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Sailor Brinkley Cook was 'terrified' at first about performing on 'DWTS'

Sailor Brinkley Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy take a

Sailor Brinkley Cook and Val Chmerkovskiy take a spin on the Sept. 16 season premiere of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."   Credit: ABC / Eric McCandless

Sailor Brinkley Cook, who has stepped in for her injured mother, Christie Brinkley, on the new season of "Dancing With the Stars," says she is grateful to those who helped her overcome her fears about taking on the physically challenging competition on just a few days' notice.

"Wow. I have so much to say but for right now i'm just going to say THANK YOU. To my incredible [professional ballroom-dance] partner @valentin [Val Chmerkovskiy] for being so patient, my mama for being so courageous and inspiring, the whole dancing with the stars cast and crew for their kindness, & everyone who tuned in and showed so much love and support," the 21-year-old model wrote on Instagram after Monday night's show. "So incredibly grateful to have had this moment. The journey's just getting started!"

"The universe works in mysterious ways sometimes … and coincidentally @sailorbrinkleycook was on a flight to LA to support her mom," the Ukraine-born Chmerkovskiy said on Instagram after the show. "Good thing she wanted to come days before the premiere to help her mom get pumped for the big day. She took off a fan and landed a contestant. … I'm so proud of you Sailor, and I promise to do everything I can to show you a beautiful time on @dancingabc !!! Tonight a star was born. Can't wait to get to the studio and see how bright it can shine."

Brinkley Cook told People magazine in an interview published Tuesday that she initially had not wanted to substitute for her supermodel mother, 65, who lives in Bridgehampton. "I didn't want to at first, honestly," she said. "I was terrified. It was a very scary thing for me. The whole idea of having to be live on stage, be on TV dancing, that's something I've never done before."

Saying her fear "was the reason I had to do it," she added that, "I had to surpass the fear. I had to be stronger than the things that scare me."

Her mother, she said, "told me to have fun with it and to not let fear stop me from doing any of it."

WILLIAMS ALLEGES FAKERY. On Monday before the "DWTS" episode aired, daytime talk-show host Wendy Williams suggested Brinkley may not actually have hurt herself, telling her audience the tumble seen in a preview clip "looked fake as hell." Williams, 55, posited Brinkley had "said, 'Look, Sailor, here's what we're going to do. I'm going to go to a few of these practices, I'm going to go on 'Good Morning America' … and then I'm going to play like I broke something.' … Although Christie, I must tell you, there wasn't a believing person in my entire bureau meeting this morning."

When apprised of the allegation, Brinkley, who had appeared on Williams' talk show in April, told People, "I'm totally shocked, because I have been there for Wendy Williams. That is so weird." Brinkley began crying, according to People, and added, "I have to give her a call … I'm really stunned."

Tuesday on her show, Williams addressed Brinkley's being "very upset with me for my opinion of your alleged arm break. … I'm not going to double down on what I said but what I will do is apologize if I've hurt your feelings. But my opinion still stands. … A broken arm!" she said disdainfully, adding, "Christie, hopefully you and I can still be cool, but I'm just saying."

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