There are just some things in the world that are meant to be. Peanut Butter and Jam. Puff Daddy and JLo (two careers that were better together than they are apart). Football and cheerleaders. When it comes down to the cream of the crop, there are the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders followed by the Raiderettes (and for those wanting to throw in a bronze medal, the New England Patriots cheerleaders make the third team on the podium). Which of those is better is a story for another day, but for today, we focus our attention on the lovely ladies that patrol the sidelines of the house that Jerry built.
Being a member of the ultra exclusive Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders comes a lot of perks and also a lot of stories that many of these beauties may not want to be released to the public (nor would the Cowboys themselves for that matter). Heck, you know you have made it with mainstream American pop culture when you have your own reality show, as the ladies have appeared on CMT since 2006 documenting the audition process of making that season’s squad.
While there is a lot of glitz, glam and fame that comes with being a part of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading team, there are also a number of facts that fans at home don’t realize that these lovely ladies have to endure in order to entertain you every Sunday.
19. Halloween Gone Wrong
Let’s start off by stating that Whitney Isleib is absolutely stunning and a perfect picture of what a stereotypical Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader is all about. Blonde hair, well endowed tight body, great smile. Unfortunately that ray of sunshine turned into a dark cloud as the then 21 year old Isleib decided to dress up as Lil’ Wayne. Not really a problem right? Wrong. While there was probably no intent to cause an issue, Isleib’s costume meant that she went full blackface and posted pictures on social media.
Had Isleib not been a member of a group like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and just some everyday person, chances are this wouldn’t have been much of a story, being a member of that squad means living up to a very high level of standards. While Isleib isn’t the first “celebrity” to be associated with this controversial issue, she is one of the few females that have been scrutinized. Maybe she would have been better off dressing as a naughty nurse.
18. The Melissa Kellerman Incident
Back in 2011, veteran Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Melissa Kellerman found herself taken down in more ways than one. After being accidentally tackled by Cowboys tight end Jason Witten as the team battled the Miami Dolphins, Kellerman took to social media to describe what must have felt like a tank plowing her over. Not only was this a way for Kellerman to express her experience but it was also a way to connect with fans. Apparently the Cowboys front office thought differently. Rumor has it that the organization forced the cheerleader to delete not just the message, but her entire social media account.
Now whether you want to believe that the team has the power to force someone to delete their social media account or not is completely up to you, however the story also goes that Kellerman was not allowed to partake in interviews about the errant tackle or the fact that for some reason her presence on Twitter all of a sudden halted.
17. Not Allowed To Alter Look Once Season Starts
For the ladies that make the final cut to become a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, the selection committee picked each individual for a reason and for a specific look. If you have long hair, you have to keep it long. If it’s short, you aren’t allowed to grow it out. If you’re a brunette and want to change your hair color because you think blondes have more fun, too bad. If you have highlights or wear your makeup a certain way, it is expected that you maintain that look throughout the duration of the season.
Unlike the players on the field who are covered in pads and helmets, the cheerleaders are recognized by their looks and if fans cannot recognize their favorite beauty, then that won’t bode well with management.
16. Not Keeping Up With Fitness Levels Can Cause A Release From The Team
As a member of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders team, it is expected that all the ladies maintain their conditioning throughout the season. While there are some days in which the squad works out during practice time, most of their gym sessions are scheduled on their own personal time. When you consider that the required practice time is at least 20 hours a week of cheering and dance practice it is hard to imagine finding time, let alone the energy to hit the gym for even more cardio and weight training.
For ladies who struggle to maintain their fitness levels, just like players on the team, there is warm a spot on the bench that needs filling.
15. Love Thy Enemy
There are some slight rules about who members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders can and cannot date, but for the most part it comes down to common sense. Unfortunately neither Kelsi Reich or her boyfriend David Nelson had any during a 2011 home game against the Buffalo Bills.
The issue at hand wasn’t so much that Reich had a boyfriend, it was more the fact that Nelson played wide receiver for the Bills. During the second quarter of the game, Nelson was on the other end of a Ryan Fitzpatrick toss that not only resulted in a visit to the end-zone, but a flyby of the Cowboys Cheerleaders, in which Nelson delivered the touchdown ball to Reich. Now luckily Dallas went on to squash the Bills 44-7, but the romantic gesture certainly didn’t sit well with the Cowboys organization.
