By Jay Betsill
Special to DFW.com
September 4, 2014
It took a while. At the tail end of a cooler-than-usual summer, August made up for lost time: The sweltering heat and humidity that we have all come to expect finally arrived and put some sizzle in our summer. Since DFW has a well-deserved reputation for being so hot, this is when we celebrate all things that go along with summertime here, including some of the hottest people in the area at some of the coolest locations the Metroplex has to offer.
This year’s bevy of “it” women and men is a nod to the sports-obsessed nature of North Texas: You’ll meet a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, an NBA dancer, an Ice Angel, a former Indianapolis Colts cheerleader and a former Dallas Stars Ice Girl. We even have a beautiful woman who once played football herself and now owns her own business that specializes in helping DFW residents join “Team Sexy.”
Vivian Ralena Born: Riverside, Calif. Current city: Denton Day job: Dance instructor, second-year veteran of the Allen Americans Ice Angels and full-time student at UNT Dream job: An inspirational speaker for adolescent teenagers who are going through hard times and need guidance People may recognize you from: I actually get recognized a lot in public from the CMT show Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, which I have been on the past two years. Interesting fact about you: I love to write, especially poetry.
Tessa David Born: Bloomington, Ind. Current city: Dallas Day job: Executive administrative assistant for Blume Architecture and BSN Sports Dream job: Own my own wellness center. I’ve always wanted to start my own dance studio that is geared more towards workout-type dance for the moms while their children take dance classes. Now I would like it to be even more than that and I want it to have a cryotherapy machine, nutritionist and many other things that would help a person develop a very balanced, healthy life. People may recognize you from: I had the privilege of being an NFL cheerleader for the Indianapolis Colts for five years, which provided so many memorable and amazing opportunities, including getting to perform at Super Bowl 44! After moving to the Dallas area, I spent one season with the Allen Americans Ice Angels.
Sequel Molina Born: Fort Worth Current city: Dallas Day job: Administrative assistant at HEB Dental Excellence Dream job: Working with orphaned chimpanzees. I recently saw a documentary on the Discovery Channel and I think they are the cutest things ever. People may recognize you from: I am heading into my fifth season as an NBA dancer (for the Dallas Mavericks Dancers). My family had season tickets to the NBA when I was growing up and after being a cheerleader in high school, I knew this was my next step. The coolest aspect of being an NBA dancer is being on the court in front of a sold-out arena. It is definitely a major adrenaline rush. Interesting fact about you: Sequel really is my name, not a nickname … I promise! (Editor’s note: Her parents named her Sequel because she was their second child.)
Chelsea Chaney Born: Merkel Current city: Dallas Day job: Bridal stylist Dream job: Host my own national TV talk show about the lifestyle world similar to my blog, ChelseaChaney.com. My first guests on the show would be Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Swift and Chris Pratt. People may recognize you from: The 2012-13 NFL season, when I was a member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. How would you describe your season as one of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders? I had a fantastic time on the squad, made a lot of great friends. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and for me it was an opportunity to live out my dream of a small-town girl in the big city. Interesting fact about you: I am borderline diabetic so I can’t eat sugar. Growing up, there was never any candy or Coke in the house.
Mercedes Owens Born: Tulsa, Okla. Current city: Dallas Day job: Sports reporter for D210TV on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel. I cover the Dallas Cowboys, SMU football and SMU basketball.
Do you have any special experiences from your time as a sports reporter that stand out? As an SMU alum, having the chance to work in the same environment as a legend like head basketball coach Larry Brown last season is something I will never forget. I also did some fan-reaction interviews during the Mavs playoffs against the Spurs, and I filled in for the D210 entertainment reporter last summer, and I interviewed Marlon Wayans for A Haunted House 2. This summer I began covering the Cowboys on draft night and have continued through camp and will do the home games this season at AT&T Stadium. Dream job: I want to host a national sports show and be the “Chelsea Handler of sports.”
Who would your first guests be on your show? I’d have a panel of four with LeBron James, Doc Rivers, Dez Bryant and Kevin Hart. People may recognize you from: I was a Dallas Stars Ice Girl for the past two seasons. Best feature: My sense of humor. I love to laugh and make people laugh. I am definitely a jokester.
