From The Archives – Raiderette Kelly Morris

In this installment of From The Archives, I introduce my all time favorite Raiderette, Kelly Morris.  These photographs were taken in the mid 1990’s with my old film camera and a 300 2.8 super telephoto lens (you know those big white lenses, the sports photographers use to shoot football games).  Back in the “good ol’ days” before 9/11, you could take in pretty much any camera equipment that you wanted…at least that was the case at the Los Angeles Coliseum.  Though Raiders fans have a rather surly reputation, safety and security were never a problem in the Coliseum because of the number of uniformed LAPD officers that patrolled the sidelines.  In fact, the season ticket holders in the row in front of me, were LAPD.  So, I never felt unsafe at the Coliseum, though there was once incident where those off duty LAPD officers spotted a Raider fan with a handgun in his pants…he was promptly escorted out by the uniformed LAPD.

But enough of my Raider anecdotes and on to the photos of my all time favorite Raiderette Kelly Morris.

kelly-1

kelly-38

kelly-3

kelly-6

kelly-39

The great thing about a Raiders home game was that the Raiderettes mingled with the fans before the game, signing autographs and posing for photos.  They were accessible, friendly, and very good looking.   You could really get up close and get to know them; it was a very close knit experience.  The Raiderettes and their fans were family.   Those were the days, back in the 90’s…it was a different time and place.

Wizard of Oz Star Taps Her Heels

By Roger Schlueter
BND.com

amyhollandpenellramsWhen Amy Holland Pennell delivers the classic “There’s no place like home!” line tonight, she’ll mean it more than most in the audience might imagine.

For the past three years, this multitalented 1999 Granite City High School graduate has been in Los Angeles, working her way up the star ladder. Just recently, she put the wraps on her starring role as Alice Bordeaux in John Ward’s “The Ten Commandments,” which is due out later this year.

But by a stroke of luck, she returned to St. Louis recently for another audition, and Beverley Scroggins, her high school drama coach, pounced on the opportunity. Scroggins landed her former student for the lead role of Dorothy in the Summerstage production of “The Wizard of Oz” at 7:30 p.m. tonight through Saturday at Granite City High School.
Continue reading Wizard of Oz Star Taps Her Heels

Dolphins Cheerleaders Shoot Gameday Clips

2009-video-shoot-12009-video-shoot-1

By Ariana

* Photo Gallery and Video Highlights*

Last week, myself and some of the other cheerleaders were invited to take part in some promotional video clips.

On the first day, Jennifer, Pamela, Ashton and I took a variety of different clips where we danced, kicked, jumped and did lots of hair flips! The video camera was filming in slow motion so it was very interesting to see our every motion in detail. We also were able to do some solo video clips. For example, I was jumping on a mini trampoline while some of the other girls were dancing in the background. It came out fabulous!

On the second day of shooting, we had a group of 12 cheerleaders filming clips together. In groups, we danced and did some fun shots with Dolphins fans! Playing off our new stadium name, Land Shark Stadium, the Dolphins fans and the cheerleaders practiced our “FINS UP” that we’ll be performing at the games. When we had extra time, the film crew set up a special Plexiglas stage with lights underneath, strobe lights and fog machines. It was a very artistic and creative look that will really give our fans something new to see!

Overall we all had a great time filming both days and we can’t wait to see the final outcome!

– Ariana

Former Laker Girl Stars in Terminator Salvation

Laker Girl, check! Back up dancer for Prince, check! Ass-kicking female in a post-Judgment Day world? After this weekend, star-on-the-rise Moon Bloodgood can cross that one off her list too.
By Harrison Pierce

moonbloodgood

Actress Moon Bloodgood is having a moment. The striking Korean, Dutch and Irish beauty has her first big starring role in Terminator Salvation, which opened Thursday in over 3,500 theatres. The feverishly anticipated continuation of the blockbuster Terminator series takes place in the post-Judgment Day, machine-ruled future only glimpsed at in the previous Terminator films. Moon’s character emerges from this dystopia as an ass-kicking babe in the grand tradition of Linda Hamilton in T2 and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. After this weekend, moviegoers previously unfamiliar with the actress might make the mistake of labeling her an overnight success, but as she’ll attest, hard work over time is the more common route to any kind of success in Hollywood.

In fact, since her late teens, Moon’s been paying her dues as everything from a Laker Girl, to a backup dancer for music stars like Prince and Brandy, and as an aspiring actress humbly willing to accept parts with non-names like “Stripper” and “Gorgeous Woman.” Recently, she’s managed to win bigger and better roles, including one opposite Paul Walker in the hit adventure film Eight Below, and another in last year’s Hollywood satire What Just Happened?, starring Robert De Niro. For Moon, it feels like it’s all been leading up to this moment, and naturally, she’s an expectant mix of excitement and fear.

Advocate.com recently chatted with Moon on the eve of her big break to discuss everything from her role in the new Terminator film, to her days in purple and gold as a Laker Girl, to her feelings about the imminent Judgment Day decision by the California courts regarding marriage equality.

