Laurie Hernandez is an example of self-improvement. Let’s not forget that the 16-year-old gymnast made history by becoming the youngest athlete to participate at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Hernandez, the Old Bridge Township-born daughter whose parents are Puerto Rican has an inspiring story. Laurie spoke to us on a video special called 'From Me To Me', where she talked fondly to the girl she was just a few years ago.
The gymnast had to give some very specific lessons to her younger self, “Dear little Laurie, the biggest piece of advice I have for you is to trust yourself. Everything you feel in your heart and head will steer you in the right direction.”
“Your instincts will never lead you the wrong way,” she said with a smile on her face.
When Hernandez spoke about ideals and those characters that marked her life and even motivated her to achieve all of her goals, she highlighted that her first Latin hero was Rita Moreno for 'West Side Story', a film that was released in 1961.
The joy that the actress radiated in the film made Hernandez feel very energetic and she tried to recreate it in everything she does on a daily basis.
Not everything has been great or happy throughout the athlete’s 20 years of life. That is why when she recounted the greatest obstacle she faced and how she overcame it, she detailed times when she felt alone, however, she pointed out that it was all worth it because now she is a source of inspiration that catapults change for the better.
“The Latinx community showed me their support by making sure I knew they were there for me and that I had a family who had my back. Because I think that’s part of our culture: is making sure everybody knows we are family,” said Hernandez.
The gymnast told her younger self that if there’s anything that she will regret doing it will be that “you move on so quickly through things, sometimes you can forget to enjoy them for the blessings that they are.”
“Don’t forget to slow down and stop and smell the roses,” she added.
There is no doubt that Hernandez opened up to us so be sure to check out the video above so you don't miss any details of everything she said.