the reason I had to do it,” she continued. “I had to surpass the fear. I had to be stronger than the things that scare me.”
A little encouragement from her mom certainly helped.
“[My mom] told me to have fun with it and to not let fear stop me from doing any of it,” Sailor added.
Chmerkovskiy was likewise trying to roll with the punches when it came to switching out his partner last minute.
“Obviously it was a very extraordinary situation, but it wouldn’t be Dancing With the Stars without a little excitement,” the pro dancer added to the outlet. “In 15 seasons I’ve never had an experience like this.”
Despite the stress, he added, “I’m glad I did. I’m glad I was the one that was put in this position. I’m really grateful for the challenge and I’m grateful I got to share it with an awesome person like Sailor.”
Christie, meanwhile, is still suffering some pretty intense pain after a fall left her with multiple broken bones, a dislocated wrist and required surgery to repair her shattered arm.
“I’m telling you I was having the time of my life,” she told the outlet of giving up her dancing dream. “So it was really, really a crushing, crushing disappointment in every way. Literally, figuratively everything that happened. And one of the worst feelings is to feel like you’re letting anybody down, you know?”
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless