Shawn Johnson is an Olympic Gold medalist, Dancing With the Stars champ, and even has acting experience under her belt, guest-starring on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. And now she has her own video game, Shawn Johnson Gymnastics! J-14 chatted with Shawn to find out more about all the exciting things going on in her life:
J-14: After guest-starring on Secret Life, are you more interested in acting?
Shawn Johnson: I was so nervous going into filming -- maybe more nervous than before competing. The cast was so great, though. I think I could see myself doing a bit more acting. But I think I would rather do more hosting instead of playing a part.
J-14: What was it like working on a video game and lending your voice to it?
Shawn: It was so much fun especially since it's the first ever Wii gymnastics game! It was an honor! It's been a long process -- tons of e-mails and phone calls and trips to New York City. I got to play it and give feedback and help with the design. To finally see it come out is really exciting. A lot of the skills in the game are based off of the skills I did in routines when I competed.
J-14: Were you ever picked on for doing gymnastics?
Shawn: Definitely! Growing up in school, I was kind of an outcast because of gymnastics. In elementary school I was really muscular and strong and I was always made fun of for having a boys name. I was intimidating to the boys and the girls and nobody wanted to be friends with me. It was really hard to handle because you're wanting to be part of a group. I was never really accepted, but it made me stronger as a person. It made me a really independent and strong girl.
J-14: What advice would you give to other girls going through these issues?
Shawn: Just be strong. You are so much better than the girls who make you feel little. If you can really just be your own person and stick up for what you believe in, then in the end you will be so much stronger. People excluded me and said gymnastics wasn't cool, but I loved it and I stuck with it and it's taken me so far. Now those people are wanting to be in my group.
J-14: Any fun pranks while you were on Dancing With the Stars?
Shawn: My dance partner, Mark Ballas, had someone call me in the middle of the night to say he was in the hospital and couldn't continue on the show. After the prank went on for a while, I figured it out and knocked on his apartment door. He answered and was like "Uhoh!" So I caught him!
Photo: Jen Lowery/Startraks Photo