Wellington’s Own Ninja Warrior Jordan Fernandez Fulfills Her Dream By Appearing On Peacock’s ‘American Ninja Warrior Junior’

Wellington’s Own Ninja Warrior Jordan Fernandez Fulfills Her Dream By Appearing On Peacock’s ‘American Ninja Warrior Junior’

By Mike May

Sometimes, if you visualize your dream, it will materialize. Jordan Fernandez, a 14-year-old Wellington resident and current Wellington High School freshman, was seven years old when she first saw the show American Ninja Warrior on TV. It made a life-altering impact on her young life.

If you haven’t heard, Fernandez was recently a contestant on Peacock’s American Ninja Warrior Junior show. But while her debut on national television is a story unto itself, what’s noteworthy is the path she followed to get from South Florida to southern California.

“I was seven years old, and I was watching American Ninja Warrior for the first time on TV at my uncle’s house,” Fernandez recalled. “I liked it so much that I wanted to get on the show, but I was too young.”

Fast forward to age 12. She still had the American Ninja Warrior dream, but had done very little to pursue it because of her young age. That’s when American Ninja Warrior Junior started, and she was old enough to appear on this version of the show.

However, Fernandez realized that she was not yet strong enough to compete among the show’s contestants. So, Fernandez started working out at her home in Wellington, mostly in the backyard. Her goal was to get fitter, stronger and ready to compete.

“I had to start working on my upper body strength, lower body strength and my balance,” Fernandez said. “In the beginning, I worked on pull-up bars, rings and monkey bars — all in the backyard.”

It didn’t take long for her family to realize that she was serious about pursuing a spot on American Ninja Warrior Junior, so they built an indoor obstacle course within the family’s garage. That gave Fernandez 24/7/365 access to a workout facility. The goal was to re-create a scenario that was somewhat similar to the obstacle course, without the water hazard, used on American Ninja Warrior Junior.

In early May of this year, Fernandez was notified that casting was open for this year’s season of American Ninja Warrior Junior. She applied immediately. It was the chance she had been waiting and working for since she was seven years old.

“At the beginning, I had to complete a number of forms for the producers to let them know I was serious about being on the show,” she said.

If the producers liked her application, they would ask for more information. And they did.

“For the second application, I had to record and send the producers a few videos with me on camera convincing them how serious I was about being a contestant on the show,” Fernandez explained.

If the producers remained convinced about her being a great candidate, then they would speak with her mother. And they did. “The third part of the application was when the producers spoke with my mom [Traciann] on the phone to confirm my interest and availability to be on the show,” Fernandez explained.

That conversation took place in late May with her mother confirming that her daughter’s interest was serious and sincere. Then it was time for Fernandez to start packing her bags for a trip to Hollywood.

On Monday, June 28, Fernandez traveled to Los Angeles to film season three, episode four of the American Ninja Warrior Junior show. She was joined on the trip by her mother, brother and sister. They were in LA for a week and stayed at a hotel downtown. It was an amazing experience.

“It was a crazy week,” Fernandez chuckled. “It was absolutely insane. It was so unreal. It was my first time under the lights.”

As much as Fernandez enjoyed the chance to compete as an athlete on national television, the best part of the trip was the time spent at the hotel with the other contestants.

The friendships began when they traveled in the bus from the airport to the hotel with the other competitors. It only got better from there.

“One of the best parts of the entire week was the time spent at the hotel with everybody on the show, eating together and swimming in the hotel pool,” Jordan said. “It was like being at summer camp. About 15 of us still stay in touch through a group chat.”

While in LA, they taped the show, which eventually debuted on Thursday, Sept. 23 and remains available to stream. Fernandez and her family watched the show from their home in Wellington.

“I would have done better had I been less nervous,” she admitted. “But I was pleased with how I performed.”

Fernandez’s performance entailed two attempts on the obstacle course, with each attempt lasting about 90 seconds.

The competition format remained virtually the same as it had been during the first two seasons. In all, 96 children, from all parts of the U.S., competed in three different age divisions — 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14. Each bracket featured 32 contestants mentored by two top American Ninja Warrior competitors, Najee Richardson and Jesse Labreck.

“Jesse went out of her way to provide coaching and encouragement, advice and guidance to me,” Fernandez said. “We also took some selfies.”

The episode includes a biographical sketch of Fernandez, including her desire to become a firefighter in honor of her late father, Lt. Alvis Fernandez, who served with Boynton Beach Fire Rescue.

When it came to the actual competition, two youngsters raced side-by-side on an obstacle course — ninja versus ninja.

Fernandez recalls the taping of the show with great clarity. It was a long and memorable day. Her wardrobe consisted of a gray tank top, black shorts, low-cut socks and sneakers.

“We woke up at 6 a.m., and we started work on the set at 9 a.m.,” she said. “We finished taping by 3 p.m.”

According to Jordan, the obstacle course tested her strength, balance, speed and flexibility. To get from the beginning to the end, it took about 90 seconds. The goal was to reach the buzzer at the end, without falling into the water hazard that lurked below.

“I competed twice, but didn’t reach the buzzer,” Fernandez said. “I was always one obstacle away.”

It was not easy, but Fernandez did her very best and was able to fulfill her dream.

She plans to continue being physically active at Wellington High School, playing soccer this winter and flag football next spring for the Wolverines. In soccer, Fernandez is a midfielder. In flag football, she’s a receiver. But, at home and in Hollywood, she’s a ninja, because that’s what she visualized, and it actually materialized.

Season 3 of American Ninja Warrior Junior is currently streaming on Peacock, available through many streaming platforms and apps, and at www.peacocktv.com.