There are a few familiar faces among the rookies. Amanda and Julia were Allen Americans Ice Angels, Callie was a Texas Revolution Revs Girl and a FC Dallas Dancer, Courtney C danced for the Texas Legends, Courtni was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, and Mariyah was a San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancer.
FRISCO — The Dallas Stars returned to the Stanley Cup playoffs last season following five years of no postseasons for the 1999 Stanley Cup champions. While the Stars eventually fell to the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks in the quarterfinals round of the Western Conference playoffs, they brought the familiar energy back to North Texas that made Stars games the hottest ticket in DFW in the late 90s and into the early 2000s.
The Dallas Stars Ice Girls also enjoyed a renaissance under director Christina Swanson in her first year at the helm. The Ice Girls had over 100 ladies on hand for their auditions at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco on Saturday, nearly double the amount of ladies who tried out last summer.
Since there are multiple ways to audition for the Ice Girls — dancer, skater or both — the day is split into a first round of skating and dancing. The skating took place on the arena’s practice ice rink while the dance portion was on an elevated stage inside the arena. Those who opted to skate did freestyle as well as skating drills while those dancing learned choreography and then performed for the seven judges that included Swanson and other Ice Girls personnel.
“I have a strong cheerleading, gymnastics and ballet background,” said rookie candidate Courtney C. “Since I can pull on my gracefulness from ballet into skating and my sharpness from cheerleading into the dance, I am hopeful that it will be the winning combination for this audition.”
Following the first round of judges deliberations and an initial cut, the returning veterans arrived for the semi-final round. The semi-finals followed the same format of skating and dance, only this time the arena’s overhead lights were lowered with only the direct lights shining on the stage. This gave it the effect of what the performance will look like during Stars home games at American Airlines Center.
“I feel more confident going into my third audition process because I know what to expect,” said Melissa, auditioning for what would be her third season with the Stars. “That being said, it may actually be more nerve racking because now I know what is at stake and how amazing it is to be a Dallas Stars Ice Girl.”
The deliberation following the semi-final round ran about an hour longer than originally planned due to the extremely high level of talent demonstrated by the candidates. For those who would advance there is a week-long final round followed by a week of training camp after which the final team will be announced.
Swanson returned with the names of 32 ladies (12 veterans and 20 rookies) who would be advancing to the final round. The veterans are Stephanie, Jade, Rachel, Cheri, Jessica, Melissa, Ashley, Cassie, Belinda, Kendall, Lauren and Emma. The rookie candidates are Katie, Taylor, Olivia, Brooke, Brittany, Shelby, Kelsey, Callie, Alex, Julia, Courtney J., Taryn, Whitney, Madison, Christen, Courtni W., Nicole, Amanda, Mariyah and Courtney C.
“I’m so blessed and honored to be going into my second season as the Dallas Stars Ice Girls director,” Swanson said. “I know this is going to be an exciting year and the excitement started on Saturday with the announcement of my new assistant director, Kamwin Dietz, and taking 32 very talented young ladies to finals.”
Auditions for the Dallas Stars Ice Girls kicked off last weekend in Frisco, TX. The field of candidates has been narrowed down to 32 finalists who will duke it out tonight to see who makes the team. Good luck, ladies. Werq it out!
Top Row: Madison, Courtni W., Belinda*, Emma*, Whitney, Courtney J., Olivia, Nicole, Brooke, Brittany, Lauren, Christen
Middle Row: Jessica*, Jade*, Cheri*, Kendall*, Alex, Taryn, Taylor, Katie, Callie, Julia, Kelsey
Bottom Row: Rachel*, Mariyah, Shelby, Ashley*, Cassie*, Amanda, Stephanie*, Melissa*, Courtney C.
The Dallas Stars Ice Girls are a group of 23 dancers and skaters that can be found dancing, performing ice maintenance, signing autographs and posing for photos at all Stars home games at American Airlines Center.
The day I visited, the Ice Girls were in for an extra long day, starting with a pre-game flash mob outside the arena with some girl scouts.