The Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders kick up the energy at the first Titans Code Blue Pep Rally

Last Friday, Nashville’s NFL fever was stoked with the first ever Titans Code Blue Pep Rally, featuring the Mayor of Nashville, Titans players, Titans mascot T-Rac, announcers, marching bands, live music, and, of course the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders. Besides performing, signing calendars, posing with fans in photos, and helping during prize giveaways, the Cheerleaders may have also earned some spots on the Titans QB depth charts.

Downtown’s Walk of Fame Park hosted the event highlighted by appearances by Titans tight end Jared Cook, safety Michael Griffin, linebacker Colin McCarthy, and cornerback Jason McCourty, plus a presentation to Nashville Mayor Karl Dean of a personalized 12th Man Titan jersey. And among the required ingredients for any pep rally, the Titans Cheerleaders provided a dose of 1000 times the daily recommended amount of energy to get the fans ready for some football!

The Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders perform during the inaugural Titans Code Blue Pep Rally in downtown Nashville

As the Titans Cheerleaders entered the stage the team’s statement chant, “We are, TITANS! We are, TITANS,” fans could sense that things were going to get shaking in Country Music Walk of Fame Park. The Titans Cheerleaders performed to the cheers of the fans, and then interacted with them. Signing the calendars that were revealed the night before at the calendar release party, taking photos with the attendees, and just being the gracious, effervescent squad that they are all the time.

Erica and the TTC provide fans the chance for fans to connect to the team

Cheerleader Tiffany poses with swimsuit Tiffany

After a performance by a marching band, another pep rally staple, the Titans Cheerleaders returned to the stage during the giveaways of some cool prizes. On stage, Anne P was asked how the game day excitement of the fans affects the Cheerleaders, and Anne responded, “My absolute favorite part of the game is always that minute we run out to the field, all the fans are in the stadium cheering. There’s nothing like it here in Nashville! So we are excited for Sunday!”

Anne P talks about the feeling of hearings tens of thousands cheering fans

Some of the prizes were little footballs that the Cheerleaders threw to fans. From a stage, over a concrete performance area, all hitting their targets of eager fans, the Titans Cheerleaders showed that the Titans have some really good arms in their organization, not only Locker and Hasselbeck, but on the sidelines too!

Calendar swimsuit designer and Parsons grad Jalanda shows her arms strength. "Go deep, Tim Gunn!"
Katy and Chocez

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Patriots Cheerleaders head west to Springfield’s Basketball Hall of Fame

New England Patriots Cheerleaders Caitie, Cassie, and mascot Pat Patriot at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame"]<

History tells us that in 1891 Springfield, Massachusetts, physical education teacher James Naismith put peach baskets on the walls of the YMCA and invented basketball as a winter activity for a rowdy class with “cabin fever.” But I posit that perhaps the future physician Naismith thought, “I will invent a game that will become so popular, that there will be a Hall of Fame named for me right here in Springfield, and in the summer, we can invite some of New England’s best cheerleaders to the Hall.” Nice plan Dr. N, and it worked, but unfortunately it took a little too long to all pan out for you to get to meet them, since you joined the big pick-up game in the sky in 1939.

As part of the “60 Days of Summer” at the Naismith Hall of Fame, Patriots Cheerleaders Cassie and Caitie, along with mascot Pat Patriot were on hand last Wednesday for an autograph session and to be in photos with their multitudes of fans. The 60 Days of Summer program offers 60 consecutive days of family oriented interactive museum programming from July 1 to August 31. There will be some cool activities, so if you are in Springfield, check out the rest of the upcoming activates here.

But it cannot get any cooler than meeting NFL Cheerleaders Cassie and Caitie. Cassie is in her second season as a Patriots Cheerleader. A dance instructor from Oakdale, Connecticut, Cassie was on the squad that went to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis last February. I did not want to bring up the memories of a loss (to a cheerleader-less franchise at that), but, as an Indy resident, I had to ask if my city hosted sufficiently. Despite the loss, Cassie was overwhelmingly positive about being at her first Super Bowl. “Actually, it was SO fun just being there on the sidelines of the Super Bowl,” Cassie smiled. “It was just awesome.”

And although rookie Cheerleader Caitie has not been to a Super Bowl yet, the exercise physiologist from Stratford, Connecticut had a recent interesting “wing walking” experience. As our Sasha recently pointed out here, some of the Patriots Cheerleaders were photographed on the wings of a Jet Blue airliner as part of their calendar photo shoot trip to Jamaica. Caitie was one of the cheerleaders on the wing. “They drove the stairs up to it,” Caitie explained. “It was kind of scary, but it was a really cool picture!” laughed Caitie.

