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Christie Brinkley Says Daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook ‘Rose Above Her Own Fears’ to Take Her Place on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ (Exclusive)

Waltzing with her emotions. Christie Brinkley was devastated when an injury forced her to forgo her place on Dancing With the Stars ahead of the season 28 premiere, but her feelings changed when her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook stepped in.

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“Elated. Yeah, It’s been just a real, true emotional roller-coaster,” the former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, 65, told Us Weekly after the first night of competition on Monday, September 16. “I’m so relieved … because I put a lot on [Sailor’s] shoulders. I mean, I’m aware of that, but I knew that she would get so much more out of it if she just went through with it. And sure enough, she now has a love of dancing.”

Brinkley noted that her 21-year-old daughter “found a hidden natural talent” and has “overcome her stage fright” by dancing live with partner Val Chmerkovskiy, calling Brinkley-Cook’s performance “truly amazing.”

Christie Brinkley Talks 'Roller Coaster Emotions' After Dropping Out of 'DWTS', Gushes Over Daughter Sailor's Performance
Sailor Lee Brinkley-Cook and Christie Brinkley ABC/Eric McCandless

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“I’m so proud,” she continued. “She rose above her own fears to do something for me, you know, because she knew that that would cushion the blow of this crushing, truly crushing disappointment. … Sailor picks up where my message left off because she’s certainly not my age, but she was letting things hold her back and now she’s not.”

As for the lesson Brinkley and Brinkley-Cook have learned from this? “We all just have to, like, rise above our fears,” the former covergirl told Us. “Pursue our passions and also put others first. And sometimes in doing that, that helps you discover new things that you wouldn’t have discovered before.”

Christie Brinkley Talks 'Roller Coaster Emotions' After Dropping Out of 'DWTS', Gushes Over Daughter Sailor's Performance
Sailor Lee Brinkley-Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy performing on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ ABC/Eric McCandless

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ABC confirmed to Us on Monday morning that Brinkley-Cook would take the National Lampoon’s Vacation actress’ place in the reality TV competition after her mom underwent surgery on her wrist and arm, leaving her unable to participate.

Brinkley-Cook and Chmerkovskiy, 33, earned a score of 18 out of 30 for their foxtrot to Billy Joel‘s “Uptown Girl.” (Brinkley starred in the 1983 music video for the tune while she was dating Joel, 70. The former couple married in 1985 but split in 1994, and share daughter Alexa Ray Joel, 33.)

Brinkley shares Brinkley-Cook with ex-husband Peter Cook. The pair also share son Jack, 24.

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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