14. More Than On-Field Work
In addition to their time practicing and game day performances, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders also take an active role in extra community work off the field. Throw in numerous hours of public appearances at everything from car shows to grand openings to hospital visits. This job is no one dimensional task as many would think.
If that isn’t enough, there are photo shoots for team calendars, or press conferences to introduce new players. For many of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, their time isn’t to just activities on North American soil as the squad has been known to make many appearances brightening the days of many USO military tours and events. With hours upon hours of work per week, the gig is quite the commitment and not as glamorous as it all seems.
13. Diet Is Rigorous & Crucial
Keeping fit doesn’t just mean hitting up the gym every now and then for a couple of curls and a few crunches along twenty minutes on the Stairmaster. When you consider how long the ladies are expected to be at the field either for practice or games, nutrition and energy becomes a big component.
With the expectation of having to fit into the skimpy Dallas Cowboys cheerleader clothing, avoiding all extra calories, fats and sugars is a must. Being on the go for over three hours every Sunday (well eight of them at least), the ladies need to figure out how to continually fuel their bodies for the day. Fruits, veggies, nuts, protein and lots and lots of water are a staple in the cheerleaders locker room.
12. Not Enough Money
It’s not as though the 36 ladies that make up the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders just show up to the stadium each Sunday for a couple of hours, flash their pearly whites and shake their booties and ruffle a few pom poms and call it a day. For the most part, the squad puts in at least twenty hours of practice a week. Throw in different charity events and public speaking engagements on their off days. Add in time for working out and being a Cowboys Cheerleader is almost the equivalent of a full time job. Oh wait, let’s talk jobs.
If you happen to think that the ladies get paid a hefty amount of money for all their efforts, guess again. For the leaders of the team, earnings range between $3,000-$5,000 per season. If you are a supporting cast member, odds are you are making just over half that amount, but for the same amount of work. This all adds up to many of the ladies working additional jobs, as if there are enough hours in the day!
11. Extra Maintenance Required
Let’s face it, these ladies could probably roam around AT&T Stadium in a potato sack and still look stunning. However, regardless of their natural beauty, not everything appears as it seems.
Whether it be fake eyelashes, fake nails, or fake tans, the girls have to look ten out of ten at all times. Face it, pasty, pale skin isn’t really the most glamorous, so many of the ladies sign up for memberships at local Dallas tanning salons. Those lovely long lashes that are batted at fans, yup, those are probably extension care of the Lash Lounge. That long hair that whips around and up and down, chances are there is a little bit of the fake stuff attached to it as well for that fuller more sensual appeal. Some ladies know no boundaries when it comes to making the squad and if that means a little nip, tuck or surgical enhancement to certain eye focusing areas then so be it.
10. Know The Game
What’s hotter than a girl in a cheerleading uniform? How about a hot girl in a cheerleaders uniform that actually knows that game! Considering how often the ladies are interacting with fans, social occasions and business ventures, if they didn’t really understand much about the game or have knowledge about the players on the team, then they would pretty much fill the stereotype of a cheerleader.
One of the qualifications during training camp and their off field testing is the ladies knowledge of the Dallas Cowboys organization, the history of the Cheerleaders team and the National Football League in general. Most average armchair quarterbacks would have a tough time answering the same questions thrown at the girls, ones like “How many stars on a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader uniform?” or “Who was the Cowboys first head coach?”
9. No Dating Players
Whether it’s in high school, college or the pros, all guys want to date the head cheerleader…or any cheerleader for that matter. For the members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders team, one has to think that a full security detail would be needed around the clock. With tens (probably hundreds) of thousands of fans, these ladies have to be very picky and specific as to who they date.
First off, all players are off the market. Secondly and most importantly, these ladies know that they’re more than just a trophy and need to be treated as such. Being that they represent the Lone Star State, members of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders don’t want to get caught up on the cover of the latest gossip magazine and bring off field drama to the team (they players seem to be taking care of that themselves).
8. Job Security
If you think that just because you were part of the squad last year that you’re a shoe-in for the next season, you better give more than your pom-poms a shake. Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran, auditions are a must for everyone. Proving that you have what it takes year after year is important to the team as it shows that members of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders are up to date with some of the latest dance steps, culture and that they have kept their bodies in shape to compete with the incoming class of hopefuls.