Many fans were probably visiting the Hall to take a respite to beat the heat of the summer of 2012. I asked mascot Pat Patriot, who is emotive but on the quiet, well, silent side, if he was hoping for cooler weather, and Pat signaled, “a little bit.” When asked if he would rather be on the sidelines for a game that was 100 degrees or zero, Pat emphatically signaled “zero!”

So it was so nice to see Caitie, Cassie, and Pat at the hoops hall. And until there is a pro cheerleader marble columned Hall of Fame for the deserving people in pro cheer/dance, maybe the throngs that swamped the Patriots Cheerleaders autograph table can plant the seed that some center court entertainers deserve to be in Naismith’s hall. Perhaps Laker Girl Paula Abdul, or some of the many other influential people like the Orlando Magic Dancer’s Manager (and former OMD herself) Jeanine Klem-Thomas, whose squad brought dunking dancers to the NBA. Sure Dr. Naismith, you had lots of good ideas, but you missed adding mini-trampolines and dancers to the equation. Adding some dance/cheer notables to your Hall would be a good set of moves in Springfield. And Canton, you’ve got next for the football sidelines!

There are a few more photos at this link.

 Caitie and Cassie
Caitie and Cassie

Bucs Cheerleaders Abroad

Spreading the Word: Cheerleaders in London

Jul 14, 2009 – Their outfits drew looks, as is usually the case, frankly. In this case, however, some of the stares were born of confusion.

As it turns out, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders outfit is a real attention-getter in London, even more so than those wearing the uniforms expected. That’s true throughout the United Kingdom, actually…and that’s a good thing, because the half-dozen Buccaneers Cheerleaders who recently took a five-day promotional tour of the U.K. were there specifically to draw attention.

“Everyone loved us when we were there,” beamed Kelli Jones, one of the six Bucs Cheerleaders to make the trip in late June and early July along with Cheerleading Manager Sandy Charboneau. “At first, people didn’t really know why we were there or why we were dressed the way we were, because American football is not as big in Europe as soccer.”

Jones and her teammates were happy to fill in the blanks for any interested onlookers: They were in the U.K. to promote the 2009 American Bowl game between the Buccaneers and the New England Patriots. The Bucs and Patriots will face each other in London’s Wembley Stadium on October 25, marking the third consecutive year in which the NFL has staged one of its regular-season games at that site.

The first two American Bowl games in London — Miami vs. the New York Giants in 2007 and New Orleans vs. San Diego last year — were big hits among NFL fans in the United Kingdom. The league expects intense interest in the Tampa Bay-New England clash, too, and the Bucs’ Cheerleaders aimed to add to the growing excitement.

“We were there promoting the game, promoting the Buccaneers and trying to rally support for the game in October,” explained Jones. “So far I hear they’ve sold 70,000 tickets and they’re looking to sell at least 10,000 more. I think with our P.R. tour around U.K. we did a pretty good job.”

Jones and Charboneau were joined on the trip by fellow cheerleaders Anna Duncan, Roseanne Strobel, Tiffany Jimenez, Sara Tetzler and Stephanie Mookas. The Bucs’ most enthusiastic rooters have been globetrotters of late; another group of 12 cheerleaders recently returned form a tour of military bases in Japan and Guam.

The crew that went to Europe didn’t confine their efforts to London; they toured much of the United Kingdom, spreading the word about the Bucs’ impending visit from Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland to Brighton, Sheffield, Newcastle and other spots in England. When the Buccaneers return as a full team in October, their six visiting cheerleaders from the summer will be able to show the rest of the squad around. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders plan to arrive in London a week before the game to attend various events and promote the game again.

For Jones, the return visit will be a welcome one. Her advance trip with a handful of teammates was a five-day whirlwind of appearances and sightseeing, and unlike anything she had experienced before.

“I had never been overseas before, so it was very exciting me to make the trip,” gushed Jones. “I can actually say, ‘Oh, I was in London last week.’ How cool is that? It was nonstop but it was totally worth it. How often can you say you went to Europe and you got to see Scotland and all these castles and Buckingham Palace? Everybody can’t say that. It was an awesome trip. All the girls had such a good time.”

They made sure the people they met did, too. That was especially true during a trio of stops in Glasgow, Newcastle and Brighton, where the cheerleaders held clinics on their craft with groups of local children. Conducting such camps is nothing new to the cheerleaders, but it was a novel experience for the kids they encountered.

“It’s always fun to be around kids and see how excited they can be. I think that was probably the best part of the trip. Most of the kids were unfamiliar with American football, and cheerleaders in particular because cheerleading isn’t a big thing in the U.K. So they received us very well. They were so excited for us to be there. That was a lot of fun, hanging out with the kids. The surroundings were different, but kids like to have fun no matter where you are, so that was great. That was probably where we made the biggest impact.”

