From the Archives

This is a slow time of the year for me, the weeks before the NFL season starts, so I am inaugurating a new segment entitled “From the Archives”.  I have been photographing cheerleaders since my college days (a very long time ago) and have accumulated many photos that I would like to share with our readers.  So, in this first installment, let’s take a look at the Los Angeles Rams from the mid to late 1980’s.

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Check out the head band and the fishnets!  The only thing missing are leg warmers.  Gotta love the ’80s fashions.

Laker Girl Fitness Profile: Annika

How did you prepare for Laker Girls auditions this summer?

I stepped up my workout routine by doing extra cardio and really focusing on stretching, since flexibility is important at auditions. I also worked on increasing my stamina since the first day of auditions is a very long day and requires a lot of energy.

What other styles of dance do you do outside of Laker Girls rehearsals to maintain your skills?

I love taking hip hop and jazz classes, and I really need to get back into ballet too!

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Do you do anything outside of dance to stay fit (ie swimming, biking, etc.)?

I love doing cardio at the gym, and I also love hiking when I get a chance to go.

Take us through your typical workout. Do you use weights, cardio, flexibility exercises? If so, please describe.

I start out with 30-45 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine. Right after that, I stretch because I like stretching when my muscles are still warm. From there, I move on to my favorite weights/resistance exercises–squats, lunges, sit-ups, and various exercises on the large exercise ball.

What do you eat to stay healthy/maintain energy?

I love having eggs with avocado, and fruit on the side for breakfast. It starts my day off right and gives me the energy I need to get going. My favorite lunch is a turkey sandwich or a fruit smoothie, and for dinner I love having a fresh piece of fish with asparagus and couscous! I love having original tart flavor frozen yogurt for dessert because it’s only about 90 calories per serving and absolutely delicious!

Talk about the importance of stretching, yoga or Pilates in your workout.

Stretching is absolutely essential as a dancer, and I love doing it because it is calming and relaxing for me. I love Pilates because it strengthens my core, which in turn makes me a sharper, stronger dancer. Yoga is extremely therapeutic and beneficial for me too. Its simplicity makes it great for beginners too.

How do you balance dancing vs. other fitness related activities?

I like to workout at the gym every other day (the days we do not have practice), so that I’m active everyday and I can alternate activities.

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Who made you aware of the importance of staying fit?

Honestly, I picked it up on my own when I was in college and realized I had gained about 8 of the Freshman 15. I’m pretty self-motivated because I like feeling fit and in good shape. But, I’m also inspired by the trainers at the gym because of their dedication to fitness.

What do you find a “nutritional snack” during the day? In addition, tell us about your favorite meal to eat that you find healthy for your lifestyle.

I love, love, love Fuji Apples–they are a sweet, nutritional snack and they fill me up just enough to hold me over between meals.

What advice would you give to Lakers fans about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

I would say to make diet and exercise equally important–they go hand in hand and both are necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Don’t jip yourself by only doing one or the other.

Do you have an everyday helpful, healthy tips for any of the Lakers Fans?

Drink lots of water!! It gives you energy and is so much better for you than soda and most other drinks. It also helps with portion control because it fills you up.

More Laker Girl fitness profiles, here.

The 2009 49ers Draft Day Party

Draft Day.  A football team’s fortunes may be determined in the few minutes it takes to draft a Peyton Manning or a Ryan Leaf.  For the hardcore football fan, it is one of the most anticipated days of the year.

This past Saturday, I made the long trek to the bay area to experience the 49ers Draft Day Party.  Thousands of 49er fans packed the Santa Clara Convention Center to partake of the festivities and to eagerly await their team’s draft pick.  Fans booed and cheered as the picks were announced, proving that this crowd was as knowledgeable and passionate as those hardcore fans in attendance in New York.  A huge roar erupted when the Raiders, with the seventh pick, dubiously selected Darrius Heyward-Bey, the wide receiver from Maryland whom many considered to be a late first round pick.  Derisive laughter soon followed because that meant with the tenth pick overall, the 49ers were able to select the consensus top wide receiver in the draft, Michael Crabtree from Texas Tech.  Score one for the niners.

Soon after the pick, Head Coach Mike Singletary made an appearance and briefly addressed the crowd.  Now, I was never a Chicago Bear fan, but I became a fan of Mike Singletary after his famous “cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach with them” rant against Vernon Davis’ uninspired play last year.  Go get ‘em coach.

And the best part of the 49ers Draft Day Party…the Gold Rush cheerleaders.

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The Gold Rush were on hand to meet and greet all the fans who came out to support the 49ers.  They graciously signed autographs and posed for photos throughout the day.

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Okay, let’s give some recognition to the Gold Rush and start off the roll call with Meridith and Lauren D.

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The Laker Girls at Fiesta Lakers

Last week I was in Arizona covering the Cardinals cheerleader auditions.  This week, I’m back in L.A. covering the Laker Girls.  For the past eight years, 1330 AM ESPN Desportes, a local Spanish language radio station, has sponsored Fiesta Lakers, a celebration of Latino heritage and, coincidentally, the Lakers.  Thousands of fans packed the Los Angeles Convention Center to watch ballet folklorico, local bands, hip hop dance groups, and to show their support for Los Lakers de Los Angeles.

The Lakers Girls were featured performers at Fiesta Lakers and I could not pass up the opportunity to photograph the NBA’s most renowned and recognized dance team.  For the Lakers are synonymous with basketball in Los Angeles and the Laker Girls are rock stars.  As long as I have been a Lakers fan, the Laker Girls have been the gold standard to which all other NBA dance teams must be judged.  And this latest group is no different.

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Like the thousands of other fans, I waited in line for what seemed like hours to get a glimpse of the famed dance team.  The Laker Girls didn’t disappoint, performing three times over the course of the five hour event.

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Every one of the Laker Girls is a beautiful and talented dancer as you can tell from these photos.

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Now I must say two Laker Girl girls caught my eye.  Fresh faced Annika, a graduate of UCLA, is a wonderful dancer and not too bad on the eyes.

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First year Laker Girl Jessica, a strikingly beautiful blonde, is remarkably photogenic.  With eyes that sparkle and a beautiful smile, Jessica is the epitome of a Laker Girl.

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Of course, the highlight for many was a chance to see the Lakers up close and personal…if for only a few minutes.  Luke Walton, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and heartthrob Sasha Vujacic spoke appreciatively to the fans for all their support.

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Don’t you just hate European players?

But, the crowd really came to see only one person.  Kobe Bryant, the once and future King.  And the King arrived to chants of M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P.  Well, I think one player in Cleveland might take umbrage.  But I don’t think Kobe is too concerned.  Gearing up for the playoffs, Kobe gave a rousing speech to the thousands that had assembled near the stage.

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And with that, Kobe and the rest of the Lakers departed to prepare for the evening’s contest against the Memphis Grizzlies.  I, too, soon departed.  For my job was done.

UCLA’s March Madness

It’s that time of year again, college basketball annual hoops fest formally known as March Madness. Sixty four of the nation’s best college basketball teams competing for the elusive NCAA Championship trophy. March Madness is also a showcase of the some of the nation’s best college cheerleading and dance teams. Throughout the years, one squad has garnered perhaps the most attention on the court, UCLA’s Dance Team.

Once the subject of a 1981 Sports Illustrated article entitled, Eight Beauties and a Beat, the UCLA Dance Team, then called Song Girls, popularized the more glamorous, NBA style uniforms that are de rigueur today. That squad featured a future Miss USA and Miss Universe Runner Up, in Julie Hayek. It was also a squad that was very popular amongst opposing fans and sportswriters who increasingly began to take notice during the Bruins 1980 Final Four run in Indianapolis .

And though UCLA’s basketball fortunes have waxed and waned since then, one constant remains…the glamour and beauty of the UCLA Dance Team. Here are a few photos of the current UCLA Dance Team.

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NBA D-League – Anaheim Arsenal A-List Girls

James, our fearless publisher, emailed me a few weeks ago asking whether I would like to come down to Anaheim and report on the Anaheim Arsenal A-List Girls. You see, I’ve taken on an expanded role with the blog as we take this endeavor to the next level and James has been kind enough to provide me with a couple of opportunities to increase my involvement. So, it was with great excitement that I accepted his offer./I knew this would be a challenge because the Arsenal plays their home games in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, home to the Big West Conference basketball tournament. These arenas can be a challenge because the lighting is typically not so good and you have to have the experience and right equipment to be able to capture fast moving action under these difficult conditions. Now, I have been known to shoot a cheerleader or two in my day, so I came with my “A” game.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

The Anaheim Arsenal play in the NBA D-League, the NBA’s minor league farm system that provides experience and training for young basketball players. Coincidentally, the A-List Girls seem to be a feeder system to other professional cheerleading organizations. For example, former A-List Girls Jenny, Jacqueline, Lauren and Michelle made the jump to the big leagues: Jacqueline and Lauren with the Clippers Spirit, Michelle with the Laker Girls and, of course, Jenny with the Charger Girls. And current A-List Girls Amy, Megan and Monique recently made the 2009 ChivaGirls squad. This is not surprising considering A-List Girls Director Jodi Adamo was a former Clipper Spirit dancer and Laker Girl in the early 90’s. She knows what it takes to perform at the highest levels of professional cheerleading, so I am guessing that being one of her A-List Girls is excellent training for those who aspire to the major leagues of cheerleading.

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One of the first things I realized when I got settled in the arena was the number of families with young kids that were in attendance. The Anaheim Arsenal creates a very family friendly environment with reasonable ticket prices and accessible players and cheerleaders, a rather stark contrast from the more impersonal NBA. You get a sense that the staff of the Arsenal makes it priority to reach out to all the fans. All in all, I think an Anaheim Arsenal game is an excellent value for the entertainment dollar. And the cheerleading is first rate.Editor’s note: Yes, I know they are dancers! But enough chit chat. Let’s get on with the photos. Now, I must say I was a little dismayed when I saw the A-List Girls come out wearing warm ups for the national anthem. I’m a red blooded American male and when I think of professional cheerleaders, I think of hot girls in sexy outfits, not warm ups. I quickly realized that the warm ups were a simple but effective prop incorporated into a hot dance routine. Here’s a few photos of Jen, Victoria, Elyce and Aisha working their warm ups.

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Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

However, I was not to be disappointed because at the end of the first quarter, the A-List Girls changed into more conventional attire. Did I mention that these girls are hot? Yes, sizzling hot! And they are all great dancers, as you can see from these photos.

Here’s Elyce, who hails from Brea, California and aspires to be a nurse.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Victoria and I have something in common. She’s from Pasadena, a city that I used to call home for 10 years. Another thing we have in common is dancing…she’s great at dancing and I’m great at watching dancing.

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Arsenal A-List Girls

Villa Park’s Lindsay K. aspires to become a real estate professional and a buyer for a clothing company.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Statuesque Rhea calls Yorba Linda her hometown and she is also an OC Flyers Victory Girl. The OC Flyers are a professional baseball team owned, in part, by James Denton of Desperate Housewives fame.

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Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Megan, another Yorba Linda native, is one of three A-List Girls who recently made the 2009 ChivaGirls. She’s really nice and very approachable…I’m not saying you should do so, but that’s the great thing about the A-List Girls. You can walk up to them at the game and get an autograph or pose with them for a photograph. That’s unique in professional sports, that level of accessibility. But, let’s get back to Megan.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Interesting fact about Aisha…she’s a football player who aspires to be a top choreographer. Here’s Aisha in her finishing pose from the second quarter dance performance.

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Now I must admit that I was taken a little bit with Teri. You see, Teri has these beautiful eyes and a great smile. And she is very, very photogenic and that’s a rare quality, indeed.

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Arsenal A-List Girls

Now, I haven’t forgotten about Jen. I just don’t have a photo of her in this particular outfit. But, that’s okay because I have a few photos of her in the A-List Girls third uniform of the day. That’s the one thing about basketball versus football…many uniform changes. Here are a few photos of Jen in the A-List Girls second half outfits.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Jen hails from beautiful Del Mar, California which is a suburb of San Diego. Now I was told that Jen is going to be trying out for the San Diego Charger Girls in a few weeks and I wanted to wish her well…you see, that’s my normal gig, covering the Charger Girls. So, maybe we’ll see each other next fall.

And speaking of football, here’s another shot of Lindsay K. doing her best Heisman pose.

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And one of her hollering to the fans…just kidding. It just looks like that. I kid. I kid. Anyway, Lindsay is very photogenic and it was a very interesting look, so I took the shot…it’s what I do.

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And speaking of hot looks, here’s three sizzling photographs of Teri.

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Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Another A-List Girl that was rather striking on the court…Aisha.

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Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

And here are a couple photos of Elyce and Megan dancing during the promotional break in the fourth quarter.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Speaking of fan friendly promotions, the Anaheim Arsenal passed out Thundersticks in the second half to the fans in attendance…mainly kids, who went crazy with these things. Here’s a photo of Teri banging her Thundersticks together.

Arsenal A-List Girls

Because of a number of in-game promotions and a special performance by a local dance company, the A-List Girls didn’t perform a dance routine in the second half. But, Jodi let me know that I could take photographs of the girls throughout the game to get the shots for the blog. So, I took the opportunity during the lulls in the action to take a few posed photos of the A-List Girls.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

After the game, the A-List Girls signed mini posters for the fans in attendance. That’s the thing about going to an Anaheim Arsenal game. You can meet the players and cheerleaders up close, something you rarely get to do at an NBA, MLB or NFL game.

Arsenal A-List Girls

So, in closing I had a great time in shooting my first NBA D-League game. The Anaheim Arsenals put on a great show and the A-List Girls are worth the price of admission alone. They are truly a top notch squad with some great looking dancers, some of whom you might see gracing the sidelines of an NFL game or courtside at an NBA game in the future./My thanks go out to Danny Peterson, Director of Media and Community Relations for the media credential. And a special thanks to Jodi Adamo, A-List Girls Director for providing me with the access and availability to photograph the squad. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

PCB Exclusive: An Interview With Stacie Gazonas, Owner of Zonas Designs

Stacie Gazonas has cheered for the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego Chargers and performed in the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl. In a Professional Cheerleader Blog exclusive, Stacie discusses her experiences as an NFL cheerleader and answers the question, “is there life after cheerleading?”

Early Dance Background

Stacie Gazonas grew up in Lenexa, Kansas about 20 minutes outside of Kansas City. She started taking dance classes at the young age of 3 and began designing leotards for her dance studio at age 13. After being crowned Miss Dance Heart America, Stacie went on to dance on a cruise ship at the age of 19, performing in Las Vegas style productions. She accepted a dance scholarship to the University of Arizona, but quickly realized that she didn’t need a degree in dance to perform in front of a live audience, and changed her major to fashion design, her second love.

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While in college, a friend suggested that she tryout for the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders, a squad that she made at the ripe old age of 18. It was the start of a long and distinguished career in professional cheerleading. Stacie has said that being a professional cheerleader has really shaped who she is today and has blessed her with the ability to combine her passion for dance and fashion design into a lifelong career.

PCB: Why did you become an NFL cheerleader?

SG: I became an NFL cheerleader because I really missed dancing when I was in college and my passion was always in performing, not necessarily in taking ballet classes. My dream came true when I stepped onto the field at Arrowhead stadium for the first time as a Chiefs cheerleader and performed before 80,000 people. I had chills up and down my spine.

