When her mother was injured, Sailor Lee Cook Brinkley stepped in to carry on the family’s good name for season 28 of Dancing with the Stars. Paired with Val Chmerkovskiy, the two have had their ups and downs on the dance floor, but are in line to be one of the top couples if odds makers are right.
Here what you need to know:
1. “Dancing with the Stars” Is Sailor Lee Cook Brinkley’s TV Debut
This is the first real televised exposure and credits for Sailor Lee Cook Brinkley. With only brief appearances on Good Morning America or the Today show in 2017, many fans of her supermodel mother may not have been aware of Cook Brinkley’s penchant for dance. While some may have seen her at appearances with her mother, the daughter has taken a path towards modeling instead of acting.
Arguably the biggest get for the second generation model was a spot on Sport Illustrated‘s swimsuit issue. At the time of the announcement, SI Swimsuit edition editor MJ Day said the choice was a bright spot in their coverage. “Meeting and shooting her last year was one of the highlights of my career. She’s the millennial girl next door. She’s funny. She’s driven. She’s smart. She’s beautiful. She’s interesting. And most of all, she has a voice and isn’t afraid to use it,”Day enthused.
It also gave Brinkley the chance to give her daughter the good news in person. The magazine brought in the “model” mom to deliver the big news during an arranged photo shoot. After sharing the news Brinkley was more than happy to pass the family legacy, “You’re out of my sandy footprints, and you are on your own!”
2. Sailor Lee Cook Brinkley Defended Her Mother Against Dancing with the Stars Rumors
When it was revealed that Christie Brinkley had suffered an injury that would send her out of the competition, there was naturally some skeptics. For Brinkley as well as her daughter, the doubts were grounds to fight back. The source of many of the rumors appears to have stemmed from comments made by TV host Wendy Williams.
Speaking on the comments that her mother was “faking” an injury, Cook Brinkley was determined not to let the negativity set it. According to People Magazine, the model told reporters after one recent appearance that Williams needed a dose of love instead. “I mean like, whoever spews hatred needs more love. So love you Wendy,” she said.
Brinkley herself also jumped into the situation with her own comments on the issues. Speaking to People about Williams’ doubts, the model and actress was surprised. “She spoke the truth and Wendy has really supported her through a lot of crazy stuff and for her to come out and say something negative about this situation really was shocking. Like I was like, ‘Really?” Brinkley added.
3. Val Chmerkovskiy Has Sued a Former Employee
Not everything has been rosy for Val Chmerkovskiy when it comes to matter outside of Dancing with the Stars. Along with his brother Maxsim and Tony Dovolani, both popular pros from the series, Val operates DWM Dance Studios in New York. The three had to file suit against a former employee in September 2019.
With their names and reputations on the line, a lawsuit was filed against Klajdi Kasemi. According to the lawsuit, the brothers and their business partners allege that Kasemi was involved with stealing from clients of the studio. The suit states ““Upon information and belief, Kasemi has used DWM’s trade secrets in violation of his position of trust on behalf of DWM; has misappropriated these secrets for his own usage; and solicited DWM customers.”
This isn’t the only recent lawsuit to hit the family. According to The Blast. the brothers have also been sued themselves. In 2018, the site stated that Gregory Hightower was suing about an “arrangement prohibits him from soliciting clients away from the Chmerkovskiys New York dance studio and requires him to not work at a studio within 10 miles.”
4. Val Chmerkovskiy Constantly Tours When Not Performing on Dancing with the Stars
Chmerkovskiy is not just a dance pro when the cameras are on him. Instead, he spends his time away from the show performing as part of several tours. The Maks, Val& Peta tour gave the brothers a chance to pair up with Maksim’s wife Peta Murgatroyd for a broad reaching show. In addition to standard tickets. fans also have a chance to get up close and personal with the three through VIP packages.
As part of the tour. the three are teaming up with Aflait to promote literacy programs throughout the world. Makism himself added a video talking about the group’s work in the Dominican Republic. Both brothers are continuing their partnerships with the agency while the tour takes a hiatus.
In addition to that work, both Val and Maksim have appeared in various Dancing with the Stars tours. These tours offer fans the chance to view their favorite stars and pros in person. While Maksim may not have been a part of recent tours, Val has been on the road with the team for several events.
5. Sailor Lee Cook Brinkley Is Using The Experience To Get Over Insecurities
For someone with limited experience in the public eye, becoming a part of Dancing with the Stars has been a learning experience. “I grew up very doubtful of myself in a lot of ways and I went into modeling, which is … the most challenging thing to take on as someone who is quite insecure,” Cook Brinkley told People Magazine. She went on to see the bright spots in growing this appearance. “But you know, you find your way in it, you find your groove in it, and I ended up loving it.”
The insecurities of growing up with a famous parent have not been an issue for the young model. Instead, she maintains a close relationship with her mother that extends well past their job pursuits. In 2017, Cook Brinkley appeared alongside her half-sister Alexa Ray Joel in a special photo taken for Sports Illustrated.
During a Parade Magazine interview, she spoke about the relationship between her mother and herself. “She’s taught me to look for the beauty in where I am and around me,” Cook Brinkley stated. Going further on how that changed her life, she said, “That has helped me with optimism and happiness, especially living in New York City, which can sort of drain you and make you so cynical.”