Whether in schools, on the streets or at Wimbledon — where they were interviewed for a British television network — the visiting cheerleaders did their best to represent the Buccaneers proudly.

“When we’re in uniform, we’re in a Buccaneers mindset,” said Jones. “It’s the Buccaneers, 24/7, no matter where we go. Just walking into a hotel, we know we’re representing the Buccaneers. That is constantly on our minds. We always knew what our purpose was while we were there: to represent the Bucs and the NFL as a whole in Europe. We’re trying to help spread American football around the world.”

That is the NFL’s ultimate goal, of course, and it has found a strong foothold in London. The games in 2007 and 2008 drew huge crowds, and the Buccaneers already have an impressive and loyal fan base in London. From the feedback she and her teammates received during their five days in the U.K., Jones believes this year’s game will prove to be very popular.

“I’m told the previous two games have been sold out, and I think we drummed up some more support with our media blitz,” said Jones. “We at least got the word out, so hopefully that will lead to some word-of-mouth and some added interest. I think it’s going to be a pretty big deal by the time we get there.”

Lynn O’Brien Cheer and Dance Camps

Former New Orleans Saintsation Lynn O’Brien runs her own Cheer and Dance Camps. But the most important thing Lynn wishes the girls would take away from the camps is not cheer and dance technique. She wants each girl to walk away from her clinics and classes with a smile, pride, and knowledge that they can use in the future. Lynn says, “It is a rough world out there, especially for girls.”

Lynn O'Brien
Lynn with a dance camp class

Before we get back to the camps, here’s a little about Lynn. She danced on her high school dance team, the Goldenettes at Turner High School in Kansas City, Kansas. She was also a UDA All-Star Dancer. Lynn had always wanted to cheer for the NFL growing up. After high school she met her then boyfriend (now husband) David and moved to New Orleans after dating long distance for two years.

She started college at the University of New Orleans and worked as a waitress. One of the girls she met waitressing was on a dance team, the “Dominators of Dance”, that performed at Mardi Gras Parades. Lynn tried out and made that team. Unfortunately her friend that had introduced her to was kicked off the team for not perfecting a signature move. Lynn consoled her friend by saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll try out for the Saints”. Two months later they both tried out and made the team.

Since she had always loved pro football, Lynn says have that one of the most exciting parts of being a NFL Cheerleader was being so close to action. During one of the very first games she cheered at two players tackled with terrific force and impact just two feet from her. Lynn says that most of her teammates moved away, but she was too busy watching to see if the Saints still had the ball.

Her proudest moments as a Saintsation would come while visiting small towns outside of New Orleans. The people, the kids and the entire town were so grateful for the Sainsations appearances. Lynn says she felt such a great sense of pride when she stood under the hotel’s marquee that read “Welcome Saints Cheerleaders”. She says, “I know it’s a small thing, but you can’t take small things for granted.

Lynn on the set of Kansas City LIVE

Today Lynn runs Lynn O’Brien Cheer and Dance Camps. There are five-to-eight week long camps over the summer, as well as two day clinics and weekly classes. Lynn decided to start the camps just after she had her fist child, David. She was not ready to leave him for a long period of time and really wanted to dance again. She had an idea to hold a cheer camp where she would utilize her talents both as a dancer and as a teacher.

During the first camps the girls seem to really open up to her and talk about pretty important things. Lynn had 5 year-olds telling her they think they need to go on a diet! She realized the impact she could have on their lives. These girls really looked up to her, really listened to her and she had to take advantage of that.

A typical class begins with stretches, dance and cheer technique. Then they move on to free dance, where Lynn talks to the girls about moving to the music, if the music goes fast, dance fast, if the music moves slow, dance slow. Most importantly, Lynn tells them dance in a way that makes you feel good. She encourages the girls to use dance as a release of feelings. She advises, if you are happy, sad, mad, scared, just put on music in their room and dance and soon you will feel better.

Then they have “girl talk”. Lynn explains to the girls that now that they are on a dance team (cheer team) together they are best friends. They can rely on each other to learn and lean on. She brings up a topic and let the girls comment on their experiences and their thoughts. Some “girl talk” topics include: body image, giving to our community and those in need, standing up for yourself, healthy eating, smoking prevention, taking care of yourself, a positive body image and role models and much more.

Lynn gives all the girls her e-mail address and phone number in case they want to talk or just let her know how school is. She says she gets great e-mail updates and questions about issues the girls are facing at school.

Lynn says she is especially pleased when parents tell her stories of how their daughters came home and taught the family a lesson that Lynn taught them. One example Lynn cites is a mom who told her 6 year-old daughter had another girl that was being mean to her and mom asked her how she dealt with it. The girl said “I put on my best cheerleader smile and said, I am sorry you are having a bad day, but I care about you.” Her mom said, “You sound just like Ms. Lynn.”

