We all know about cheerleaders…overly perky with lots of school spirit and generally the focus of lots of attention! In truth, cheerleading is far more athletic than it may seem and it isn’t quite what you may see in the movies. High school cheerleading is also a much different than college cheerleading. College cheerleaders are often the recipients of scholarships and as such are required to do lots of conditioning and follow strict guidelines. But in the world of cheerleading absolutely nothing is like getting to be a cheerleader for a professional sports team! Think about iconic organizations like the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, or the Laker Girls. These organizations are extremely famous and it seems like a pretty cushy job right?
In truth, there’s a whole lot of information that will make your jaw drop about the secret lives of professional cheerleaders. From psychological trauma to physical neglect, the life of a professional cheerleader isn’t exactly what you may imagine. Mixed in, you’ll find some steamy and shocking information about these girls that most people just won’t believe! So here are the 15 steamiest and most shocking confessions you can imagine made by actual professional cheerleaders themselves! After you read this, you likely won’t see them the same way again.
15. Public Speaking Evaluation During Tryouts
Just stand there and look pretty is not exactly the only requirement for a professional cheerleader. While this stereotype is insulting to those that are actually professional cheerleaders, there are still a lot of people in the world that view cheerleaders as primarily eye candy. Truthfully though, there is a lot more to making it into a professional cheerleading organization than just looking good and knowing how to dance. Most teams have a public speaking evaluation as a big part of their tryout process. Because they will be doing a lot of public appearances and events, they will be asked questions and will have to interact with people. They need to come across as poised and confident, representing the team in the best way possible. It makes perfect sense!
14. Custom Ordered Body Parts
Part of what makes professional cheerleaders appealing is a little variety on the squad. A lot of thought, planning and research goes into the decision of what the girls need to look like. Management can require a cheerleader to dye her hair a certain color or change the length at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, they get frequent notes regarding a wide variety of muscle groups and body parts. Some cheerleaders are required to firm up their butt, get more definition in their biceps or a variety of other body type alterations. Not only is this required, but it is most often at the cost of the cheerleader herself. Missing the boat on making the necessary changes means missing out on the fun at the games. That would be a cheer-tastrophe.
13. Pulled From Performances For Weight
Missing a specific weight threshold will mean getting cut. This is not a new concept in the world of jobs that demand a certain physical appearance. Modeling, acting and even professional boxing have specific weight requirements. This is really no different in cheerleading. There have been cases where colleges and sometimes even high schools have set a weight limit for cheerleaders. These practices have become less common over the years, but it definitely still happens. This leads cheerleaders to develop very unhealthy habits when it comes to their diet. They’ll starve themselves and develop eating disorders, all in an attempt to maintain what someone else has deemed to be an acceptable weight. Sadly, this is not anything new and has just become one of those practices that people have come to accept.
12. Can’t Identify Yourself As A Cheerleader
So surely being a professional cheerleader has some fringe benefits like getting all kinds of preferential treatment when you go out… right? Think again, because identifying as a professional cheerleader when you are “off the clock” is strictly taboo. Much like being Clark Kent vs. Superman, when you are in uniform you are a cheerleader and when you aren’t, you are just another person. Using your position as a member of the squad to get you into a club or to get you free drinks or other perks is absolutely against the rules and could easily get you canned from the team. The mystery of being a cheerleader is that you exist at the game and at events only and then…you don’t. There is kind of an undercover operative sort of vibe going on with it, but it strangely makes sense.
11. Angel Behavior Is Required
If being a cheerleader publicly is such a major thing with so many contractual obligations, surely you can let your hair down when not in uniform. I mean, if you can’t brag about being a professional cheerleader then there’s nothing wrong with partying a bit is there? Well again, that would be incorrect. Whether you are on the clock or not, you are expected to maintain certain types of behavior and conduct at all times! This goes a little far too, with some contracts forbidding chewing gum! Staying out of trouble with the law is a no brainer, but even parking and speeding tickets are monitored. After all, each professional cheerleader is a good girl with an impeccable driving record right? Just make sure you keep your halo polished to perfection if you become a professional cheerleader!
10. Told To Reject Hugs From Friends and Family
This is kind of a sad one indeed, but can you believe that some professional sports teams insist that their cheerleaders cannot accept a hug from their friends or even family? In one instance, a cheerleader’s father came to watch the game and wanted to give his little girl a hug when he saw her. She had to push him away and tell him that he couldn’t hug her while she was working. This is so others don’t see it and get the idea that it is a hugging free for all. While safety and keeping drunken (and not so drunken) fans from getting handsy is an important consideration, having to turn down a hug from dad is just tragic. If I had to guess, that rule doesn’t apply to team management and the owner. Yep, there is definitely a double standard!
9. Operation Unemployment
So cheerleading can be an all-encompassing activity in high school, college and professionally. Those that got bit by the cheerleading bug, often have it for life. Cheerleading can often consume all aspects of their lives. In the case of college cheerleaders, it’s hard to balance school with cheering and furthermore, professional cheerleaders often have a difficult time maintaining other careers. Because of the time constraints either working out, attending events and appearances and maintaining their flawless appearance, day job work often suffers. It also seems to create something of a stigma when looking for other employment paths. The demands of cheerleading can, for many girls cause mood changes and emotional disturbance. All of this can lead to trouble at the job that keeps the lights on and the bills paid.
