For famous teens Victoria Justice, Keke Palmer, Mitchel Musso, Shawn Johnson, and Jennifer Stone, inspiration starts with their family. Read their stories here.
By Patty A. Martinez
Shawn Johnson takes pride in being strong-willed, an attribute she learned from mom Teri. "I tried to raise Shawn to be confident because I was introverted and insecure growing up," says Teri, 50. And Shawn, Olympic gold medal gymnast and winner of Dancing with the Stars' coveted mirror-ball trophy, says she couldn't have succeeded without Teri's support. "She's always there to cheer me up or encourage me," says Shawn, 18, who lives with Teri and her dad, Doug, in West Des Moines, Iowa. In fact, when she wanted to quit Dancing with the Stars the second week because of a difficult salsa routine, it was Teri who convinced her to stick with it. "It's stressful always being in high-pressure situations," says Shawn, whose next challenge will be picking a college to attend. "But that's how I've learned what a caring and compassionate person my mom is."
While Shawn has had her share of accomplishments, the most important one for Teri is Shawn's reputation as a girl who doesn't give up. "Of course I'm happy about her medals, but those are personal triumphs," says Teri. "What I love most is how she's affected kids by being someone they can look up to." It's an honor Shawn doesn't take lightly. "I want kids to know that if they're dedicated, they can be successful."
The biggest compliment Teri can get as a mom is hearing that Shawn makes others feel good. "That's when I realize I've done something right!" she says. But Shawn is quick to point out that her mom's done plenty right too. "She sticks to her opinions," says Shawn, "and that makes her a real inspiration."