I had the opportunity to interview Kristi Yamaguchi for INO Mommy and we spoke about her association with the Faces of Influenza” program, balancing work and home life, and her time on Dancing with the Stars.
How did you align yourself with ‘Faces of Influenza’? What is the program about?
I‘ve always been a strong proponent of getting a flu shot every year, starting when I was training for the Olympics. Flu season runs right through skating season, and one of my friends got influenza and unfortunately wasn’t able to compete because of it.
I’ve been involved with the American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign for four years now. The program encourages Americans to see themselves and their loved ones among the many “faces” of influenza – people who fall into one or more groups recommended for annual vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Through this program, I’ve worked with families who have lost loved ones to the disease and its complications. Their tragic experiences are a reminder that seasonal influenza is serious.
My doctor has always stressed the importance of annual flu vaccination to maintain my health, as an athlete. But now as a mother, I realize my whole family needs to be immunized, and that’s a responsibility that I take seriously.
When my daughter Emma was born, my doctor gave me a flu vaccination before I left the hospital to help prevent spreading this serious disease to my newborn infant. Since then, I make sure we all get vaccinated every year. This includes my husband, my two daughters, and even the grandparents in our family.
Visit www.facesofinfluenza.org to find out if you or someone you love is a “face” of influenza. Chances are, you know someone who is.
What was the best and worst part about being on ‘Dancing with the Stars’?
Obviously winning ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is a moment that I’ll never forget, and just learning how to dance was so much fun for me. My partner Mark Ballas is amazing and was the best teacher. He pushed me to the limit and really knew how to bring out the best of my ability.
For me, the hardest part about the show was the results portion every Tuesday. Waiting to hear whether or not you’ll still be there the next week was nerve-racking! You wonder “Do people like my dance this week? Did they vote?” And you have to remember that it’s not just the judges’ votes that count, it’s the viewers.
Overall though it was a great experience and I wouldn’t change a thing about it!
Are your children showing interest in ice skating?
They’re both comfortable with the ice and skate for fun – it’s something that we do as a family. Since they are both very young, my husband Bret and I want to give them the opportunity to try things out on their own first and see where it takes them. I will support any dreams that my children have, so whatever they show interest in or decide to pursue in their lives, I will be there for them along the way.
How do you balance work / home life with two children?
It takes some work but it’s something that I’m used to. My husband and I coordinate our schedules accordingly so that I can make the most of my time when I’m home – especially when it gets busy. My family is also close by, so it definitely helps and takes some of the pressure off!
With how active my girls are, keeping them healthy is always a top priority for us no matter how crazy our schedules are. Getting vaccinated against influenza every year is one easy way to help keep them from getting sick. In fact, I make sure everyone who comes into contact with them, including myself, my husband, their grandparents and even the babysitters, gets vaccinated. It helps to create a “cocoon” of protection around them.
Favorite activities to do with your children?
There are so many to choose from that it’s hard to only pick a few! Reading to the girls before bedtime is something I try to do every night. It’s also a lot of fun playing music and watching them dance around the house. They love Disney’s greatest hits and also the music I danced to on Dancing with the Stars.
Beauty must haves – top three favorite products?
My top three favorite beauty products are Kiehl’s number 1 lip balm, Dove soap and Nicole by OPI nail polish. My favorite color is “Enchantress.”
Favorite snack? Child’s snack?
I really like Fiber Plus Bars with fresh fruit. The girls love Cheez-It’s!
Thanks Kristi for the interview!!