8. Not a Lucrative Career Path
With professional athletes making millions of dollars every year, surely some of the big money those franchises bring in trickles down to the cheerleaders. Again…this is a common misconception that is totally wrong! In many ways, cheerleading in college is far more lucrative because of the value of the scholarship dollars that many of them earn to cheer. Professional cheerleaders are paid a very meager amount of money per game, with most only earning a few thousand dollars per year! When you figure the amount of money they have to spend keeping up their physical appearances, some actually go in the red! Amazingly, there is still no shortage of people wanting to tryout for professional cheerleading teams. Once you are bitten by the cheerleading bug, there is no going back.
7. Shorter Girls Are Better Cheerleaders
Tall women are often seen as incredibly attractive. There is something about the long legs and torso that people find to be pretty hot. But while there are some taller cheerleaders, the word is that shorter girls make the best cheerleaders. Professional cheerleading teams will work extra hard to make sure that the girls are all at a similar and proportional height, but high school and colleges don’t always do this. So what could possibly be the reason that shorter girls are the best cheerleaders? The reason is because it is easier to maintain a certain and necessary balance if you are under a certain height. Apparently, the average height of college cheerleaders is between 4’11” and 5’3”. This goes kind of counter to the whole modeling culture, that seems to like taller women.
6. Use Cheerleading As A Springboard For Better Work
Not only because they were bitten by the cheerleading bug, there are other reasons why a person may want to be a professional cheerleader. Often, cheerleaders will get a certain amount of face time on television. This is usually during the game, but also at pre-game shows and other televised events. Being a cheerleader is something of an ambassadorial role, they just get noticed a whole lot more. They are hoping to get their foot in the door and noticed by modeling agencies, television stations or talent agents. Paula Abdul was a Laker Girl before she became famous. All the attention they get can certainly lead to bigger and better things for many cheerleaders. So dealing with the extreme demands for almost no compensation could pay off in the long run.
5. Some Professional Cheerleaders Are Doctors
It may also surprise and shock you to learn that not all cheerleaders identify only as a “cheerleader.” In many professional cheerleading teams, several of the members are also college students, or just out of college. In some cases though, they are professionals that have a very surprising career. There are several cheerleaders that are actually doctors (medical as well as academic!) Not just doctors, but attorneys, accountants and many other professional career paths that you can imagine are practiced by girls you see on the sidelines at games in short skirts and keeping the crowd pumped-up and in good spirits! So the next time you hear a little girl say she wants to be a doctor and a cheerleader when she grows up, remember that it can definitely happen!
4. Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders Sued The Team
The cheerleaders for the NFL team the Buffalo Bills, are known as the Buffalo Jills. A great deal of light was shone on the life of professional cheerleaders as a result of a lawsuit brought by five Buffalo Jills cheerleaders. They claimed that the rate of pay they received was completely unfair as compared to the horrific conditions and requirements with which they were expected to meet. They even claimed that their mannerisms while eating in public were dictated (such as how to dip a spoon in soup and eat). They even had a quota of calendars they were required to sell each month or they would have to cover the rest out of their pockets. Today, the Buffalo Jills are no longer a functioning organization as a result of this lawsuit.
3. Contracted Requirement Of Perfection
Just like most professionals, there is a contract involved when you are accepted to join a professional cheerleading team. The contract requires them to look “impeccable” at all times. Now, I am not exactly sure how such a statement in a contract can be legally enforced, but they make it so the team has full control over how you look. Weight, hair color, hairstyle, length and even tan requirements are all strictly monitored by these teams. The girls that cheer go to extreme lengths to maintain this appearance, working out to the point of being sick and even making their nutrition suffer to lose some quick pounds before weighing-in. So what happens if they don’t meet their contractual obligation? They aren’t approved to cheer at upcoming games or events. Scandalous!
2. Inappropriate Picture Presentation In Front of Others
Another part of the Buffalo Jills organization that was completely shocking is how they let a member know if they had an “inappropriate” Facebook or other social media picture online. They would keep tabs on the social media accounts of each member and if there was a picture that was not up to certain standards set by management, the way they would let you know is incredibly petty and borderline abusive. They would post the pictures in front of the other cheerleaders as a way of shaming them in a “what not to do” kind of way. I guess the point was quickly made and the incentive to not post anything inappropriate or questionable was to avoid being called out like that. Nevertheless, this story made its way into the lawsuit as well.
1. Must Pay For Everything Personally
It has already been discussed that cheerleaders have to pay for lots of things out of their own pocket. Certainly, high school cheerleaders are used to this, constantly having car washes and selling useless things nobody really needs or wants just to raise money for uniforms and camp fees. But this doesn’t really go away when you go pro. Professional cheerleaders are expected to pay for their own uniforms (often costing several hundred dollars) and any alterations and maintenance to their body that is necessary. Gym fees, tanning sessions, specific hair and nail stylists are all part of the deal and it isn’t the team footing the bill. When you figure they’re only getting a tiny amount of money per hour that they are on the clock, it is clear that it doesn’t pay to cheer!
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