Advocate.com: Tell us about a little about your uniquely cool name, because, after this weekend, I think it’s one a lot more people are going to know…
Moon Bloodgood: [Laughs]. Thank you! Well, my real name is actually Korinna Moon Bloodgood. Moon is my middle name and my Mom gave it to me, because I’m half Korean. My last name, Bloodgood, is Dutch.

Before being cast in the new Terminator, were you a fan of the series?
Oh, huge, huge fan, especially of the first and second ones.

So, how’d you feel when you found out you got the part?

I think it’s one of those moments you wait your whole life for as an artist. I mean, you love the process, but you just get so excited because you get to be a part of something you grew up loving!


In the film you play a tough, post-Judgment Day survivalist named “Blair Williams.” Did you feel pressure to get Linda Hamilton-ripped?

I had a personal trainer and he did a lot of weight training with me. But I didn’t want to get too big. I just wanted to get a little stronger. Anyway, I’ve gotten some comparisons [to Hamilton] and it’s always flattering because — like her and “Ripley” in Aliens you love those female characters that are strong and likeable.

You have a relationship in the film with sexy Australian newcomer Sam Worthington’s half human, half robot character “Marcus Wright.” Ever dated someone you suspected was part robot?
I’ve definitely met guys that made me think Why can’t you feel anything? I don’t understand you! [laughs]. Interestingly enough, in the movie, I sense that the Marcus character has a lot of emotion and I’m surprised to find out he’s half robot.

On set, did you call your director “McG” [real name Joseph McGinty Nichol] or something a little more formal?
Well, he’s called that because his father’s name is Joseph, so it just became his nickname a long time ago. I actually have known him for a while, so he’s just McG to me. I mean, my name’s Moon so, between [co-stars] Common and Anton [Yelchin] and Bryce [Dallas Howard] — we all had crazy names on that set.


McG previously directed the Charlie’s Angels films — do you think your character could take those girls?

I definitely don’t think my character is as fun as them, but, yeah — I’d like to think I could take them. My character, I mean. I don’t think Moon could…I wouldn’t go that far.

In the machine-ruled world of Terminator Salvation, things are a bit drab — where are the gay robots to glamorize things up?
I know, where are the gay robots? Actually, you don’t know what those robots are into.

It seems like no one has time for sex in Terminator world…

Who has time to think about it when you’re just trying to fucking survive? [Laughs] Even my character doesn’t have time for sex and, believe me; I’m thinking Blair hasn’t gotten any in a while.

You know, gay audiences love hot, ass-kicking women on the big screen — are you ready for your big gay fan base?
I would love to have a gay fan base because, you know, I grew up as a dancer, so a lot of my friends were gay. When you grow up and you’re into musicals and stuff — I love that artistic world — you find a lot of gay men and women love that world too, so I hope I get a lot of new fans. I’m down…I feel it, I want it.

What was it like being a Laker Girl?
Being a Laker Girl was a dream of mine since I was a kid. But there was a time when they would warn us not to hang out with the players and it just sometimes felt, like, even though it was a job, they were telling us what to do with our private time. That felt a little restricting. I was 18 and thinking, What I do with my personal time is my business! I was a little rebellious [laughs].

Did the Laker girls get along or was it catfight city?

Ninety nine percent of the time everyone got along, but any time you get a group of girls together there’s gonna be some drama. There were never any physical fights but there’s always gossip and a couple girls who don’t get along.

Did that gig prepare you for the acting world?
Yeah, it did. In some ways it’s a similar medium and in other ways it’s very different. But it helped me develop my physicality, which later helped me with stunts. [Doing Terminator] I wasn’t afraid to run, jump or hang from harnesses. I wasn’t fearful of executing those stunts because I have that center of gravity from dance.

What was it like backup dancing for the Purple One?
I had a show at his club and I worked on some of his CD Roms — I did a lot of different things for Prince. I worked with a lot of different artists as a dancer, like The Offspring, Deborah Cox and Brandy. So yeah, I was a backup dancer for a while and wanted to do music, but five years ago, I segued into acting, which I’ve fallen in love with.

Early in your acting career you played characters billed as “Stripper” on TV’s CSI and “Gorgeous Woman” in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton — did you ever ask if your characters could have a name?
At that point, I was just happy to be working. I was like, “Fuck it, if I’m a stripper, that’s what I am.” Like, what am I gonna say? I was so used to being treated like shit as a dancer, where they saw us as a group and not as individuals. Now, I wouldn’t want to be just called “Stripper;” I have a little more of an ego, I have to admit.

When you work with a hottie like Paul Walker in Eight Below, how do you control yourself from jumping his bones?
You know, I was with somebody at the time — being in a relationship usually helps with monogamy, you know [laughs]. I recommend it. But Paul, in person, is quite stunning and, believe me, it definitely helps with onscreen chemistry. I’m lucky I got to do a kiss with him.

Speaking of jumping bones, you played a film executive trying to seduce Robert De Niro in What Just Happened? Who was more nervous filming that scene?
I think people would be surprised at how shy Bob was — well, people call him Bob, I’ll call him Robert De Niro. I think he was more embarrassed than I was and when I had to flash him some good ole’ titty, he was looking away. I think it was a courtesy to me, because he didn’t want me to feel uncomfortable. He’s quite the gentleman. You think he’s this badass actor who’s fearless, but he’s quite shy in person.