Lynn says that each girl at each camp, class, and clinic holds a special place in her heart. She has had over 350 girls participate in her camps in the past five years and she can tell you something about each of those girls.

Lynn O'Brien

Lynn’s three-year old daughter Maddie is now participating in the camps and classes, and they have a great time making up the dances and learning from each other.

Lynn also has a clinic for the winter that is held one week before Christmas. The girls learn a fun Christmas dance, rockin’ around the Christmas tree, two cheers and we will talk about the importance of giving. And there are more clinics coming during Spring Break. And between camp, classes, teaching pre-school and raising her own children Lynn spends an astounding amount of time with kids, so how do she do it all and keep her sanity? Lynn says she adores children, her own and others. “Kids are amazing and have nothing but love to give. I have never loved a job so much. I love how excited the girls are, the way they look up to me, the impact I have on them. I also appreciate the parents. I think I would go insane without kids. I have a very goofy personality. I need to be crazy and silly and I just don’t think adults would get that.”

Lynn speaking about her Cheer and Dance Camp from Kansas City LIVE! Learn more about Lynn’s camps at

2009-10 Houston Areo Dynamics Auditions

Date: August 1st 2009
Time: Registration – 9:00am, Audition – 10:00am
$10 registration fee at audition – Cash Only
Location: Shops at Houston Center
Shops at Houston Center


Please fill out the Aero Dynamic application and send with an 8×10 full body photo to:

Houston Aeros
Attn: Aero Dynamic Auditions
1221 Lamar St. Suite 1100
Houston, TX 77010

Applications must be received by July 20

Must have a full/part time Job or attend college full/part time
18 Years of Age by August 1st 2009 (NO EXCEPTIONS)
Reliable Transportation
Must attend all practices (Tuesdays & Thursdays), games, community and charitable appearances


Yes. You will be required to make up your own dance with your own 1 minute song choice (Please have edited music).


Dance shorts to show your legs (required for uniforms)
Midriff-baring top (Dance or Athletic Bra-Top)
Dance or Athletic Shoes
Select attire that is eye catching and unique


Have your hair and make-up performance ready; please make sure to have your make-up to accent your natural beauty. Your hair should be fixed to the style it is currently in and not to hide your face.


Registration will start at 9am in the Park Shops Mall and you will be given a number when you register. You will then proceed to the photography area where you will be photographed with our photographer.

At 10am the auditions will begin and we will start to call out numbers randomly for each individual to perform their own 1 minute choreographed dance.

After every participant performs we will have a 30 minute lunch break.

You will then learn a 1 minute dance routine choreographed by a dance instructor and perform in groups in front of the judges.

Your 1 minute choreographed music on a CD
Valid Drivers License
$10 Registration Fee (Cash Only)

No. Being an Aero Dynamic is time consuming and requires commitment to the Aeros for a full season. Aero Dynamic dancers do have full time jobs or attend college and is a volunteer position.

Shops at Houston Center
1200 McKinney St., #545
Houston, TX 77010

Parking is available in the Shops at Houston Center garage at the corner of Austin and McKinney or at the parking meters on the streets around the building. Please bring cash for parking, an ATM is located in the Shops.

[Houston Aero Dynamics]

Sixers to Hold Final Round of Auditions for Sixers Dancers Finals Open to the Public

The Philadelphia 76ers will hold the final round of auditions for the 2009-10 Sixers Dancers at Chickie’s & Pete’s (1526 Packer Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145) on Monday, July 13. The 30 semi-finalists that advanced past the first-round of auditions will compete for a spot on the team beginning at 7:00pm

The event is free and open to the public.

All finalists will perform as a group followed by performances in groups of four. The Sixers Jr. Dancers and Alumni Dancers will perform as well throughout the evening.

Sixers public address announcer Matt Cord will emcee the event. Special guest judges include CBS-3 sports reporter Don Bell, NBC-10 anchor Dawn Timmeney, NBC-10 sports reporter John Clark, CSN anchor Marshall Harris, 100.3 the Beat’s radio hosts Charlamagne and Pooch, 610-WIP radio broadcaster Hugh Douglas, one of the East Coast’s top advertising and editorial photographers Michael Spain-Smith, and Pete Ciarrocchi of Chickie’s & Pete’s.

daynasixersUnder the direction of new Coach and former Sixers Dancer Dayna Nadler Hafetz, the Sixers Dancers are entering their 14th season as an integral part of the 76ers game entertainment package. The Sixers Dancers represent the 76ers organization at home games and many of the promotional and community appearances throughout the year.