My favorite part about cheerleading was the friendships I made on the squad and dancing in front of such a huge crowd. I loved every minute of it! It was all very glamorous too. At the age of 18, not a lot of women are able to have their hair and make up done for them or have a total makeover to really polish their look. The Chiefs cheerleaders always set a standard of being a classy cheerleading team and not to portray themselves like the many stereotypes of professional cheerleaders.

PCB: For many girls, tryouts can be daunting. Please tell us about your tryout experiences and what it was like to make the Charger Girls

SG: It was crazy! There were approximately 400 girls at tryouts and I believe there was a handful that had cheered for other NFL teams. I was so nervous and anxious…the waiting process almost killed me. In my case, I was in a different position than a lot of girls because I knew what it was like to be on an NFL team, so I knew exactly what I was going for and what I had to lose if I didn’t make it. I knew how my life was going to change if I made the squad and I missed it (professional cheerleading) so much I couldn’t wait to be on a team again.



PCB: How competitive was the audition process and what do you think led to your selection?

SG: The audition was very competitive. Some of these girls try out year after year and know the exact process. I made sure that I looked like a Charger Girl with my hair, make-up, fitness, and attire. I wanted the judges to look at me and say, “she looks like a Charger Girl”. I definitely think my dance ability helped me stand out, along with having the “NFL look”. I get nervous during interviews, so that was the area I felt weakest going into tryouts. As funny as it sounds, I would have rather done a solo in front of ten judges than have an interview.

PCB: As with many challenges in life, it is often preparation that is the key to success. How did you prepare for tryouts?

SG: I am not much of a “go to the gym girl”, so I told myself if I go everyday for a month then I can’t be too disappointed with how I looked at tryouts. I made sure my hair was long so I could flip it around and I had the perfect outfit to make a statement. Preparation and knowing what the judges are looking for is the key to any tryout or job interview. It also shows how much you care and want it!

PCB: I think it’s fair to say that most people don’t realize how involved it is to be a professional cheerleader. What can a person expect if they make the squad?

SG: We practiced Monday and Wednesday from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm and on Saturdays. You also have, maybe, one or two promotions a week along with other events and junior Charger Girl programs. We do a lot of appearances throughout the San Diego area and even some international appearances. It is a lot of work, but it is so much fun to be able to get out into the community and meet the fans.

PCB: How many routines do you learn in a week?

SG: At the beginning of the season you learn the majority of your material, so it can be a lot at first. Then as the season starts you add a routine here and there. You always need to practice and make sure you stay on top of your routines!

PCB: What’s your game day schedule like?

SG: It’s crazy! Arrive at 7:30 am, have meetings, a full practice on the field, time to get ready, promotions in the parking lot and even a pregame routine on occasion…and that is all before the game even starts. It is such a long day, but I can’t tell you how excited I was to wake up and get Big Sunday started! Probably my favorite day of the week!

PCB: Life is complicated, particularly when balancing work, school and the obligations of being a professional cheerleader. Is it difficult to maintain all these responsibilities, be a cheerleader and maintain an active social life?

SG: It is definitely a balancing act when it comes to handling work, school, family, and cheerleading. A lot of the times, these organizations want women that have great careers or own their own companies, but then they expect you to be at an event in the middle of the day or take off work to go do a promo. You really have to be flexible and find a way to make it all work.

A lot of times you go…go…go…and the season flashes by because you were so busy. I would always tell the rookies to make sure to take in every moment because it is over so quickly and you never know if you will be back on the team the following year. I will say…it is all worth it!

PCB: I am sure that many of our readers have seen the CMT television series on the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and are familiar with their emphasis on being physically fit and trim. Are there concerns regarding weight or body image in professional cheerleading?