Have you had a chance to meet the original Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger?
I haven’t met him, no, but I did meet his kids at the premiere. They’re beautiful.

Do they look more like him or the Shrivers?

I gotta say, they’re like a really good hybrid.

I remember seeing his son somewhere and wondering how much pressure that poor kid must feel to be a body builder…
Or a politician. He’s like, “I’m fucked either way” [laughs]. I think they should just go into psychology or something.

For the gay community, the imminent decision by the state courts about Prop 8 is a bit like Judgment Day — what are your feelings on the issue of marriage equality?

I’ve always believed that people who are against gays getting married are people who don’t have gay friends. If you had a gay friend, you’d support it because you’d want him or her to get married because, you know, nobody chooses to have a life that people have prejudices against. It’s always baffled me, because my cousin was gay growing up and I was always around it.

Do you think there’s really such a thing as overnight success in this town?
I rarely see it. Everything I’ve seen — nine out of ten times —is people working really hard and taking little baby steps toward it. Once in a while somebody pops off and they’re an overnight success, but they’re very few and far between. I think all of us worked really hard to get where we are.

Was there ever a time you wanted to throw in the towel?
Are you kidding me? Almost every other day [laughs]. There are moments that I’m so happy and can’t think of doing anything else and other moments where you get why people marry and move to Montana and raise cattle. I remember being at the premiere [for Terminator] and thinking, ‘I am so overwhelmed by all this.’ You wonder, ‘Do people really like me for me?’ or ‘What game do I have to play?’ and ‘How much is this about my talent?’ It’s a really tough business and there’s a reason people crumble and have a hard time. Yeah, there are times I’m like, “Fuck it, throw in the towel? I’m gonna throw in my whole career, my car, my everything” and I’m just gonna get up and go away.

Will there be another Terminator sequel after this one and will you be involved?

At this point, and I’m being totally honest, no one knows. We’re kind of waiting to see how the movie does and how people respond to it, but hopefully they will and I’d love to be in it.

The Terminator billboards are everywhere in Los Angeles — do you love it?
I do love it, but this is my first thing of this caliber so I’m nervous and I hope people like the movie. I have a lot of emotions running through me right now.

PCB Field Trip: ChivaGirl Final Auditions



Final auditions for the 2009 ChivaGirls took place on Wed, Feb 18th. (Yes, I know that was three weeks ago. If it weren’t for this pesky day job getting in the way, I’d have finished this a lot sooner. )

If you missed prelims, you can read all about them here. All of the photos from prelims and finals are right here.

I drove down to the Home Depot Center that afternoon, confident that I knew exactly where I was going. When I got there, I found out that there was an LA Galaxy game that night and there was a lot going on in the parking lot. I told the parking attendant why I was there, and she directed me to Lot 13. What? That’s miles away from the Velodrome!

Get out of my way, lady. I know what I’m doing. I hit the gas, drove right by Lot 13 and proceeded to the Velodrome, where there was plenty of parking. Ha! Did you see all those idiots in Lot 13? Suckers!

(Sidebar: I wonder why the Galaxy doesn’t have a dance team? Switch the red and white for and blue and gold and viola! The ChivaGirls are now the Galaxy Girls It’s not the first time a dance team ever did double duty for multiple teams. (Where is the Galaxy suggestion box? I need to write this down.)

I parked, got out of my car, and immediately noticed that there was something weird going on. There were an awful lot of people around, and none of them looked like future ChivaGirls. Many of them were carrying bicycles. They didn’t look like the sort who would conveniently schedule practice during auditions, so they could ogle all of the dancers.

Inside the building, there was definitely something wrong. Aside from all the cyclists zipping around the perimeter, there were two full on knee pads-and-everything volleyball games in progress. I got the feeling they had all been there for a while. It didn’t look like any of them planned to exit the building in the near future.

Hmmm. This was certainly a puzzle. Was I out of the loop? Had the auditions been rescheduled?

My first thought was “Oh, no! Does Aimee know about this?” So I whipped out my phone and called her to report that dozens of crazed volleyballers were squatting in the Velodrome.

If I had thought about it for even half a second, I suppose I would’ve realized that as the Director of the team, Aimee was the one who booked the location for the auditions. She would of course know if there was some complicated activity going on beforehand.

If the venue had changed, she’s probably the one who changed it. She wasn’t going to answer the phone all freaked out, like “Volleyball! Oh no! Auditions are in less than an hour. Sasha, you have to get rid of all those people!” And then I’d have to get a bicycle pump or something and chase them all away.

(I have been known, at times, to overestimate the importance of my role in certain events.)

Long story short: finals were scheduled for the tennis pavilion, not the Velodrome. Duh.

I got in my car and drove back around to the front, where the parking attendant directed me to – guess where? – Lot 13. I guess that made me a sucker too. I cheated and parked in 10 though. 10 was a little bit closer to the building. I was still a bit twinge-y in my ankle and didn’t want to walk any farther than absolutely necessary. (If you missed out on the whole sprained ankle thing, all you need to know is that there was an small “incident” at prelims that left me with only one working foot. That’s all I care to say about that particular topic.)

