Open letter

I may not be dancing but I can still rumba!            
                                    An open letter to my fans...

from Giselle Fernandez

    To all the wonderful fans who sent me beautiful e-mails; (especially to all the women and young girls).

  I want to take a moment to thank all of you who took the time to write me after my departure from "Dancing with the Stars!" You touched my heart with your comments and I want to share my sincere thoughts with you about the experience that I think will give you a personal perspective about my concept of winning and losing.

    I want you to know, in my mind, I dance away a winner! I believe in my heart adventure is the only real currency in life -- and boy did I have a fabulous adventure. I learned so much about myself; that I had real talent and found true joy from something new I never imagined I could do before. I got the chance to live a dream and pay tribute to my beloved father. His name, Jose Fernandez, was spoken on national television before millions and that gave me immense pride to have him live again through me in this new millennium. Most importantly, I got the chance to inspire women of all ages that ALL IS POSSIBLE at any age -- something I truly believe with all my heart.

    So while I was very disappointed to leave the show, because I was so enjoying the adventure of learning something new and challenging myself, I am filled with a sense of true victory for having had the courage to break out of my comfort zone to try something new no matter the outcome.

    The questions of "injustice" and charges "I was robbed," make me smile. This is a reality TV show that is produced exceptionally well to incorporate great highs and crashing lows. I have produced shows for many years and know well the "realities" of reality TV. I entered into this adventure knowing full well how these shows are structured and understood from the get-go that fan base also had a lot to do with the outcome. As a journalist, I knew I did not enter the competition with the popularity of others but I jumped in anyway, recognizing the immense opportunity and challenge, not to mention the chance to dance! Many of you did not know me or my work before and I got more exposure in three weeks than I received my entire career.

    If I were told at the onset that I was being cast into a show where my character would be killed off in week three -- but I could learn to dance, have the time of my life and be seen by millions -- I would have jumped at it with all the zest of a tiger. I have not one regret. My only sadness is that I waited so long to find this new passion. My great gift is finding it now - and boy will I continue to pursue this new talent privately!

    It's always been who I am and reflective of what I believe to put everything you've got into whatever you do, regardless of outcome, for the sheer joy and experience of the moment. I took advantage of every second and relished in every sore muscle, spin, fall, high and low. For three weeks I was a dancer, and for the rest of my life I have a new talent to explore and polish and enjoy. I lived fully this experience and discovered new aspects of myself I never knew. And to share a secret -- I am proud to say I was able to overcome some pretty crippling nerves to perform on that stage in those skimpy and glamorous dresses. I am so proud of myself for that! Simply, there was no downside. This was only a gift that will keep on giving.

    To all my women fans and Latina sisters especially, if there is one thing I hope you glean from my experience -- don't care about the outcome or odds of anything you dare -- just dive in for the sheer experience of the ride. Dare to learn something new and challenge yourself regardless of age, weight, odds or crazy self perception that you're not good enough! Dare to be a daring dame and jump in feet and heart first in anything you do. Dare to fail, dare to succeed, dare to discover who you are and surprise yourself with YOU!

    We all have ideas of who we think we are -- of what we think we can do or not do. We have no idea until we try and dare and thrust ourselves into a new arena where our soul gets the chance to show us who we really are.

    I don't just say it -- I BELIEVE WITH ALL MY HEART -- all is possible if you are willing to take a chance -- willing to test yourself -- willing to fail but at least while daring greatly! You will surprise yourself with YOU just as I have in this adventure.

    Lastly, there has been a lot of commentary about my age -- I've even been referred to as an "older hottie!" Ha! How wonderful is this! Ladies, we buy into society's age and weight obsession way too much -- it's laughable. We are way too smart for this in this new millennium! The truth of the matter is this -- when we reach our forties, we know more than ever before who we are, what we want and don't want. We have more confidence than ever as a result of our hard earned life experience. You would never say to a rose finally starting to bloom, "She's past her prime." We are at last in full bloom -- at our peak -- a new starting gate of life where life can truly begin with the full force of who we are. Don't buy into being "too old" to have the best body you can have for you. Don't buy into being "too old" to try something new. Don't buy into "the best is behind you." Know what you really believe inside, which is, "The best is yet to come if you allow it!"

    Do not settle -- do not resign yourself to excuses -- BE BOLD!   Dare to live the life you were born to live! By this point in life you have either had kids, have or had a career, are in a relationship or starting over -- your wisdom and your wrinkles are your badges of honor -- wear them proudly and charge forward armed with all the gifts of your adventure and self knowledge to go after the life you dream! There is no more time to waste. Now is the time to live fully and at full power.

    My hope for you is that you check out my Five Jewels for a Healthy, Fit Body -- taking care of yourself is an absolute must! You must come first -- when we are physically fit we have more confidence, energy and self esteem to pursue all we desire. If you have delayed a dream to pursue a new job, career, motherhood, relationship or travel, my hope is that you will go for it and not settle. Now is your time -- dive in -- be bold -- it's possible. When you put everything you've got into something, there is no way you don't come out a winner!

    I carry an acorn with me everywhere I go -- I collect them as a matter of fact. They remind me of the seed of greatness within us all -- our God given destiny to become a mighty oak. Put one on your desk, in your pocket, around your house -- let this symbol, or anything that will remind you, that you are here for greatness. Allow yourself the adventure of finding out what it is!

    Thank you again for all your kind writings and for giving me the opportunity to share my philosophies with you -- that we are all capable of great things and of surprising ourselves with greatness at any age, at any time of life.

    With love from a winning dancer!


    I leave you with my favorite quote
                  by a Buddhist monk as read by Nelson Mandela...

On Shining

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God
that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our own presence
automatically liberates others.

Nelson Mandela
1994 Inaugural Speech
(Quoting Marianne Williamson)

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