This Sunday’s Pro Bowl will feature four-year Miami Dolphins Cheerleader veteran Natalie
, a two year MDC captain. Photo courtesy of our Florida Correspondent Jackson.
Dotti Groover-Skipper thinks every person has key life events that shape the person he or she becomes. For her, it was her time as a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader and as a self-esteem instructor in Tampa that led to her work fighting human trafficking. As chairwoman of the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking-Tampa Bay, she’s heavily involved in raising awareness of the issue and promoting January as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Tampa Bay Times staff writer Caitlin Johnston talked with Groover-Skipper, 57, recently to learn more about the issue.
I know trafficking itself has been going on for decades, but when do you think it became the prominent issue it is today?
I have to give a lot of the credit to the Commission on the Status of Women, of which I’m vice chair, who held a fall forum back in November 2012 and really shone a spotlight on the issue of child sex trafficking. We brought community leaders together to begin a dialogue of how can we work together to eradicate child sex trafficking … We were then charged to go back to the county commissioners with the recommendations that we gleaned from the forum on what the county could do to help solve this problem of child sex trafficking.
Can you tell me a little more about the Abolish Movement?
The Abolish Movement is just amazing. Ad2 Tampa Bay was the creative organization that put this campaign together. It’s very edgy, I think. Very youth oriented, which is a target that we wanted to go after as well. And it’s a week of events to bring awareness to the community on the issue of child sex trafficking.
Can you feel awareness growing?
Absolutely. A year ago, when I first took over the helm of the community campaign, I would say most everybody I talked to had no idea that this happened in our community. And now I would say probably one out of three people I talk to knows, or has at least heard, about human trafficking. But I think we still have a long way to go.
I’m noticing the questions are shifting more from “What, that’s a thing here?” to “Oh, I’ve been hearing about that, but I don’t really get it.”
Exactly. That’s what I’m seeing, too. People still need to learn a lot more about the signs to look for and what to do if they see the signs. And that’s what we’re anticipating this whole Abolish Movement will do.
How did you get into this work in the first place?
There were two major events for me. One was when I was a (Miami Dolphins) Cheerleader. I was thrown into a world that I had never experienced before. And luckily I made good decisions back then, but all around me I saw these beautiful young women who were not making good decisions and willing to sell themselves for a cheap high. And I was like the mother hen. I’ve always been that way. But that really opened my eyes.
The second major transformation for me was probably about 20 years ago, about 10 years after the cheerleading incident. I was commissioned to teach self-esteem classes in the projects here in Tampa. And in my class there was a 13-year-old girl who was extremely angry. She asked me if she could bring her 4-year-old sister to the next class. She brought her, and something in my gut told me there wasn’t something right about the 4-year-old. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the 13-year-old and her little sister lived with their grandmother, and their grandmother was selling them on the street every night for drug money. And the little 4-year-old girl had gonorrhea.
I can’t tell you how that shook me to the core. Because I was still living in the Beaver Cleaver world. I could not believe that there was such evil that a 4-year-old’s grandmother would sell her on the streets to get high.
What led you to become a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader?
I was dared to go down to the Orange Bowl and try out. And I kind of did it just as a joke, thinking, “There’s no way.” There were 500 strong women trying out, and I kept making all the auditions and going back. And they finally cut it to 30, and I made the 30. And they made a first string and a second string, and I was on the first string. So it was all very exciting.
But again, that’s when I was thrown into that world. All kinds of parties. And in the late ’70s and early ’80s in Miami Beach, that was the disco era. A lot of drugs. I look back now and think, “How did I make good decisions?”
That’s always been a question to me, what drives a person to make good decisions when so many people around are making not-so-good decisions and having the consequences that follow.
You can almost compare that to children growing up who are getting the whole world thrown at them. What is it that leads some children, or adults, to go one way instead of another?
Exactly. I know many of the cheerleaders were invited to be in Playboy, because it was really big then. And I actually was in the magazine, but I had my clothes on. So I only made like $1,000, where if you took your clothes off you made $10,000. But I just wasn’t going to go there.