SG: I definitely think you can have a healthy lifestyle as a professional cheerleader. You just need to balance it out. I do think sometimes women put a lot of pressure on themselves and get into bad situations or gain weight after tryouts. Everyone needs to work hard to stay fit and make sure and do it in a healthy way or it will come back to haunt them later. I make sure I work extra hard in practice because I do enjoy eating out and having French fries, calamari and pasta. I know those kind of foods would definitely catch up with me if I didn’t burn those extra calories.

PCB: Have you had any embarrassing moments you’d like to share with our readers?

SG: I have never had a wardrobe malfunction or fell on the field, but my last year on the team, every time we came to a stop after a transition, Alicia, now a Raiderette, would run into the back of me. And it would always crack me up when she tried to cover it up by acting as if she had to tell me something…lol…sorry Alicia!

PCB: So, what’s the best thing about being an NFL cheerleader?

SG: The friendships, hands down. I have made a handful of lifelong friends on this team and I am blessed everyday to have them in my life!

PCB: I’ve been attending Charger games for many years and from a fan’s perspective, I think the two most anticipated games of the season are the Halloween game and the Christmas game. It’s those sexy costumes and the blue velvet Christmas uniforms that the fans love. I am sure you have some interesting thoughts on the topic.


SG:
I loved dressing up for the Halloween game. It’s so much fun to show the crowd a different side of you. The Christmas game is always fun. The fans love the uniforms; however, the girls aren’t so fond of them. Maybe it’s because the uniforms are older than some of the girls.



PCB: Are there any special considerations when performing in these two outfits?

SG: You definitely have to make sure the Halloween costume you choose will stay on. We do not change choreography for this game, so making it work is the key. As for the Christmas uniforms, the girls usually eat a little more than usual before the game since our midriff is covered for once!

PCB: Some might say that they are too sexy and revealing. Your thoughts?

SG: All of the Halloween costumes are approved, so we never wear anything more revealing than our official uniform. We always try to stay family friendly and keep it sexy, but classy.

PCB: While in San Diego, you were a Line Captain for two years. For those of us that don’t know, what are the responsibilities of a Line Captain and how do they differ from that of being a cheerleader?

SG: A line captain is someone who is there for their whole team. They have to know the material inside and out and pay attention to the details in meetings, so they can answer any question at any time. It is a big responsibility and a little more weight on your shoulders, but I love helping out people, so it felt pretty natural for me to step into that position.

PCB: Now, turning to life after cheerleading. You have started your own fashion design company. Please tell us a little about your business and why you started Zonas Designs.

SG: I started my own company, Zonas Designs, officially in November of 2007. I did not originally plan to start one, but after producing uniforms and outfits for friends, demand for my designs grew. I had reached a point that I needed photos of my past uniforms posted somewhere for people to view and have a forum where they could contact me with their requests, so I created a website. Once the website was done, it only was natural to form a company.

Zonas Designs offers three different categories of clothing: dance/cheer attire, jersey attire for women, and swimsuits. Everything we produce is custom made to your specifications. We will help you choose a style, color, detail and then make it to your measurements. Each piece is a unique creation.

PCB: I read that you recently designed new uniforms for the Clippers Spirit. How did that come about and what was the process in custom designing a uniform for the Clippers Spirit?

SG: This season I had the honor of designing a hot outfit for the Clippers Spirit dance team. A lot of times, team directors will see my creations on girls that are auditioning and contact me about my designs and what I can do for them. And that was what happened in this case. A great friend of mine, Harmony, auditioned for her 4th year on the Clippers Spirit dance team wearing one of my designs. That outfit was amazing…it was made from a jersey, but totally reconstructed to get all the great details in the form of a small, sexy top. And that was the inspiration for the Clipper Spirit uniform.

Team directors will email me with their ideas and then I will create 4-6 design sketches. We will tweak the design until they are 100% satisfied with the concept. Then Zonas Designs will produce a sample for approval before proceeding with the final order.

