Paula Abdul confessed on Arsenio Hall's talk show Wednesday that she didnt 't get her first break as a dancer for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team; she had to game the system a bit to get in.
Hall encouraged Abdul to tell her story of determination in making the famous dance team in 1980, taking advantage of the confusion of having more than 700 women compete at a single venue.
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"It starts with the mantra that 'no is just the beginning of a negotiation,'" Abdul told Hall, describing the hectic Laker Girl tryout at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. "I'm used to not being selected. I'm used to rejection, which I embrace because I have nothing to lose."
Abdul said she registered a second time using her middle name Julie, misspelling her last name and wearing a second costume. She was cut a second time. She said when instructors attempted to separate the rejected dancers, she ignored the instructions and moved to another competing group and was selected to the team after a third try.
"That's a great story of tenacity," Hall said at the end of Abdul's story.
"It's a story for young women and young men to hear and say 'never give up' for starters and also you must have been a horrible dancer that you had to go three times," Hall added jokingly.
The Lakers dancing gig was Abdul's big break. Members of The Jacksons asked her to choreograph dances for their "Victory" tour in 1984 after watching her dance at one of the Laker basketball games. It was Michael Jackson's last tour with his brothers.
The success led to Abdul choreographing for Janet Jackson as well as for Prince, George Michael and Duran Duran. She picked up an Emmy Award for her choreography on "TheTracey Ullman Show" in 1989, per People magazine.
She used that success to launch her singing career, starting with her single "Forever Your Girl," which sold seven million copies and landed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 100 chart for 10 weeks.
In 2002, Abdul found new fame as one of the original judges in the singing competition "American Idol," where she stayed until 2009. She has also served as a celebrity judge on "Live to Dance" and the "X Factor."
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