Saturday, May 12, 2012

Celebrity Moms Interview!

Happy Mother's Day! I'm so pleased to introduce you to two very special moms - Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White. They are the proud mothers of Meryl Davis and Charlie White, 2011 World Champions and 2010 Olympic silver medalists in ice dancing.

I met Cheryl and Jacqui a few years ago at the U.S. Figure Skating National Championships, and I've had the great pleasure of spending time with them and getting to know them at competitions since then. In getting to know Cheryl and Jacqui, it's been easy to see how Meryl and Charlie have stayed grounded and become two of the best role models in the sport. Their moms are so down-to-earth and have such a positive outlook on skating and life.

Meryl and Charlie have skated together for fifteen years, and Cheryl and Jacqui have traveled to all of their competitions, so they've seen almost everything the sport has to offer. I could ask them an endless list of questions about all their experiences, but I kept it to five for this interview :)

1) Favorite international trip you've taken?

Cheryl:  It's hard to pick one place that's my favorite. We've been to so many great places. I think Venice was spectacular. It was so different from any other place we had visited and it was just for fun. Meryl and Charlie had already competed and they were not under any pressure. We loved the museums and the history. We took a mystery trip at night with a guided tour of the city. It was supposed to be scary and it was. We all laughed and had a great time. Romania, Vienna, and Paris were also great. I really have fond memories of every trip we've taken. I wish I could tell you about all of them. Every place we went had something special about it. Jacqui and I always made sure that Meryl and Charlie took some time to visit the cities and enjoy the culture. I can't say how much I loved Nice this last trip (for the 2012 World Championships). I can't wait to go back. Stunning.

Meryl and Cheryl in Taipei, Taiwan
Jacqui: It's difficult to choose just one international competition as my favorite because everywhere we went had its own charm for different reasons. I have wonderful memories of the little Japanese mountain town, Okaya, where Meryl and I were dressed up by friendly shop owners in traditional kimonos. I also loved the trip where we took a three-hour bus trip in Romania with the skaters to visit Dracula's Castle, and all the boys bought swords as souvenirs. But I think my favorite was Vienna. Vienna was Meryl and Charlie's first international competition when they were still novice level. At this event they had only one practice and one competition event, so we made good use of the extra time to go sight-seeing. Seth Chafetz was their coach at that time and he went everywhere with us, and believe me, we went everywhere and saw everything there was to see in Vienna. It was a wonderful initiation to competition travel for Cheryl and me and so much fun for Meryl and Charlie. You wouldn't believe some of the pictures.

2) Most memorable Meryl and Charlie costume disaster story?

Charlie and Jacqui in Taipei, Taiwan
Cheryl: I've only had a few disasters in costumes. We've started a few and then just quit when they weren't going well. One time, Meryl and I had to go to New York for a fitting. We talked with the designer and made a plan, but when we got there nothing had been started. We chose a design and set a date to go back the following week. We went back a week later, and the door was locked and no one was there. We sat at a Starbucks for a few hours and went back and tried again. A neighbor let us in the front door, and we went up to the office and knocked and knocked. A woman that didn't speak English came to the door. She didn't have anything for us to try on and the dressmaker wasn't in town. Again, no dress! Meryl said, "When you have lemons, make lemonade! Let's enjoy New York!" So we did. We spent the day running around seeing everything we could. We even took a walk through Central Park. We eventually went back another time and had a dress fitting, but then when the dresses were delivered, they didn't fit. One was so big and not what we wanted. It had to go back. Another one, when it finally fit, was beautiful. We never went back to New York for costumes, though. Too far and too much of a hassle. We like using our local seamstress. She's been sewing Meryl's costumes since she was nine.

Cheryl in Red Square - Moscow, Russia
Jacqui:  Luckily, Charlie hasn't had the costume disasters that Meryl has. I would say the only problems Charlie has had involved costumes that were ordered from new costume makers on recommendations from either the coaches or other skaters' parents. They never worked out, and some of the surprises we received when we saw what we ended up with were pretty funny (although not at the time). These costumes never even saw a practice; they just went directly into the "never to be used" closet. One of the best examples was the first attempt for the Eleanor Rigby costume. Charlie actually wore it once, and when his dad saw it, he said that Charlie would have to quit skating if he wore it again. That was the end of it - into the closet, never to be seen again! Thank goodness because it was an awful combination of Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Apprentice. (You can see the infamous costume in action here!)

3) Favorite Meryl and Charlie program?