PCB: I seem to recall that you designed some of the swimwear worn by the Charger Girls in their past swimsuit calendar.

SG: The swimwear that I make for calendars, such as the Charger Girls, Redskins, and Chiefs, are a little more detailed and unique than my line of ready to wear swimwear I sell to the public. I specifically design suits that represent the team’s overall image and make it sexy and flattering to get that perfect shot for the calendar.

PCB: Some swimwear is not meant to be worn while swimming and are more for lounging poolside. Are your designs functional as well? Can a girl wear them while swimming in the surf or jet skiing?

SG: My ready to wear swimwear line is definitely functional and has tie sides, neck and back to get the perfect fit and to ensure that you won’t lose anything while jet skiing! As for the calendar shoots, a lot of time the suits have strings or hardware that may not stay in place…so I always find out what my client wants before constructing and designing their suit.

PCB: Your Jersey line seems to be quite popular, certainly among the fans that saw you model one of them during the 2007 Halloween game against the Texans. How popular are these jersey with your customers.

SG: This is probably my #1 selling outfit, yet each is customized for the team, amount of detail and stones wanted. I believe I have made at least one for every team in the NFL!

PCB: Are they individually customized designs or can people purchase them ready to wear?

SG: The jerseys are all customized. Customers send me the jersey they would like to use, that way they get the color, player name and team that they want before customization begins. Then we cut it to specifications and add all the details that make it special and unique.

PCB: Personally, I think these jerseys would be hot sellers, but I can’t seem to find one anywhere. Where can people buy one?

SG: You just order it online at my website, ZonasDesigns.com. Jerseys can be completed in just one week due to our great turn around time. We just need the jersey and your measurements in order to get started.

PCB: Have you considered selling them at online at
the NFL Team stores or popular retail outlets?

SG: Yes, that’s definitely a future plan of mine. There are licensing issues and other legal aspects that I do not have in place yet…but I know they would sell out in a second!

PCB: I’ve seen photos of some veteran Charger Girls wearing your dance wear at tryouts. What makes your dance wear designs unique?

SG: I think I have a huge advantage when it comes to designing audition wear. As a former NFL cheerleader, I was in these girl’s shoes many times and know exactly what they want and what the judges want to see. I make sure the fit is flattering, comfortable and will compliment each girl’s skin color.

PCB: Many of our readers are young women who aspire to become professional cheerleaders. How important is it to wear the right dance wear when auditioning?

SG: If you feel great about what you are wearing and feel confident, it will definitely show on the outside and show through your audition. You want an outfit that will accentuate your strong body parts and a color that compliments your skin tone. Choosing the wrong color can definitely affect the whole mood the judges get from your audition. Zonas Designs works closely with our customers to recommend a style and color that will compliment their figure to maximize their chances of making their dance dreams come true.

PCB: Does more stylish and sexy dance wear really get the judges attention?

SG: Definitely…I know a lot of times the judges will refer to a girl as the “yellow top girl” or whatever particular color that girl was wearing. After seeing 400 girls, it is hard for them to remember names or numbers, but it’s much easier for them to remember individual girls by describing the outfits they wore.

PCB: Is it important to stand out in a good wa
y and does the right outfit make that happen?

SG: Most definitely. That is the number one way to catch a judge’s attention before they even see you dance or speak. First impressions always stick!

PCB: In closing, what does the future hold for you? Is there truly life after cheerleading?

SG: I am so happy with everything I have accomplished. I still have a lot I want to do in life and sometimes I think that I will cheer one more time…for whom, I am not sure. But I still have that itch and passion. The great thing about my job is that I am in contact with dancers and girls on teams, so I am still a part of that world. Even though I am not performing in the spotlight, my outfits definitely are!

PCB: And what advice do you have for those readers who want to become a professional cheerleader or business owner.

SG: I think you should follow your dreams. Sometimes I wake up and think how did I get here and then I realize something my Dad had instilled in me when I was young. He said to always believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything you want to in life.