What’s interesting is that I remember saying back then, “You know, what if I have children one day? What if I have a son?” And lo and behold, I have seven children, six sons. So I’m glad there’s no back issue where they can go back and say, “Whoa! Mom!”
A Miami Dolphins Cheerleader
Natalie, a 4-year veteran and 2-year captain has been selected as the MDC representative for the 2014 Pro Bowl. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, she received her Bachelors Degree from Ball State and is currently a financial coordinator. Natalie was the overwhelming favorite for the honor, voted on by her peers.
[Natalie at DolphinsCheerleaders.com]
Mathematically all NFL losses are equal, emotionally however some defeats are more devastating then others. A week ago Sunday the Dolphins took a early lead versus the Panthers but finally surrendered it in the final seconds of play. As the air came out of Sun Life Stadium the silence was deafening, Fin Fanaticals were in shock. The main culprit was that the offense took the second half off. Can’t become conservative in the New NFL—too much pressure to ask your defense to make a final stand. Panthers 20 Fish 16.
The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders never take any time off on gameday—-they are non-stop, get up and go, from hours before kickoff. Sunday performances included pre-game, quarter breaks and halftime dances at midfield. I love their precision kick lines and their famous prancing movement around the stadium. The MDC included the junior cheerleaders and fans in their opening showcase. Very visual presentation as they danced from end zone to end zone. The Dolphins do a nice job in cultivating the interest of their young fans.
Great home games coming up in December—-that team from Massachusetts and the J-E-T-S are in town. Tickets are available–come out to a game and meet some MDC members signing calendars on the outside Plaza. Get a photo taken with these gorgeous and talented young ladies.
Our thanks out to Emily Snow, Cheerleader Director and Coordinator, for granting Ultimate Cheerleaders access to cover the MDC on a beautiful South Florida day.
Enjoy the photos:
Brianna, Alison, Rochelle, Megan, Dana & Jacki
[Dolphins Cheerleaders Gallery]
PS: Kudos to the Dolphins for bounce back victory over the Jets in the Meadowlands.
Frequent contributor Kevin was in Miami on Sunday and he sent this note along with some photos of the MDC:
I treated myself to this weekends Dolphins home game honoring all military personnel. I even upgraded my ticket to the Ford Sideline Club, where you can watch cheerleader rehearsals prior to the game, then go the Dolphins sideline where you stand and watch the game from field level. If you want to watch any of the actual game though you have look at the video boards due to all the people along the sidelines. However you do get up close to the lovely Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. Enjoy the pics with many uniform changes thru out this game.
[Dolphins Cheerleaders Gallery]
A Miami Dolphins Cheerleader
Norwegian Cruise Line and the Miami Dolphins announced today that the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders will christen Miami’s ultimate ship, Norwegian Getaway, as the official Godmothers. The Christening Ceremony will take place on February 7, 2014 on board Norwegian Getaway, the largest ship to homeport year-round in Miami. The line also announced a partnership with the Miami Dolphins that designates Norwegian Cruise Line as the “Official Cruise Line” of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.
“Norwegian Getaway is Miami’s ultimate ship, so the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders are a great fit with our brand as they are excellent role models and global representatives of South Florida,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and CEO. “There’s no better match here in Miami than to have these outstanding women christen our new ship.”
“We are honored to be selected by Norwegian to be the Godmothers of their newest ship, Norwegian Getaway. Norwegian Cruise Line is a first class organization and a well-known brand in our community, making this an ideal partnership,” said Emily Snow, director of the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. “It is truly a privilege to be named as the Godmothers of Norwegian Getaway and we are anxiously awaiting the christening celebration.”