Cheryl & Jacqui at the 2010 Olympics Opening Ceremony
Cheryl: I think my favorite program was Samson and Delilah. I loved their costumes and the music. I felt it was meant for them. I always question the music at the beginning of the season, but Marina, Igor, Meryl, and Charlie know what they are doing. They always make something special out of whatever they choose. It hasn't always been easy, but when they've had to change music and rework their programs, they take it in stride. I'm proud of how they handle themselves even under stress!

Jacqui:  I have to go along with Cheryl on the choice for favorite program. I still absolutely love the Samson and Delilah program. Right from the beginning, Marina had a vision of what she wanted, and Meryl and Charlie really "got it." Igor and Marina worked as a team - Igor on the basic blocking of the choreography, and Marina took it from there and breathed life into it, continually tweaking right up to the last competition of the season. The only rough spot we ran into was trying to figure out what Charlie should wear. As usual, we brainstormed until we came up with what we thought was the perfect look to go along with Meryl's gorgeous gold dress.

4) Favorite performances from skaters other than Meryl and Charlie?

Cheryl:  When Meryl and Charlie were just starting senior, we saw Oksana Domnina skating in a beautiful yellow dress and dancing to a song with drums. She was amazing. Jacqui and I both looked at each other, wondering how little Meryl and Charlie could ever compete with Domnina and (Max) Shabalin. We've seen so many talented skaters over the years, it's hard to say.

Jacqui:  I really loved watching (Albena) Denkova and (Maxim) Staviski in all of their programs, but my favorite was their 2007 program at Worlds in Tokyo. They had such strength, speed and grace on the ice, and I liked that you could feel their relationship in their programs.

Having fun at the 2012 World Championships in Nice, France

5) Any advice for other skating parents?

Cheryl:  My advice to parents is to enjoy the ride. It is stressful, but you have to remember there is very little you control. Take in every second of the time you spend with your child. Make the best of it! I wouldn't give back one second of the time I spent with Meryl on the road. I've also made wonderful friendships along the way. They've been such a great support system. One warning - don't forget your family and your other children along the way. Skating can take over your life if you let it. You really have to find a balance. Make sure you spend time doing other things. Family time is important!!!!

The Davis family at the 2010 Olympics
Jacqui:  My favorite advice for skating parents, taken from my years of experience as one of them, is to enjoy the journey because no one knows the destination or even if there will be one, at least in skating. I can remember reading something years ago that said, and I'm paraphrasing, if you can do everything you do, in the moment that you're doing it, the very best that you can, you don't have to look forward to a goal. You will reach it successfully, one moment at a time.

The White family at the 2010 Olympics
I think as parents of skaters, it's easy to get caught up in the stress and intensity and nervousness of the sport. So adopting a positive attitude for yourself and your skater is so important. Really try to enjoy your time with them and give them positive messages. I don't mean lie to them and tell them how great they are when they're having a hard time with something, but find ways to put a positive spin on things. Laugh with your skater and enjoy just talking to them and spending time with them. I guess these are things I would advise parents to do whether their child is a skater or not. I think it's just so important to try to create as many "happy time" moments with our kids that we can, and skating gives us as parents so many great opportunities to do that.

I'd like to thank Cheryl and Jacqui for spending some time with us today! I hope you enjoyed hearing from them as much as I enjoyed talking to them. Happy Mother's Day to them and all the mothers reading the blog today!
In honor of Mother's Day, I've joined a group of authors to celebrate all mothers, and our group has banded together to offer an ebook from each of us for 99¢ at the usual online booksellers. Our genres run the gamut from adventure to romance to thriller. We invite you to celebrate with us.
5 Ebooks for 5 Bucks
Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux - A story of love and perseverence. E-book: Paperback:
Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl by Carol Bodensteiner - A memoir of a happy farm childhood.
Michal's Window by Rachelle Ayala - Love, Betrayal, Redemption: King David and the daughter of Saul, E-book: Paper:
Loyalty Binds Me by Joan Szechtman - A novel about Richard III in the 21st-century, E-book: Paperback:
After Ten by Michele Shriver - A story of acceptance, forgiveness and the bonds of friendship. Amazon: B&N:
And an Ebook Preview:
Always & Forever by Chantel Rhondeau - coming summer 2012 - A suspected murderess must start over - romantic suspense. Excerpt:


  1. Wow! Wonderful interview. I'm so happy I got to meet Cheryl and Jacqui at Nationals. I love the advice about making every minute count and making happy times with your child. It really does apply to every mom, skating or otherwise.

    Happy Mother's Day!

  2. Great interview, Jennifer!

    Thank you, Doris P

  3. What great families! This is a perfect interview for Mother's Day. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love this interview! Their moms are so down to earth, and it carries on to Meryl & Charlie!

  5. Some of the classiest parents in all of figure skating.