Zendaya’s Dancing With The Stars Blog: My Final Reflections (May 29, 2013)

One week ago, I stood on the dance floor at “Dancing With the Stars” and watched Kellie and Derek be crowned the champions. At that moment, I was truly happy for them but my heart was broken.

Everyone always says how I am mature beyond my years, but at that moment I became a 16-year-old.

I had to step off the dance floor, out into the hallway and hide in the staircase and gather myself. Because I had put my heart and soul into this competition, I did not want to come in second place. And for some time, tears flowed and my dad and mom hugged me and told me how proud we were of me. I gathered myself together, did one interview and couldn’t really talk anymore.

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I fell asleep on the plane to New York and woke up having to make a huge adjustment in my attitude to be able to face the world again. And as that day progressed, I was able to believe the words that were coming out of my mouth, which were that I was proud of myself and I was happy for our accomplishments. And after three days of interviews in New York I truly did believe what I was saying.

This experience taught me so much about myself and about what I am capable of achieving. Val believed in me and pushed me further than anyone has ever pushed me before. Sometimes I looked at him and laughed when he told me what I was going to do, but he truly believed in me and I am forever grateful for that because through his belief, I was able to believe in myself and achieve more than I thought I ever could.

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This competition also taught me a valuable lesson that is somewhat cliché — it’s not the destination but the journey.

So I didn’t win the coveted mirrorball trophy, but I realize I have gained a tremendous family in Val and the Chmerkovskiy family. As Val so eloquently put it in a toast during dinner at his brother’s house in New Jersey, I now have a Russian army behind me, and if I ever need anything, all I have to do is call.

And therein lies something else I’ve learned — how valuable and important family is. Although I knew the value of family from my own experience, I was able to see it from another perspective; through the eyes of the big brother that I have gained.

The friendships and relationships that will go on past the competition are beyond measure. From Wynonna, or Mama Wy as I call her, to my other big brother Jacoby, to yet another big brother in Victor… the list goes on and on.

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And throughout this process my fans have been beside me the entire way. They have voted, called, e-mailed, texted, Facebooked, Tweeted and so much more. Whenever I would feel down or stressed out about the competition, I could just scroll through my Twitter mentions and read the wonderful things that my fans would say and they naturally kept me going.

Even on the last day when I elbowed Val, struggled with strep throat, still had to take a test for school, and then perform in front of millions of people, I knew my fans were behind me the entire way.

Who knows if I will ever ballroom dance again, because this week I’m right back to hip-hop, as I rehearse for my music video for my first single, with the choreographer who I have wanted to work with for quite some time.

My dreams are coming true right before my eyes and “Dancing with the Stars” has helped me to realize that I have a lot more to achieve and that I can do anything I put my mind to.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that they gave me and I hope that I was able to inspire young boys and girls to believe in themselves… in their gifts… in their possibilities!

-- Zendaya

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