“Sofía always represented, for us, the image of a strong, beautiful woman. And this is what Mayyas is all about: women [and] women empowerment,” The Mayyas tell PEOPLE
Sofía Vergara is all about empowering women.
During Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent, the actress pushed her Golden Buzzer for Lebanese female dance troupe The Mayyas. The group stunned the judges with their hypnotic routine, prompting the Modern Family alum to push her button and send the dancers straight to the live shows.
“I would be so honored to empower you even more in this journey because you deserve it and I want to be part of this,” Vergara, 49, said on the episode before hitting her buzzer.
The Mayyas spoke to PEOPLE after the exciting moment about how receiving Vergara’s coveted Golden Buzzer “was a dream in itself.”
“Sofía always represented, for us, the image of a strong, beautiful woman,” the group says. “And this is what Mayyas is all about: women [and] women empowerment. Receiving the Golden Buzzer from her was an absolute honor. We hope we won’t let her down in the next rounds.”
Vergara added that hitting the Golden Buzzer is “something so weird because you simply feel it. … You’re anxious a little bit, [and thinking], ‘What if I don’t find it? What is it that I’m looking for?’ And you have no clue. You don’t come into the show for the first day of work and say, ‘I’m going to pick a dancer or I’m going to pick a singer.’ It’s just something that happens to you and you feel goosebumps and you feel something with that person. And then, it happened to me.”
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Prior to taking the stage, The Mayyas’ founder and choreographer Nadim explained that Lebanon “is not a place where you can make a career out of dancing — it’s hard and it’s really hard for women.”
Nadim also shared how he grew up watching AGT and was particularly inspired to have his group audition after watching Nightbirde, a singer and fan-favorite from season 16 who sadly died in February after a cancer battle.
“Nightbirde was a huge push for us,” The Mayyas tell PEOPLE. “In her audition last year, she said, ‘You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.’ We have been living in a daily struggle in Lebanon between the inflation, the economical crisis, the blast and so much more.”
“But seeing her glowing on the stage while going through something that is not in her hands to change made us feel that we can [too],” they continue. “We can work harder, we can fight harder, we can adapt to everything happening to us. We are alive, we shouldn’t take it from granted and we can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before we decide to be happy.”
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Following their performance and the emotional Golden Buzzer moment, Vergara raved about the dance group on Instagram.
“No words can describe how amazingly captivating the Mayyas are!” she wrote in one post.
“Felicidades!!!! 🥳❤️ You were amazing 🤩 Never seen anything so beautiful !” Vergara added in a follow-up post.
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As they prepare to head to the live shows, The Mayyas say they hope their performance inspires women in Lebanon, and across the world, to go after their dreams.
“No matter where you are, and the struggle you go through, if you love what you do and you are passionate about it, you can reach anywhere — even the biggest stage of the world,” they say. “Never let anyone try to convince you otherwise or try to limit you.”
“The most exciting part is what comes after: the people we hope to inspire, the possibilities, the future,” the group adds.
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They’re also excited to get back on stage and deliver another show-stopping dance routine.
“[We’re most excited to] compete with the other amazing talents we have seen in the auditions,” the group notes. “It won’t be easy, which makes it even more exciting!”
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.