During her seven years as a Sixers Dancer, Dayna had the opportunity to perform at both the NBA All-Star Game in 2000 and NBA Finals in 2001. Also during that time, she has performed alongside Will Smith, Destiny’s Child, Pink, Ludacris, and appeared on MTV’s Rock and Jock, ESPN Pro Dance Special, as well as various Comcast commercials and television specials.

Cheerleaders Need to Make the Hard Cuts

The Ravens had their cheerleader tryouts last weekend, and it’s never easy looking for the “total package.”

by Mike Duffy, Content Writer
Mar 7, 2009

An unprecedented number of glittered faces, dance shoes and fluorescent tights filled Baltimore’s Merritt Downtown Athletic Center last weekend for the first step in becoming a Ravens cheerleader.

And now, the work really begins.

Ravens cheer coordinator Tina Galdieri was joined by a select group of judges – a diverse 20-member panel that included Ravens corporate sales account executive Brad Downs and Mickey from 98 Rock – to whittle a list of nearly 200 potential rookies and 35 returning veterans down to the 70 names she brought back Tuesday for an intense round of interviews.

It’s all part of finding what Galdieri calls “the total package.”

Sure, a cheerleader needs to look good in a small outfit – or in the Ravens’ case, a swimsuit.

Of course, cheerleaders have to be able to dance.

Those factors make the first two days of evaluations relatively easy when it comes to the final piece of the puzzle – personality.

“It’s an overall package, kind of hard to explain,” she said. “You obviously need to have the look and be able to fit into what the Ravens cheerleaders wear on a regular basis. You definitely have to have some skills – both in cheer and dance.

“And then, it’s about personality and character. What have you done in the community? Are you comfortable being out in front of people. It’s an in-depth process.”

Galdieri personally interviews each candidate for 15-20 minutes and asks the tough questions. With somewhere between 150 and 175 appearances throughout Baltimore and the surrounding area expected this year, the cheerleaders need to be prepared for every situation.

“I can’t keep sending the same ones every time,” Galdieri said. “I want to have confidence with all of the cheerleaders, so it’s a difficult job looking through all the cheerleaders to find them.

Galdieri expects to have the squad finalized by the beginning of April, but the road has been long even to this point.

It started with two cheerleader clinics in February, where anyone with dreams of wearing an official sequined Ravens logo can come to practice for the actual tryouts.

Cheerleader veterans led the recruits through lessons ranging from a simple pirouette to a more complicated dance routine. The girls were also given tips on what to wear to tryouts, from the sports bra down to the white tennis shoes.

“We encourage all the tryouts to go to the clinics, because you really get a sense of where you’re at and what this competition is all about,” Galdieri explained.

That’s what Meghan D. did last year when she tried out as a rookie, and obviously, it helped. She went from sitting on the fence to a spot in the 2008 swimsuit calendar after attending the final clinic at the urging of a friend.

“Last year, I went to school at Mount St. Mary’s with Erin, who has been on the team two years now,” said Meghan, who is a third-grade teacher in Havre De Grace, Md. “When I graduated, she emailed me one day and said, ‘You know there’s only one clinic left, right?’ I ended up going, and even though I was still so nervous at the tryouts, it really helped.

“Now, I know a little bit more about what to expect, but you still get some of those nerves.”

Even the seasoned veterans get a little nervous, as well.

Leslie A., who contributed to the “Ravens Spirit” blog on, said that last season would be her last after a six-year run on the team.

But, she couldn’t help herself after watching the Ravens advance to the AFC Championship. Leslie knew that even as a veteran, she would still have to impress the judges regardless of her previous tenure.

“It never gets any easier for me,” Leslie said with a laugh. “You just have to be at your best every year.”

Galdieri, however, was happy to see Ms. October back for another shot.

“I said, ‘I think you still enjoy it and don’t have an attitude like you’ve been around here and don’t need to work,’” stated Galdieri. “Usually, I can tell when people start turning negative about things. That’s when they want to give it up. Not with Leslie. She’s still been very upbeat, still in great physical condition.”

Both Meghan and Leslie did make it to the group of 70, which will get cut further by Galdieri and Co. before to a final practice round March 24.

It may be a taxing route to becoming a member of the Ravens’ cheerleading team, but to everyone involved, it is also worth it when the final product runs out of the tunnel at M&T Bank Stadium.

“We’re never lowering our expectations,” Galdieri said. “We’re trying to get better as a squad every year.”

Mike Duffy

Mike Duffy

Tips for hopeful 2009 Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader contestants

Get Your Eagle on: Beauty Tips for hopeful 2009 Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader contestants

By Alyssa D’Egidio
NBC Philadelphia
Mar 2, 2009

Former Philadelphia Eagles’ cheerleader Alyssa D’Egidio gives tips on how to nail this year’s audition.