While the perk of being a returning veteran is that you get to bypass the first two rounds of tryouts, jumping right into the third and final round, the fact that it’s the FINAL round means veterans better bring their A games!
7. You Need The Brains
The stereotype of cheerleaders is that they’re more beauty than brains and with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders that is far from the truth. Many of these ladies are either putting themselves through school or are business professionals during the day.
From journalists to instructors to executive assistants, these ladies prove that they’re more than just good looks and tight clothing. As previously noted, part of the tryout process for making the team is a written test and while the Cowboys organization is a big component of the exam, so to are topics of current events; American and World history and politics, in addition, to top it off there’s a panel interview that the ladies must impress judges with more than just their dance steps.
6. Piercings & Tattoos
There’s a long list of rules when it comes to being a part of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading team. While there is no maximum age (candidates in their 50s and 60s have auditioned), hopefuls have to be at least 18 years old. In addition to being of age, members of the team have to have their G.E.D or be in the process of graduating high school.
While there are no specific weight or height requirements, the uniform that the ladies rock along the sidelines demands that all candidates have a very lean and tightly toned body. For those who have added some ink or extra piercings to their bodies, other than for earrings or belly-button rings, they all must be covered up and not visible when in uniform.
5. Extra Benefits
We’ve noted that the pay pretty much sucks for the amount of time that these ladies put in for being a part of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders squad, but some of the perks more than make up for it. As one of, if not the most recognizable cheerleading teams in sports history, the ladies aren’t treated that much different than the players on the field, at least when it comes down to the Dallas community.
With the assistance of their sponsors, things like clothing, shoes, body products, meals and discounts on personal purchases are just part of the benefits of being part of the team. Throw in opportunity of free travels around the world, including staying in some of the finest hotels and sometimes the extra benefits can mask up the lack of dollar bills put into their bank accounts.
4. Men We’re Involved At One Point
There have been a number of professional sports teams throughout time that have welcomed male members to their cheer squads. Currently the Baltimore Ravens are the only NFL team to have a co-ed cheer group, but there was once a time in which the the Cowboys had a male as part of their sideline supporters.
In the 1960s, the cheerleaders were labeled the “Cowbelles and Beaux” as they were made of up local high school students, both female and male. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your opinion), the guys were dropped from the squad in 1969 as then GM Tex Schramm noticed that scantily clad ladies were getting much more attention than their male counterparts. Considering the tiny tight outfits that they currently rock, this may be a good thing!
3. The Final Round Struggle
After the lengthy drawn out interview process that is the dance auditions, the candidates that make it to the final round have to endure the dreaded panel interview. Having all the right moves and the right looks means nothing if you can’t impress the judges with your character and intelligence.
As a representative of the Cowboys organization, knowing what you’re taking about when taking part in special events with politicians, military and corporate executives is just as important as when talking to the rowdy fan in the front row. Without knowing the questions in advance, ladies are presented in front of a panel that includes the leaders of the cheer team and Dallas Cowboys executives.
2. Making The Team
In 2006, as we discussed earlier, Country Music Television put together a reality series that follows the audition process and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders team journey. Now in it’s twelfth season and the only one in the NFL, the show focuses on the progression that each hopeful must follow in order to eventually put on the infamous Cowboys Cheerleaders boots and make a spot on the sidelines.
While hundreds of ladies will have a shot to earn their 15 seconds of fame, only 45 girls will be given the opportunity to be highlighted and put through training camp. Given that this is a reality show, filming includes intimate comments from the girls throughout the process and all of their interactions with each other and the coaches. The one negative about the show is that when a girl gets called out or cut, the entire world gets a front row seat to the moment, however on the other hand, for those who succeed, it’s another opportunity for the world to know who they are.
1. Leaked Photos
Back in 2012, Carla Ann may have been the most popular member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders team, thanks in large part to some ill advised photos. For whatever reason people think it’s a good idea to take some nude pics and either save them in the Cloud or send them to their lovers. Ann is no different. Come on folks, do you really think that in this day and age of technology, let alone the fact that you may break up with your partner that these pics won’t somehow get out to the general public?
Well for Ann, her bitter boyfriend decided the best way to get back at her after their breakup was to share her naughty bits with the team. Of course, this did not sit well with the Cowboys organization (chances are if you look hard and long enough you too can find them on the internet). So what happened to our lovely cheerleader? Well she packed her bags and hung up her pom poms as the Cowboys handed out her pink slip.
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