Dayanara Torres is an official dancing queen! The former Miss Universe won Univision’s contest on Mira Quien Baila last night, receiving the grand prize of $50,000 to donate to her chosen charity. She announced that she’ll be gifting her winnings to San Jorge Children’s Foundation in her native Puerto Rico.
The actress and model spoke to PEOPLE CHICA about what it means to help the victims of hurricane Maria on the ravaged island, and how a special message from ex husband Marc Anthony and their two sons motivated her to give it her all on the dance floor.
“It’s an immense joy to bring that check to Puerto Rico,” she says. “At this time that my country is suffering, this was a moment of joy, a second of hope, that I could bring to my people. I was thinking about them the entire time.”
“It’s great to receive a nice message from someone who appreciates you, but when it comes from the father of my kids and he says that I have done a great job as a mother, that’s the most special thing of all,” she admits.
On the day of her big win, Torres danced to “Hubo Alguien,” a steamy ballad by Anthony. A big fan of her ex’s music, she says: “In my house we hear salsa and we hear salsa songs by Marc because he is the father of my kids and we love salsa.”
The winner doesn’t remember who taught her how to dance, but she doesn’t remember a time when she couldn’t: “I think in Puerto Rico we are born dancing. We find any excuse to have a party,” she says.
Torres says the biggest challenge of the show was being away from her sons for 10 weeks. They stayed at home in Los Angeles with their grandmother, while she recorded the series in Miami. “I asked them first what they thought and they said to go for it,” she remembers. “They were happy for me and said they wanted to see me doing what I loved. Thanks to my mom, who came from Puerto Rico to take care of them, I was able to do the show.”
The boricua beauty, who will soon be traveling to Puerto Rico to bring home the prize, is planning her big next move: “I’m moving to Miami. I have been living in Los Angeles for 12 years and it’s time for a big change,” she admits. “I want to come back, to resume my career. My sons support me, they want to see me shine.”