Astounding dance ability and physical fitness will separate the good from the bad at the 2009 Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading Open-Call Auditions but there are other elements that are often overlooked by many aspiring cheerleaders.

A contestant can have years of dance experience and six-pack abs but something that usually lowers contestants’ scores is their appearance.

When envisioning a professional cheerleader, there are a few key things that come to mind—polished hair and flawless make-up. Contestants may be able to dance like a “Pussycat Doll” or have a body like Giselle but if their hair is not up to superstar standards, scores are going to drop.

There are some simple things an aspiring cheerleader can do for her appearance that will wow that judges.

Put The Scissors Away: If your hair is long don’t cut it. Most cheerleaders have shoulder length or longer hair, which judges tend to admire. Melvin Silverman owns Salon De L’Etoile– the official salon of the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders. “In the last two years, none of the cheerleaders have had short hair,” he says. If your hair is short, don’t fret because there are options. Some women feel they look better with short hair and if you’re one of them then go with what feels and looks best on you. If you want to quickly change your look then try some of these options:

Jessica Simpson Hair Extensions: This easy fix to lengthening hair is inexpensive and results are instantly drastic. They can be ordered on the Internet in various colors, lengths and styles. All you have to do it clip them in securely and the extensions will blend in your natural hair.

Salon Hair Extensions: If you want something a little more permanent, many girls pay for hair extensions done at salons. Lauren Gerner, a stylist at Giovanni and Pileggi Salon in Philadelphia, highly suggests that cheerleader hopefuls get extensions if they have short hair. “The only requirement is that hair has to be at least four inches long,” she says. “The extensions should last about four to six months depending on how fast hair grows.” Great Lengths hair extensions will cost in the range of $1,000-$4,000. One of the advantages is that treatment for the extensions is almost the same as normal hair except products with silicone and sulfate cannot be used. Flat irons, curlers, etc. are all usable on these extensions. Salon De L’Etoile also offers services for hair extensions.

Color, Color, color: Whatever your natural hair color is…amplify it. If you have dirty blonde hair, go blonder. If it’s mousy brown, put in an allover dye to make it shiny and really powerful. Whatever the color, make it stand out. Eagles fans that sit higher at the stadium have a hard time seeing the cheerleaders and by having a really great color is helpful for them to distinguish between cheerleaders. This said, avoid odd hair colors or too many different shades. “When they color their hair, with the right conditioner, the hair will shine more,” says Melvin. “ Hair colors add a lot of excitement and makes the girls look a little more attractive.” He suggests brunettes sticking to brown shades while blondes should be very light or bleached.

Style: On the day of the audition, don’t style your hair like you would for everyday things. Hot rollers, curling irons and flat irons are your friends. Although you will be flipping your hair around during the audition, judges take a minute to look at your overall appearance. At this point your hair should look polished. Melvin Silverman suggests, “Moroccan oil or high sheen spray will help it from tangling.” He also adds that there are distinct ways the cheerleaders like to style their hair.

“Seventy percent of the girls wear their hair flat or straight ironed which helps it last throughout the game while 30% of girls will want their hair curled.”

Tease Please: Have a straight part in the front of the head and tease the back. Teasing will add a lot of volume.

“Take a section of hair around the crown of your head and hold it in the air with one hand,” Melvin said. “With the other hand, use a comb to tease the root up and down.” This will add a little lift and dynamic to your do.

Caution: Melvin Silverman cautions cheerleader hopefuls from showing up with their hair anything but down.

“The cheerleaders can’t wear their hair in pony tails or half up,” he said. “ It should be down and flowing so they can swing it around when dancing.”


Natural Foundation: Salon De L’Etoile also provides make-up artists to the cheerleaders. Professional cheerleaders shouldn’t look like they have caked on foundation, but on the other hand they shouldn’t appear as if they are going to the gym. Make-up is a must. It enhances the eyes, lips and cheeks in order for the judges to notice. Foundation should look natural and blend nicely into the skin.

Glamorous Eyes: Melvin Silverman says that dramatic eyes are a must Contestants should spend the most time on their eye make-up.

“Fake eyelashes to are worn by most of the cheerleaders,” said Melvin. “Use natural colors like browns, blacks, smoky grays and lots of black eye liner.”

Luscious Lips: Lips should be very subtle but still evident.

“Pinks are commonly used and subtle,” Melvin said. “Lip liner two shades darker than the lipstick should be used to blend the lips.”

Caution: Sparkles are a no-no. No blue eye shadows and bright red lipsticks either.

Make-up and hair are essential parts of a contestant’s appearances and will either help or hinder a contestant’s chance of getting through the auditions. Use these simple beauty tips to polish your appearance and impress the judges. Check back for more tips on what to wear for the audition.

Los Gatos women on Raiderettes squad visit the troops in Iraq and Kuwait

By Marianne L. Hamilton
Los Gatos Weekly-Times

When Meena Shams and Ariel Ogilvie make public appearances, they’re almost always in uniform. As members of the Raiderettes, cheerleading squad for the Oakland Raiders, the Los Gatos residents are typically decked out in their familiar silver and black costumes.

Recently, though, the pair found themselves attired in bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets. But to the soldiers they were visiting at military bases in Iraq and Kuwait, it was just business as usual.

On Jan. 28, Shams and Ogilvie — accompanied by fellow cheerleader Jovann Canada from Pleasanton — boarded a plane for Kuwait. The three were chosen to represent the squad by Raiderettes director Karen Kovac, who felt the trio brought a unique set of talents and life experiences to the task.

“Going on these trips is a huge honor, and the slots are highly coveted,” Kovac says. “Meena and Jovann are line captains, and have been with us for several seasons. They have plenty of experience with being in charge, being dropped into different situations at various events, and having to figure it out. They’re both very adaptable and knowledgeable.”

Ogilvie’s impending marriage to Marine 1st Lt. Mike Lamb also carried weight in the decision-making process, Kovac adds. “Having gone through tours to Bosnia and Kosovo myself, I knew that these types of trips really open your eyes in wonderful ways. I imagined this shared experience would help tie Ariel and Mike together. Also, being able to tell the soldiers in Iraq that her fiancÂŽ was in the Marines would be a nice connection.”

The Raiders organization has had a lengthy history of supporting the military. Kovac often sends members of the cheerleading team to disabled veterans’ events and to VA hospitals throughout the state, and the football team regularly hosts active and retired military on the sidelines at games. Just prior to the Iraq trip, Shams joined four other Raiderettes at Camp Pendleton, where they performed for 1,000 soldiers about to be deployed to the Middle East.

“We all get hooked on these events,” Kovac says. “Once you do something with the service personnel, you just want to do more.”

This year’s Iraq tour was orchestrated by the marketing firm Pro Sports MVP, which stages promotional programs and events featuring entertainment and sports celebrities. Along with the Raiderettes, members of several NFL teams made the journey to Iraq. For nine days, the players and cheerleaders toured bases and points of interest in the Middle Eastern war zone, doing a number of meet-and-greets and participating in several special events. Shams says their reception was enthusiastic, from the highest-ranking brass on down.

“We met with Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, who’s in charge of the 4th Infantry Division in Baghdad; he reports directly to Gen. Petraeus, and was appointed by the President. He took the time to thank us for coming,” Shams notes.

Odierno also presented each visitor with a special commemorative coin, a fact that Shams says will come in handy should she ever happen to share an adult beverage with a member of the military. “The custom is that if someone pulls out a coin and challenges you, and you don’t have a coin or theirs outranks yours, you have to buy everyone a round,” explains Shams. “But if yours outranks theirs, they have to buy a round. I think each of us now has a coin that outranks 99 percent of all coins.”

Shams adds that it was a heady experience to leaf through the guest book the cheerleaders were asked to sign in Basra. Following tea with Maj. Gen. Andy Salmon, commander of British forces in the city, she and Ogilvie inscribed their signatures in the book. “Then we turned the page back and saw that [British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown had just signed. That was definitely one of the highlights of the tour,” says Shams.

The Los Gatans’ arrival “in-country” coincided with Iraq’s recent elections. Though the event went off peacefully, the Raiderettes’ military escort opted to keep them out of the way of any potential unrest.

“After we landed in Kuwait, we stayed at Camp Arifjan for three days during the election,” Shams says. “From then on, our itinerary was sort of decided upon on a daily basis.”

That schedule included daily meals and many hours spent chatting with the troops about their experiences. Shams and Ogilvie also took part in a re-enlistment ceremony, holding the American flag while military personnel signed on for additional tours of duty. Traveling between bases, their modes of transportation included Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, as well as a C-130 transport plane. They also went for a spin in an MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protection) vehicle, which is designed to survive roadside bombs.

Super Bowl Sunday found the Raiderettes watching the game with the men and women in uniform in Kuwait. Given the time difference, the game’s live telecast presented some logistical challenges. “We slept until 10 p.m., then got dressed and went out to the base,” says Shams. “The game started at 2 a.m. Kuwait time; it was over about 6:30, then we had breakfast and caught a helicopter for Camp Bucca in Iraq … and we were up until 10 p.m. that night. We were pretty exhausted. But the excitement of being on the trip, and knowing we were there to increase the soldiers’ morale, really kept us going.”

Once at Camp Bucca, where the cheerleaders were outfitted with the protective vests and helmets, Ogilvie says she was surprised at the friendliness of the environment. Located on the Iraq-Kuwait border, the facility serves as a prison for some 18,000 military detainees.

“It’s a very simple setting, but it’s very intimate,” says Ogilvie. “The group that took us around was very close-knit; we could tell by how they interacted with each other. We got a great feeling from them and really bonded with them. I actually cried when we flew away.”

Out of respect for the conventions of Middle Eastern culture, Shams and her colleagues left their regular cheerleading costumes at home. “We dressed very conservatively the whole time we were there, mostly in jeans,” Ogilvie says. “We also wore long-sleeved under-armor shirts, and T-shirts provided by Pro MVP.”

Despite the presence of uniformed troops — both American and Iraqi — carrying weapons of various descriptions, neither Ogilvie nor Shams say they felt afraid. Both were happy to entrust their safety to their escorts, and report that they were protected quite rigorously. Still, there were a few instances that reminded the pair that they weren’t exactly in Kansas anymore.

“At one point I felt a little jittery: We were out on the Green Zone, in an area that’s run by the Iraqi military, and we were swarmed by their troops,” Ogilvie says. “Another time we were staying in a hotel in Baghdad, right across from Saddam Hussein’s Al Faw Palace. I sat in a chair that was given to him by [late Palestinian President] Yasser Arafat. I definitely got a creepy feeling, being around things that used to belong to Hussein. But our escorts knew the best ways to keep us safe, and we basically did what they told us to do and we were fine.”

What led the Los Gatans to trade comfort zone for war zone? Says Ogilvie, a Los Gatos native and graduate of Los Gatos High School: “We’re in this beautiful`bubble’ in this town. I wanted to have a more authentic idea of what the world is like. When we got there, the military really took the time to educate us about their mission, they gave us the history of the bases, and helped us to understand why they’re there. I feel like I have a much clearer idea of what’s going on now.”

Adds Shams, “The soldiers were so appreciative of us taking the time to visit them. A lot of the time they think that no one remembers they’re there.”

Given their cover-girl looks and figures (not to mention the outfits they wear on game day), it would be far too simple to dismiss “Football’s Fabulous Females” as stereotypically vapid vessels. Not so fast: Shams, a graduate of Murray State University in her home state of Kentucky, is a sales and marketing executive for a line of skin-care products and antioxidant supplements, is a former member of the Northern California Women’s Hockey League and is active in several organizations dedicated to fighting breast cancer. Her personal life is active as well, as wife to Saratoga native and Sereno Group sales executive Ryan Iwanaga and stepmom to Iwanaga’s 11-year-daughter.

Ogilvie, a graduate of UC-Santa Barbara, where she was on the dean’s list, is pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at Argosy University in San Francisco. After earning her Ph.D., Ogilvie hopes to work with underserved children in the Bay Area. For the near term she’ll be enjoying some welcome time with her future husband: After 12 years with the Marines and several tours of duty throughout the Middle East, including Afghanistan and Kosovo, Lamb will receive a medical discharge next month.

The cheerleaders’ achievements come as little surprise to Kovac, who herself holds a master’s degree in international business. As the Raiderettes’ chief choreographer for the past 13 years, and having served as the squad’s director since 2004, Kovac is never satisfied with merely adding another pretty face to the lineup.

“When a young woman auditions, which everyone has to do every year — even those who are currently on the squad — I look carefully at every application,” says Kovac. “I insist that a Raiderette must either be in school full time or hold down a full-time job. A few are moms, and if they’re doing that, more power to them. I want everyone to be fully engaged in some way, because they have to be strong role models for youths.

“Anyone can put on makeup and do their hair. What’s important is what’s on the inside.”

While they consider where their travels will lead them next, Shams and Ogilvie will both be taking part in the Raiderettes’ April 19 tryouts. Shams says the process is stressful for Iwanaga each season.

“He’ll call me on the day we’re supposed to hear whether we made it or not, and tell me that he’s pacing up and down and can’t focus,” Shams laughs. “He’s a huge football fan, and he also knows how hard I’ve worked to get here. I didn’t make it onto the team until my third try.”

Ogilvie, who says she rarely feels fear, admits that the process of auditioning is always daunting. But if she were asked to retire her pom-poms after this season, it appears that the Sunday afternoon lineup wouldn’t be the biggest thing she’d miss.

“It’s definitely cool being a cheerleader, because you have opportunities to travel and do things you’d never do otherwise,” she says. “But having the chance to support our troops was really an incredible experience.”

Raiderette auditions will be held April 19 at Club One in Oakland. Interested candidates can visit