When I got to the tennis pavilion I realized – thank you, Lord – there was a ramp to the door instead of the five hundred flights of stairs at the Velodrome. Maybe some things were going to go my way tonight.

Inside, Aimee and the camera crew were getting set up. (There’s a crew filming the ChivaGirls for an upcoming reality show.) The judges’ table was set up on one side of the room. Instead of one long table, there three or five small desks, kind of like the ones you see in elementary school. But bigger, of course.



Nicole and Lauren


Liz, Emi, and Sandra


Many of the girls had arrived early and were busy warming up. Mr. John Peters was also in the house. Judging this time. Not teaching. If you ask me, that kind of sucks. With regular “I have never seen you before and therefore am not biased at all,” judges, you could miss a small step and maybe nobody would notice. Or maybe they’d think one of the other girls messed up instead of you. But when one of the judges is the choreographer, you are sadly outta luck. That guy’s not going to miss a thing. Dang.



Gloria, Aimee, Mr. John Peters, and Lisa

I had arrived early enough to scope out the situation beforehand. It was going to be something of a challenge, photography-wise. The lighting was a bit dim, and the wall opposite the judges was nothing more than a series of glass doors and windows. I worried that I would wind up at the end of the night with 50 photos of my own reflection, and another 50 of the light from my camera flash.

However, I wasn’t the one with the major challenges. The dancers had a bigger problem to deal with. The tennis pavilion is somewhat tent-like and vulnerable to the elements. I imagine in the summers, you can open all the doors and enjoy the weather outside, without actually being outside. But on this particular evening, nobody appreciated the cold weather creeping indoors. All of the ladies were zipped up from ankles to eyeballs. I put on a sweater over my short sleeves and was fine. Then again, I wasn’t wearing a little two-piece audition outfit. I really felt for the dancers. For them, it was going to be a bit like tap dancing nekkid in Antarctica.

On a side note, Juicy Couture must’ve made a bloody fortune on those velour track suits.

At one point, Aimee deputized me to help out with the photos. The girls were instructed to line up on one side of the room, where Gloria was taking Polaroid head shots. After the Polaroid, they had to come to the other end of the room, where I was shooting individual photos. Those photos would be posted on the Chivas USA site when the team was announced the next day.

This is how cold it was in the room: the girls would do the Polaroid, put their warm-ups back on (for the five second walk to the other end of the room), whip the warm-ups off for a quick photo or two, and then jump back into the sweats and zip them up as far as they could go.

A couple of girls tried to get sneaky after the Polaroid. Instead of coming directly to me, they’d try to huddle down for a few minutes to get warm. I don’t know who they thought they were fooling, but it ain’t yours truly. I can see you over there! Don’t be a weenie. Get over here and take this photo like a man!

After the first 9 or 10 girls, I resorted to “escorting” them across the room for the second photo. Not that they wouldn’t have made it there on their own, but I’m a “rip the band aid off” kind of gal. Yeah, you’re freezing your buns off, but it’s only for a minute. Just get it over with.

It didn’t take long to finish with the photos. I like to think that my “warm air is for losers” approach helped move things along. There were a couple of snafus – Gloria ran out of Polaroid film and I missed getting one of the girls, but for the most part, it went well.

    Let’s talk about Gloria for a minute. Who is Gloria? She’d been at prelims too, to help tabulate the scores. Gloria, Gloria, Gloria. I knew I’d seen her somewhere. But where? So far, I know she was on the Beijing Aoshen Olympian (NBA D-league) dance team. But I know I’ve seen her somewhere else too…Hm….

    (Note to self: figure that out.)

I was standing off to the side, minding my own business when – holy crap. Lisa Estrada popped up out of nowhere. One minute she wasn’t there. The next minute, she was. I bet this is what the natives felt like when Captain Kirk beamed down from the Enterprise.

Lisa Estrada – for those who don’t know – is the Director of the Los Angeles Laker Girls. I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned my ongoing mission to cover the Laker Girls for the blog. I might’ve even called it “stalking” a time or two. The Laker Girls have been a tough nut to crack.

Here was an opportunity to talk to The Chief Chick-In-Charge Herself.

Oy. What was I gonna do?

I had to say something, right? This might be the only time I ever saw Lisa Estrada in person. I had to at least introduce myself. It’s part of the job. I was uncomfortably aware, however, that I could really screw things up for this whole entire blog. No Laker Girl coverage EVER. I was skeered to talk to her. Most of this is in my head. But I was still skeered.

This reminds me of the time I went scampering across a football field in Oxnard, chasing after Kelli Finglass, Director of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. As I was running after her, half of me was saying “Just do it, honey. This is probably the only chance you’ll ever have to introduce yourself and show that you are not psychotic.” The other half of me was rolling her eyes, saying “For God’s sake, Sasha. You’re a grown woman. Where’s your dignity?”

Apparently I had none. But I did meet Kelli Finglass and she is a lovely woman.

Now history was repeating. I didn’t know if Lisa was staying or what, so if I was going to do this, I had to do it right away. I got ready to scurry over there. Feets don’t fail me now!

But then I stopped. What exactly was I going to say to this woman?

I couldn’t run over there and be all “Hi-Lisa-My-Name-Is-Sasha-I’m-from-the-Pro-Cheerleader-Blog-I-don’t-know-if-you’ve-heard-of-it-Nice-to-meet-you-I-promise-I’m-not-a-creep-See-don’t-I-look-like-a-nice-respectable-person?-Can-I-come-to-a-game- and-do-some-behind-the-scenes-coverage?-How-about-a-rehearsal? -How-about-auditions?-You-tell-me-where-to-sit-and-I-promise-not-to-move-at-all-or-make-any-sound-whatsoever-You-won’t-hear-one-peep-from-me-no-ma’am-Not-one.”

She could very well look down her nose at me at tell me to get lost. I knew she wouldn’t, but still. That lady with the chimp who went crazy and attacked her friend never saw that coming either.

Not that I’m comparing Lisa to a chimp. People are unpredictable, is what I’m getting at. And so are animals.

I decided to head her way and hope for the best.

Then I started thinking about the Laker Girls, and the Laker games in general. As usual, my overactive imagination (and outright narcissism) got the best of me.

What if I accidentally trip Kobe and he breaks both arms and both legs and all of a sudden I’m all over the news as the person who single handedly destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers. I would be universally hated. Publicly reviled. People I work with would throw things at me.

Plus, there are lots of celebrities at Laker games. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t care about gawking at celebrities. To be honest, they aren’t all that interesting. But what if I dropped my camera on Jack Nicholson’s head?

What if I stepped on Victoria Beckham’s foot and destroyed her $5,000 Manolos?

What if I was pointing at something and accidentally clotheslined Lindsey Lohan?

I could get yelled at. Sued. Taken out back and shot.
Lindsey Lohan’s mom is scary!

Only consider the almost unlimited potential for catastrophe!

Then again, I’m in no danger of weaseling my way into a Lakers game, so perhaps I should just calm down about the whole thing.

I decided not to talk to Lisa. Status quo was ok by me.

Incidentally, on a somewhat related note, Amazon.com completely sold out of the Laker Girls movie. They’ve been out of stock for almost two weeks. How many copies of this thing are you people buying???

Right about then is when I overheard three girls talking about how they had to go to Target at the last minute to get some trunks for finals. I guess Target doesn’t carry much in the way of black trunks, so some girls had to go to more than one store.

In my head I was thinking: Let me get this straight. On Sunday, you had a complete outfit for auditions. Today is Wednesday and now half of your stuff is missing? All three of you? Listen, unless all of you live together on a houseboat and it caught on fire and sank to the bottom of the ocean, taking all of your clothes with it, I can’t think of a real good excuse for losing your bottoms right before finals. It’s not like you took them off on the way home and left them somewhere.

Then Laura helpfully pointed out that everyone had been instructed to wear black trunks or shorts to finals, instead of their regular bottoms. Some people didn’t own any and had to go out buy a pair.

Oh.

Well in that case, never mind.

Before I completely change the subject, I have to raise my hand and ask “what is up with that?” I’ve seen auditions where the dancers were made to wear identical outfits, or dress in black. (This is so the girls who shelled out for a particularly fetching outfit don’t have an unfair advantage over everyone else.). But why make them wear black on the bottom and not on the top? There must be a reason for this. I just had no idea what it might be. Why just the bottoms?

No, really. WHY?

I didn’t have much time to ponder that, as it was time for the audition to start. I’ll put that on my to-do list to figure out later. Right after the Gloria situation.

The first item on the agenda was to have the girls do the dance they’d learned on Sunday. You remember the song.

“…La la la get Krazy. La la la get Krazy. La la la get Krazy. La la la get Krazy….”

They performed in groups of three. The original plan was for each group to do the routine twice, but the judges decided that once was enough. This is how the process worked for the dancers:

    1. Sweats off
    2. Dance real fast
    3. Sweats back on

Wax on, wax off, Daniel-son.
(That doesn’t have anything to do with anything. I just felt like saying it.)

I wish I’d brought an electric blanket or a hot water bottle. Something to help a sista out.




Finals are when auditions get really tough. Once you whittle it down to such a small group of women, they’ve all got similar levels of talent, presentation, etc. It becomes much more difficult to thin the herd, so to speak. Everyone knows the dance so the judges have to look at other things. Technique. Experience. Polish. Charisma. Charm. Fitness. Maturity. Overall appearance. And of course , you’re looking for some diversity. From what I’ve observed, most teams like to mix it up. Some blondes. Some brunettes. Some tall girls. Some short girls. Girls of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Girls at different stages in their lives. It keeps things interesting.

Having said all of that, the judges didn’t seem to be struggling with their scores. They were all in a great mood. Somebody had brought brownies, and baked goods make people happy. The judges were pretty relaxed. This wasn’t one of those auditions where the judges look at you stone-faced like “impress me or die.”


The judges


Meanwhile, I was having some issues. (I know, what else is new, right?)

The guy with the video camera had the primo spot for filming the action. I sat on the floor in front of him for a bit, but it was skewing the perspective in my photos. (Nobody wants to see a bunch of nostril shots.) After a while, I decided to ease in behind the video guy and shoot my photos around him. He was kind of crouched over, so it seemed like a feasible plan.

One thing I didn’t realize was that spot where I was trying to go was right next to Lisa Estrada. Oh snap! What now?

I figure this was the Lord’s way of saying “get on with it already.” Someone once said “When God wants you to do something; He gives you a certain amount of time to get it done. Eventually, if you can’t get take care of business, He’ll take over.”

I was afraid if I didn’t say anything to Lisa, the Good Lord would see fit to drop kick me right at her feet.

The Time Had Come. So I gathered up my courage and said hello.

I have no recollection of what was said after that. All I know is it was quick, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything funny, fascinating, or clever. I’m sorry, ok? It was scary for me. The more I try to be normal and professional, the more I sound like a complete idiot. I am convinced of it.

My impression was that Lisa is a nice lady. I didn’t quite get a read on her, but she seems like good people. I’m still a bit intimidated though. She is a very “together” kind of person, and I SO am not. Unfortunately, I’m about 85% nonsense.

(Sigh) Anywho…



Mandi


Serena


Erica


Brittany, Tiffany, and Nicole


Brittany


Dalila and Amy



After everyone had performed in groups of three, the judges called them back to dance in different groups. They were bigger groups this time, five or six at a time. I’m not sure how they decided how to group the girls. It didn’t look like they were doing all the blondes together, all the brunettes together, etc. One thing I did notice though is the last few groups were mostly veterans with on a couple of new girls mixed in. I think it was to see if the newbie could bring it like the vets. And I guess also to see how hard the vets would fight to keep their spot on the team.

(Please keep in mind that I’ve never judged an audition and am most likely talking out of my rear end.)



Sandra, Alheli, and Serena


Mandi


Amy, Erica, and Liz


Ariel, Tiffany, Marie, and Lauren



The very last part of the audition was freestyle dance. All of the girls lined up and each one had few eight-counts to dance on her own. Freestyle is an opportunity to show off a bit. If you have the highest kicks or the best turns, or can flip from one end of the room to the other, this was the time to do all of that. It also shows what you can do when you don’t have to focus on remembering choreography. You can play around with the music and let your personality come out a little bit.



This part was pretty fun to watch. The music cut off during one girls turn. She didn’t miss a beat, just kept dancing until the song came back on again. Nicely done.

Psst! Lemme let you in on a secret. By this time in the process, the judges have pretty well decided who they want on the squad. This portion of the audition was basically a final chance for the “iffy” girls to influence the final thumbs up/thumbs down vote.



Lauren


Jebbell


Alheli


After freestyle, Aimee gathered the girls around to discuss the next steps in the process. She explained that the names of the 2009 ChivaGirls would be posted online by 5pm the next day. The newly-selected team had no time to waste. They’d jump right into mini camp the following weekend. The first home game is scheduled for March 21st. Yikes – that’s right around the corner!



And then it was over. The girls packed up their stuff and headed out the door. Some stopped on the way to thank the judges for the opportunity. Okay, on paper that might sound like a blatant suck up. But it was a pretty smart thing to do. It shows confidence and good manners and leaves the judges with a positive impression of you. (As long as you don’t act like a total suck-up while doing it.)

After the dancers left, the judges gathered their notes together and went to the office to talk it out. It was sort of anticlimactic.

I went back to the parking lot – and promptly forgot where I’d left my car. You know how that goes. You look around for about five minutes, and then you start to get a bit agitated.

This is where I left it, right?

Or maybe it’s the next lot over.

Or did I park all the way the other side of the building?

What am I going to do if I can’t find my car?

How will I get home?

How will I get to work tomorrow?

What if someone stole it?

What if I forgot to set the brake and it rolled down the hill, through a brick wall, and out onto the freeway???

And so you walk up and down the rows of cars, all casual-like, because you don’t want to look like some maniac who can’t remember where she left the car. This isn’t a needle in a haystack, for pete’s sake. Its 2, tons of metal, plastic and a variety other man made materials. How do you LOSE as 2,000 pound vehicle?

I was about 3 seconds away from a full on meltdown, when I finally found my car. Probably 10 minutes had gone by. It felt like hours.

***

At 5pm the next day, I went to cdchivausa.com. The names hadn’t been posted yet. I hit refresh., but nothing changed.

5:15 – Refresh. Refresh. Nothing.

5:30 – Refresh. Refresh. Nothing.

5:45 – Still nothing. Now I was getting mad.

5:55 – Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh

The list of names finally appeared at 6pm. By then I was totally stressed out, never mind the girls waiting to see if they made the final cut!

For those of you who didn’t lose patience with me and go to the Chivas site to see for yourselves, I give you the 2009 ChivaGirls!

Ah, but wait! There’s a twist at the end of this particular story. Stay tuned. All will be revealed in the near future….



Row 1: Alheli, Amy, Ariel, Ashley, and Dalila
Row 2: Emi, Jebbell, Kelley, and Laura
Row3: Mandi, Marie, Megan, and Monique
Row 4: Nicole, Sandra, Serena, and Tiffany

Raiderette Travel Diary: Japan

Raiderette Cole’s Visit to Japan
February 24, 2009
Raiders.com

* Video interview with Raiderette Cole *

Recently, veteran Raiderette Cole had the opportunity, along with seven other NFL cheerleaders, to visit Japan and work with NFL Japan on several initiatives and awareness campaigns with regard to NFL football. Cole took time out to chronicle her experiences. Also, Raiders.com’s Jeanette Thompson had a chance to sit down with Cole for a one-on-one video interview upon Cole’s return from Japan.

By Raiderette Cole

This is my very first time traveling to Japan, and I am so honored to be representing the NFL, and the Oakland Raiders on this tour. Thank you for inviting me to share my experience with the Raider Nation.

I met with all the team representatives that will be participating in the tour, and Maria Giannini, the director of E2k entertainment production company, at San Francisco International Airport. The ladies I went on tour with included Lauren – San Francisco 49ers; Lindsay – New England Patriots; Melanie – Seattle Seahawks; Fabiola – Miami Dolphins; Kazuyo – NY Jets; Marisa – San Diego Chargers; and Lauren – Philadelphia Eagles. Lauren, from the Eagles however, arrived later than the rest of us due to the playoffs.

I was very fortunate to sit next to such a great couple on my flight over to Japan. Americans Mary and Mark have lived in Japan for over 25 years. They were so generous to share details about the Japanese culture. They explained the currency, or the “yen” rather. I’ve never seen such a more beautiful currency than the Yen.

The 13-hour flight flew by because I was in such great company. We deplaned, hopped on a charter bus and headed to our hotel, The New Otani, which is gorgeous! We checked into our rooms and walked to a nearby local restaurant to eat our first Japanese-style meal. We had to take off our shoes to enter, and they gave us lockers to store our things. Kazuio, with the Jets, is originally from Tokyo, Japan. So she is very familiar with the area and more importantly she was able to communicate for all of us because she speaks fluent Japanese. We are all so grateful she is here because she is teaching us so much. We couldn’t have asked for better hands-on education. We have such a busy agenda coming up, so we went back to our rooms to get some sleep.

Day 1:
We all met at the top of The New Otani Tower for breakfast, and a kick off meeting with the team from NFL Japan. We learned, in more detail, about what is to be expected of us on this trip and the messages they really want us to communicate to gain a larger fan base here in Japan. Basically our mission was to communicate in our interviews key points about NFL football as if we were explaining the sport to someone for the very first time. We are introducing the sport and motivating them to tune in [to NFL football].

After our meeting we went straight to the studio and got to work. I led the team through a group stretch and then we practiced three sideline routines together. We had already learned the material via DVD prior to our departure. So when we got together it was basically cleaning the routines, formations, and just learning to dance together, as we all come from different teams, with different styles. Everyone was so professional, and prepared that practice went by quickly. We broke for lunch and then traveled by subway into the city where we were able to explore and sightsee a bit. When we returned to the hotel Lauren from the Eagles had arrived. She was my roommate for the remainder of the trip. We all went to Trader Vics for dinner, and quickly got ready for our first performance together. “Sporto” is the highest rated sports program on Fuji TV. It was a LIVE appearance, and it airs at midnight, which seems late for the most popular sports show, and is really late for us because we are still adjusting to the time difference, and have jet lag. However we managed to put on a great show, which consisted of one dance performance to Christina Aguilera’s “Keeps getting Better,” and an interview session with us as a group. We got back to the hotel around 1:00 a.m. to get some sleep.

Day 2:
Up at 6:30 a.m., and at 8 a.m. we had a quick group breakfast at the hotel then we got on our official NFL Japan Tour bus. We headed to the “Star Maker Studios” in Shiba, for a photo shoot. This was an extra special shoot because we were all posing in our team identified uniforms together for our “Team Photo Card.” This photo card will be used to sign autographs, and is given to the fans at our appearances.

Immediately after the shoot we went back to the hotel to practice. From practice we went to the Yokota Air Base. At this appearance we had to perform our solo introduction, all three sideline dance routines, and a trivia session with the audience. Each cheerleader made up two questions to ask the audience, one question was to be a difficult question, and the second to be easy. My difficult trivia question was a historical one, what is the name of the first Raider player ever to be inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame? Answer, my favorite, Jim Otto. My easy trivia question was who is the owner of The Oakland Raiders? Answer, Al Davis, of course (too easy). We then followed up this event with an autograph session and photo session. Then we went back to the hotel to change and we went to Zen in Roppongi for an amazing sushi dinner.

Day 3:
022409 Cole performs with NFL cheerleadersUp at 6 a.m., 8 a.m. group breakfast at the New Otani, immediately followed by a dance rehearsal for about an hour. Then we loaded up our tour bus and headed to Venus Fort, Odaiba for the event I have been looking forward to most, The NFL Cheer Challenge 2009. This event was such a special event because the Japanese dance teams were to compete, and we were to judge the competition. Over 200 fans showed up for this event. The competition consisted of teams with ages that range from 4 to 19. The performances were amazing, high energy, and great choreography, and technique. I especially enjoyed the younger girls, they were so cute, and we all were so impressed with how they managed to retain all the material for their dance routines. There were two awards given out, and the competition was fierce. We then performed with Q and A session and interview to follow.

Then we walked back to Fuji TV for “Mezamashi,” another TV appearance, this a morning show. We were all interviewed regarding our experience in Japan, our experience as NFL cheerleaders, and of course the Super Bowl. From there we went NTV which stands for Nittelle Television. NTV is the #1 watch network in Japan. The program we were on is “Urugusa” which is the #1 sports program in Japan, and we performed again LIVE at midnight. On this show we performed “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga, followed by an interview. This was a long, fun and productive day.

Day 4:
022409 Cole performs on Japanese TVOur first event was a viewing party at a western-style restaurant, where we mingled with the 100 plus fans that showed, signed autographs on our photo cards, and met with the executives for Coors Light Japan. This event ended with follow up interview for a behind-the-scenes segment they will be using for NFL Japan.com.

After this event we freshened up and went to Dentsu, Japan’s #1 Advertising Agency. This was not on our original Itinerary, this was an added special meeting because of all our exposure, the Dentsu executives invited us for a round-table meeting, Very intense. We introduced ourselves, answered questions regarding our respective teams, the Super Bowl, and our experience in Japan. This was a very exciting meeting, intense, but exciting because Dentsu is a very powerful company and can give NFL Japan top exposure.

After our meeting we walked to NTV studios for another LIVE performance on “Real Time.” Then we went to the TV shooting of “NFL Club.” We filmed this segment on location at “Ukaitei” restaurant. The setting was a traditional Japanese-style dinning and featured real authentic Japanese cuisine. We were to eat and enjoy the meal that is prepared for us, as we are being interviewed as guests on the show. Rather unusual setting, however delicious and fun. Nachi Abe joined us as a surprise guest. He is an ex-NFL football player with experience with NFL Europa and is now in broadcasting in Japan.

Then we went back to NTV studios for our usual midnight LIVE appearance but this time on “News Zero.” Were we a featured on the sports corner of the program. We performed our solo routines, followed by interviews. Then we went right back to the hotel to rest a bit before our next appearance.

Day 5:
022409 Cole and cheerleaders gets ready for video shootUp at 4:00 a.m., call time 5 a.m. We headed back to NTV studios for an early morning show called “Zoom-In Super.” This show is equal to “Good Morning America” in the United States.

IT WAS FREEZING! They had us perform outside. They gave us huge down jackets and coffee to stay warm. We took our coats off literally seconds before our performance. Immediately after our performances the hosts of the show interviewed us as we shivered in our uniforms. At least I have sleeves, if you watch the clip Fabiola from Miami is shivering uncontrollably. We then wrapped up the show, joining the hosts say their famous catch phrase, “Zoom-In”

We went back to the hotel to rest for a bit, because we only had three hours sleep the night before. After resting we jumped on our tour bus, with our NFL entourage and went to Asakusa, Harajuku for some sightseeing and shopping on the Takeshita Dori street. This is where we were able to get our friends, family, and teammates souvenir gifts. We visited the Temple, and were blessed by the smoke with health, wealth and happiness.

Later that day we arrived in Shibuya for a quick dance rehearsal, and changed for our next performance, which was actually my favorite performance of our tour. This event was called “The NFL Night Special.” This was a talk show/ performance/ Super Bowl trivia/ Live event. The venue had a nightclub feel with great lighting, and was sold out with a capacity of 200. We performed all three dance routines. We had a Q and A segment. Then the award-winning dancers form the Cheer Challenge performed. We did a raffle drawing for prizes (team autographed footballs and t-shirts). Then we had our challenge, The Super Bowl Trivia Challenge. Audience members were selected at random to form a team and they were to compete with us! It was a close match. However they won by only one point, they were very knowledgeable. We ended this event with a photo session. After the event we shot a quick commercial teaser for “Sporto Ladies Day.” Then we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe Tokyo, for well-deserved American-style burgers!

Day 6:
022409 Cole in JapanUp at 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m. group breakfast. It was starting to sink in that our trip was coming to an end. We all started to get a little sad because this was our final day, and final performance. We got on our tour bus and went to J-POP cafe in Shibuya. The TV shooting for NHK’s “Best Sports” show. We performed one final dance routine, to “Keeps Getting Better,” which was so fitting because we had all gotten better, and each of us had grown so much from this experience. From traveling to Japan, to celebrating our NFL, to sharing what we are a part of in our individual organizations, and celebrating our communities. It made me feel so proud to be an NFL cheerleader, and justified my role as a role model within our community and as an ambassador for our organization.

That evening we had a farewell dinner at the famous restaurant Nobo. NFL Japan presented us with a very special necklace which I found to be so generous and thoughtful. If there is one thing I could expose to you all about the Japanese culture, it is that the people are so polite, kind, and generous. We went out that evening and explored the night club scene in Tokyo. Interestingly enough, they all play American music!

Day 7:
We said our goodbye’s to the NFL Japan crew, which took such great care of us. We exchanged email addresses and contact information with all the members of the tour, and I slept the entire plane ride home.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Oakland Raiders, Karen Kovac, Maria Giannini, E2k entertainment, Jiro San, NFL Japan, and the NFL for this opportunity. I feel so blessed to be able to live out my dream of being an NFL cheerleader. This is an experience I will cherish because it validated my purpose in this great sport we are all so passionate about, and my contribution as an ambassador for our organization.

Many Cheers!
Cole