Norwegian Cruise Line is also partnering with the Miami Dolphins throughout the football season at Sun Life Stadium and is an official sponsor of the team. At each home game, ticket holders can picture how they would “Cruise Like a Norwegian” by having their photograph taken in front of a Norwegian Getaway backdrop and they can enter a sweepstakes to win a cruise for four on Norwegian Getaway. On-site ambassadors are available with information about Norwegian’s newest ship and overall fleet. During the Miami Dolphins “Salute to Service” in the third quarter at home games, a military hero is recognized with a cruise for two on Norwegian Getaway, courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian Cruise Line is also being promoted on the stadium television network for all events at Sun Life Stadium year-round, along with permanent signage under the scoreboard. The partnership also extends onboard Norwegian Getaway, as the ship’s library will house Miami Dolphins memorabilia highlighting the team’s rich history.
To celebrate the announcement of the Dolphins Cheerleaders as Godmothers of Norwegian Getaway, the cheerleaders will make an appearance at Norwegian Cruise Line’s photo area on the Grand Plaza (across from the Dolphins store at Gate G) at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, October 20 from 11 am to 12 pm. The Cheerleaders will be available for photos and will be giving fans commemorative posters.
We added a batch of some 60+ photos to our Miami Tampa preseason album. Enjoy.
Nicole landed the cover on the new calendar.
Natalie is a 2 year line captain.
Brooke is enjoying her rookie year.
[Dolphins Cheerleaders Gallery]
A Miami Dolphins Cheerleader
Fins cheerleader, an ex-Texan, decided she could (shhh…) do better than the Dallas Cowboys squad.
By Ben Crandell
September 4, 2013
As a Miami Dolphins cheerleader, Lauren Jones is quick on her feet, and knows how to tip-toe around an indelicate question.
The Plantation resident — direct from cheerleader central casting: statuesque, blonde, smile like a 200-lumen flashlight — was raised deep in the heart of Texas. Dallas Cowboys country. But when she decided to pursue an NFL cheerleading job, her No. 1 choice, she says, was the Miami Dolphins’ squad.
Because the Cowboy cheerleader mystique is so old school, right, Lauren? Plus, the owner’s an idiot. And, c’mon, can you win with Tony Ro…
PHOTOS: Miami Dolphins cheerleading practice
“No, no, they’re great. The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders are great,” she says, her voice lowering with each word. “That’s all I can say,” she says, with a laugh. “Emily was a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.”
“Emily” would be Emily Snow, who has been coming in and out of the room during a cheerleader practice session this week at Sun Life Stadium. Snow is the director of the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, Lauren’s boss.
Both have been plenty busy lately, with the squad practicing for the upcoming football season and for Thursday night’s unveiling party for the 2014 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar, a runway show at Liv nightclub in the Fontainebleau hotel. A limited number of tickets ($25) are available for the event, a fundraiser for Miami Dolphins Foundation community-service efforts.
The Dolphins cheerleader “style” is among the reasons Lauren, a.k.a. Miss September, moved from Austin three years ago to try out for the squad. She prepared by watching all the NFL cheerleader teams online, and the Dolphins stood out.
“I loved the style. I thought that it was glamorous and it was fun. And they were still very athletic,” she says.
Lauren just graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a B.S. in exercise-sports science and wants to continue her studies and become a physical therapist. Or she could open a bakery.
Last month, the AOL online foodie travel series “Anthony Eats America,” featuring actor and comedian Anthony Anderson (“Law & Order,” “Guys With Kids”), posted a segment with the host and Lauren preparing her mom’s carrot cake recipe in a suite at Sun Life Stadium. (AOL’s story, she says, is that they wanted to do a baking story in Miami and Googled “Miami” and “bake” — and happened to stumble across her cheerleader profile reference to her mom’s cake. Uh, OK…)
The five-minute show (See: On.aol.com/show/anthony-eats-america) reveals that the name of the decadent recipe is Get a Man Carrot Cake. Sorry, fellas, it works. She’s engaged.
IF YOU GO
The 2014 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar will be unveiled at 8 p.m. Thursday at Liv nightclub in the Fontainbleau Hotel, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets: $25 donation at DolphinsCheerleaders.com/Unveiling, where you also can order the calendar ($14.99, plus shipping).
Here’s a reminder of what the uniforms look like.
And here are the results: