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Working hard, this Summer

She Does What?
D.J. Foster
Los Angeles Clippers

Staples Center has become sort of a second home for Clipper Fan Patrol member Summer over the past nine years. During every single Clippers home game, you can catch the longest tenured member of the Fan Patrol performing with the rest of the sqyad during breaks in the action. Gymnastics, dance, cheerleading – you name it, Summer and the Fan Patrol do it.

After about three hours chock-full of tumbling and stunting, Summer will make the drive back home. With her adrenaline pumping and her heart still going a million miles per hour, she tries to force herself to sleep because she knows what’s in store for her in the morning.

Summer is a Fan Patrol veteran.

[Photo Gallery: Summer]

The turnaround is so fast that her costume swap would make the “quick change” halftime act look pedestrian by comparison.

Bright and early with just a few hours of shut eye under her belt, Summer swaps out her red and blue Clippers vest for a bright yellow reflective one. She kicks her white cheerleading shoes to the side and puts some steel-toe boots on her feet. The skirt gets tossed for a pair of jeans. And the hair she spent so much time getting just right last night? It gets a big hardhat plopped right on top of it.

And with that, her transformation is complete – performer in front of 19,000 by night…longshoreman on the docks at the various ports around Los Angeles by day.

“A lot of people are surprised to see me down there sometimes, “ Summer said. “Other people on the team are from around the area and know about the job. So they know what goes on down there.”

What goes on down there, simply put, is some real backbreaking manual labor. For Summer, her two jobs – Fan Patrol and Longshoreman – truly are like night and day.

“It’s completely different,” Summer said. “The Clippers Fan Patrol is more of my fun job where I get to dress up and interact with fans and be part of a team. The longshoreman job is a lot of physical work. It’s lifting heavy things, lifting heavy equipment.”

[Photo Gallery: Summer’s Day Job]

“Sometimes I’ll be keeping track of the containers that come on and off the ship, and sometimes I’ll be driving a semi-truck with a 40-foot container attached to it,” Summer said.

If it seems like a questionable job for a highly talented gymnast with a Master’s Degree from Cal State Fullerton to fall into, you would be right. But down at the docks, Summer is about as comfortable as one could be hauling 30-pound containers repeatedly.

“I do really like it,” Summer said. “It’s different every time I go down there. It keeps you on your toes. It’s a pretty interesting job.”

The job is made a little more interesting when you consider how small Summer is compared to the rest of her coworkers.

“It’s pretty tough work, especially because I’m so short,” Summer said. “That doesn’t work in my favor. When I’m driving the semi-truck it’s kind of hard to reach the pedals.

“A lot of the guys down there are so big — it’s kind of a big man’s job. We have to lift the connectors to the containers, and they get pretty heavy after a while.”

But that hasn’t stopped Summer . The blue-collar work ethic is so instilled in her that she can’t take a break. She works because she can’t imagine not working.

It is easy to see where Summer gets that attitude from. Her grandfather, Charles, worked at the docks for many years. Her brother and uncle work there with her now, as does her father, Steve, who has worked as a longshoreman for over 25 years.

“He didn’t push me to do the job, but he kind of recommended it,” Summer said of her dad. “He thought it would be something good to fall back on even if I didn’t want to do it forever because I was still going to school.”

You get the impression talking to Summer that there is nothing that could stop her from doing what she sets her mind on. Since she was five years old, Summer knew that she wanted to do gymnastics and cheer , and she has successfully made that dream a reality, even if it has meant working somewhere a little outside of the box during the day.

Since the 2001-02 season, Summer has lived her dream and entertained the Clipper faithful, and if they ever need her to do something else for squad – something typically reserved for someone twice her size like being a base – it should be no surprise given her day job that she would be up for the challenge.

“Yeah,” Summer laughed. “I could do that.”

Save the date for Clippers Fan Patrol auditions

Field Trip: 2010 Clippers Fan Patrol Auditions

The L.A. Clippers annual Fan Patrol auditions took place last month. The Fan Patrol performs at Clippers home games. They do tumbling, partner stunts, all kinds of other things to help keep the crowd hyped up. They’re a fun bunch, and their auditions are never boring.

Every year, I enjoy the tryouts a little more. When I first encountered the Fan Patrol, a few years ago, about 95% of everything they did scared the crap out of me. It was terrifying to watch them flipping and tumbling and throwing each other up in the air like it’s no big deal. I’m getting used to it though. I’ve never ever seen a Fan Patroler get hurt. So these days, only about 37% of everything they do scares the crap out of me.

I hardly ever flinch and cover my eyes anymore.

The thing I find most interesting about these tryouts is the instant trust that happens between total strangers. You can show up to auditions, not knowing anyone in the room, and two minutes later some dude you just met is balancing you on the palm of his hand, eight feet up in the air. (Granted, there are spotters everywhere so no one gets hurt, but I think I’d have a few questions before I was ready to commit to the activity.)

Fan Patrol auditions are a very different thing from dance auditions. With dance auditions, you’re on your own. It’s every dancer for herself. This is different. You can dance by yourself, but you can’t do stunts by yourself. These people have to depend on each other, so it’s a very cooperative environment. Everyone arrives early so they can “test run” their prospective partners. They mix it up – all of the guys working with all of the girls, in order to decide who they want to audition with. The veterans are in high demand, of course. Rookie guys want to practice with veteran girls. Rookie girls want to practice with veteran guys. Everyone is very outgoing, so it all happens very easily. The veterans are all very approachable and don’t hesitate to work with the newbies. There’s none of that “we’re veterans and we’re the shiz-nit” attitude.

(Speaking of veterans, where the heck is Tami???? I am not happy about this.)

Every time I go to a dance audition, there are one or two girls who are inexperienced, but figure “Hey, I’m a terrific dancer, so how hard could this be?” That doesn’t happen at the Fan Patrol audition. There’s no way to fake it, so everyone walks in the door with experience. Either you can tumble or you can’t. You can stunt or you can’t. Some are better at it than others, but everyone has a grasp of the basics.

Another thing that differs from a dance audition is the simplicity of attire. You don’t see a lot of crystals, sequins, accessories, doo-dads, crazy colors, or barely-there attire. Function wins over fashion because these girls can’t afford for their outfits to get in their way. They’re also, without exception, in awesome shape. There are no softies here.

I have nothing but admiration for the talent and skill on display. HOWEVER, I also feel compelled to point out that as friendly as these people are, they are also a bunch of maniacs. Let’s be honest. You have to be a little bit mental to be involved in this sort of activity, especially at this level. I am not saying they should feel bad about themselves. I just want them to understand that normal people don’t go around hurling themselves (and each other) in the air like that. These are people who stand on top of each other for fun. I’m just saying.

James tosses Melek around like a Tinker Toy

There are three parts to the Fan Patrol audition: tumbling, stunting, and a third thing I’ll call “crowd appeal.” Tumbling is a solo thing. Candidates are called up in groups of four. One by one, they each have to demonstrate a standing back tuck. (I am so full of it. I have no idea what a standing back tuck is. I must’ve heard that somewhere.)

Most everyone pulled it off. Some did a toe touch first. A few used spotters. A couple touched their hands to the ground, which I don’t think they were supposed to do.

Hasani does a toe-touch

Vince catches some air with his back flip

Vince spots Cortlin

Next, they had an opportunity to do a tumbling pass, where you do a bunch of flips from one corner of the room to the opposite corner. Those who did the pass threw in cartwheels, somersaults, back flips, tucks, aerials, and …other stuff. I’m sure there were other things going on, but .that’s pretty much all the tumbling terminology I know. The tumbling pass wasn’t mandatory, so some people opted out.

Julie’s tumbling pass

Summer’s tumbling pass

Vic’s tumbling pass

Partner stunts were next. Each pair had to do a heel stretch and one other stunt. This is the part where it could get confusing because many people (veterans in particular) took multiple turns in order to partner with different people. Shea partnered with Hasani. Hasani partnered with Melek. Melek partnered with James. James partnered with Jessica, and so on and so on and so on. Before long, everyone was out of order, so It was a little challenging to keep track. Before starting, each pair had to let the judges know if both people were being judged, or if one was being judged and the other was assisting. For example, Craig partnered with Cortlin, Summer, and Marquita, but the judges only scored him one of those times. The other two times he was just there to provide a base for the girl during her audition. Capisce?

Nina and Vince, with Brian spotting

Shea and Hasani

Jacquelyn and Ryan with Brian spotting

The last part was Crowd Appeal. This was meant to simulate real life when there’s a lull in the basketball game for a timeout or whatever. Whenever this happens, the Fan Patrol runs out on the court to tumble, do some stunts, throw some t-shirts and get the crowd to make some noise. For this audition, Nate the Coach put music on for about 20 seconds and the aspiring candidates had to go out there and generate some excitement. Everyone cheers each other on, so it gets very loud.

Let’s go Clippers!

One group had four guys and no girls. You need girls for stunts, so this limited their options to tumbling and bumping chests. James did a few stunts with an imaginary partner.

Hey, you have to improvise with what you’ve got.
(I pasted a partner in, so the guy doesn’t look like a complete nut.)

After crowd appeal, the judges went off somewhere to deliberate. There were around 40 people in the running, and the judges were looking to choose around 20 people for the team. The judges’ task was a little harder this year because the Fan Patrol is changing things up. Up until now, the team has done mostly ad hoc stunts at the corners of the court and sometimes at center court during breaks in the game. This year, they will do more full-on performances, with music, synchronized tumbling, and choreographed stunts. I imagine it will be something like you see on the National Cheerleading Championships on ESPN. It is going to be way cool.

A key thing to know about the Fan Patrol is if you leave them to their own devices for too long, they bored. And then they get up to shenanigans. I managed to corner the veteran girls before the group started to get restless.

Sugar and spice and everything nice. That’s what Fan Patrol girls are made of. But don’t be fooled. These girls pack a lot of muscle. They’re half my size and could kick my butt any day of the week. (Hello, have you heard about Kealey Oliver?)

Anyway, as I was saying, these Fan Patrol-types are real daredevils. They’re always wanting to “try” new stuff. Scary stuff. I turned my back for one minute and look what goes on:

Hey Melek, I have an idea. You do a back flip and I’ll catch you, throw you up on the air, and balance you on my forehead.

Look! No hands!

Uh-oh, the guys found civilian to play with. I think Adrianne’s about to freak out.
Lucky for her, the judges came back right around then.

The judges announced the finalists and arranged to do interviews the following week. In the end, they chose ten guys and eleven girls for the team.

Congrats to the 2010-11 Clippers Fan Patrol!
[Click here for more photos]

Cortlin, Jacquelyn, Jessica, Julie, Mandy, and Marquita

Melek, Nina, Stephanie, Shea, and Summer

Arturo, Brian, Craig, Greg, and Hasani

James, Luis, Monte, Ryan, and Vince

2009 Clippers Fan Patrol Auditions

2009 Clippers Fan Patrol Auditions

Auditions for the Los Angeles Clippers stunt team took place on Saturday afternoon. Only a few NBA teams have a stunt team, and those that don’t are missing out. The Fan Patrol adds a lot to game day entertainment. No disrespect to the Clippers, but they aren’t the winningest team in the NBA. The Fan Patrol provides much-needed spirit and enthusiasm to each home game.

[I took lots of photos, which you can find right here.]

Fan Patrol tryouts were at a different venue this year. Last year, it was a dance studio. This year it was at Fit Kids Gym in Torrance. Fit Kids gym has lots of bright colors and music, and the floor is bouncy. Basically, my kind of place.


A talented group of athletes turned up to take a shot at making the Kia Fan Patrol for the 2009-2010 season. With nearly half of last year’s team retired, the newbies had a pretty good shot at it. As usual, the girls were tiny and fearless, and the boys were throwing them around like tennis balls or whatever. The thing that strikes me is how fearless and trusting you have to be to get involved in this kind of activity. The veterans have an advantage in that they’ve worked together before. The new people have a bigger challenge. Basically, they have to show up at auditions and team up with people they’ve known for only 15 minutes. The girls have to trust a total stranger to toss them around and – most importantly – to catch them. The boys have to hope the girls are in shape, and have some technique. Yeah, the girl is a total stranger, but you don’t want to drop her on the ground and have that on your conscience!

Fan Patrol auditions consist of three segments: tumbling, stunting, and “Hot Time-out” (aka crowd appeal). The auditioners were divided into groups of four. Each group did all 3 segments, then the next group did all three, and so on. When it came to the girls, once your group had it’s turn, you were pretty much done for the day. The guys all had to do the stunting section a few times, so it got a little tricky keeping everyone’s numbers in order. (Tricky for me anyway. The judges seemed to have it all under control.)

Girls usually outnumber the guys at these auditions, so each guy had to work with a few different girls. (They had the option to choose which time they wanted to be judged on.) These girls are pretty small, but the smallest are still around a hundred pounds. That’s a lot to lift over and over again. These guys have to have serious upper body strength.

I found myself wondering if they lift regular weights at the gym, or if stunting involves special muscle groups that can only be strengthened by lifting actual human beings. (15 reps with Tami as the barbell, then 15 with Cortlin, and so on.)

The tumbling section is self-explanatory. Each person had the option to demonstrate tumbling in place (back flips, etc.) and doing a tumbling pass (a series of flips going across the room.) I’d tell you more, but I don’t know much about the technical aspects of gymnastics. I know what a roundoff is, and a standing back tuck, but that’s about it. There was a lot of other stuff going on that wasn’t either of those two things. These guys could really catch some air! Not everyone had to tumble though, and some chose not to.





Stunting is the basically partner stunts where the the guy balances the girl in the air on one hand or two, and the girl does a few different positions, ie liberty, kewpie, heel stretch, bow-and-arrow, etc. There’s a lot more to it than this, but you get the gist. There’s this one move that continues to defy understanding (and the laws of gravity). I don’t know what you call it, but the guy throws the girl up in the air and she does some kind of back flip – seven feet in the AIR, mind you – and lands with her feet balanced on his hands.


Then there’s this other one where … I can’t even explain it. It’s some crazy spinning thing. I wish I had video so I could watch it in slo-mo and understand the mechanics of it all.




A hot time out is code for clubbing with the Fan Patrol.

Ok, I’m kidding. A hot time-out is what happens during a game when there’s a time out and you have to do something to keep the crowd engaged (so they aren’t sitting around scratching themselves and talking about the weather.) The music gets loud and the Fan Patrolers run out on the court and get the crowd hyped up. There’s some stunting, some jumping around and flipping, a basket toss here and there, a few “Let’s GO!” signs, some yelling, tossing of t-shirts, and overall merriment. I’d describe it as “spontaneous goofing off, underlaid with a significant amount of athletic technique.”




It’s kind of interesting to watch this go on in an audition setting. There’s no crowd to cheer along, just the judges. And although the judges will smile encouragingly, they aren’t going to paint their faces red, white, and blue and yell “Let’s go Clips” at the top of their lungs. (I wanted to, but thought I’d better not.)

Nevermind though. The auditioners cheered for each other. LOUDLY.

The audition itself went very quickly. Everyone had a turn, and then the judges adjourned to choose the finalists.

Meanwhile, you’d think everyone would kind of chill for a minute. But no. As soon as the audition is over, they’re back at it: flipping and stunting and whatnot. I heard a lot of “Hey, let’s try this!” Boing, boing, boing.




Do you remember those kids on the playground? The ones who were always climbing the jungle gym and hanging upside down on the monkey bars? Those kids eventually become these kids.

It took the judges a while to narrow down the field. They’re looking for 10 guys and 10 girls, but I think that number is flexible. When they finished deliberating, they announced the names of those who would continue on to the interview phase of the audition. Interviews were on Monday, so now the only thing to do is wait to find out who made the team. Have no doubt. When I know, you’ll know!


Raiderettes Visit Troops in Iraq

June 8, 2009

Last week, a group of five Raiderettes, Tiphanie, Cole, Meena, Emily and Ashlee, visited several United States military bases in Iraq. The Raiderettes spent time with U.S. servicemembers in Iraq.


Meena sent the following on May 30th: “I am finally getting some time to sit down and send off some e-mails. We arrived at FOB Delta in Iraq this morning. It is near the city of Al Quds. For the first time in our Middle East experience we are staying in a tent! It is lined on both sides with about six or seven bunk beds down each side. The “wall” and “ceiling” are tent-like with solid metal beams as interior supporting structures. Cool air is pumped in, but it’s not doing much in this heat. It is super windy and when we lay down on our beds the “walls” actually are snapping with the wind and hitting us in the head. It’s pretty funny actually.

We’ll be performing on an outdoor stage, it is basically the bed of a flat bed truck. The crews here have placed a wood flooring on top of the rusty metal. In the background is a bombed out building, and all around the stage there are mortar bunkers. It’s quite a scene. Today while we were marking our spots and rehearsing our show a soldier approached us and asked if any of us had cheered in high school or college. I was the only one who said yes. He asked if I cheered coed, and I again said yes. Without missing a beat, he asked “Do you wanna stunt?” So after we were finished rehearsing I threw a couple of stunts with him. It was really cool. I also learned that the Raiderettes are the first cheerleaders to perform at this base, so the troops here are extremely excited.


Our first two days included an evening performance at Camp Beuhring in Iraq after enduring a day of 130+ degrees. Unkown to us, our security detail had made a call to have medics standing by during our performance in case any of us went down. We all made it through safely, but it was good to know our security detail was looking out for us. Our second performance was at Camp Basrah in Iraq to one of the rowdiest crowds I’ve seen in awhile. We had a lot of fun with them and found some die-hard Raider fans.

It’s a little cooler today, maybe around 100 degrees…very windy, we can actually feel the dust and sand on our teeth. I don’t know how these men and women live in this day in and day out. Until you’ve been here, it is difficult to fully understand. I would compare it to standing in front of a massive blow dryer all day.

That’s it for now…we’ll touch base as soon as we get a chance again! Not sure where we are headed next, but we are ready for the adventure.”


Cole checked in on June 1st: “We did a live appearance from here in Iraq on KRON 4 [with Vern Glenn]. We have already completed two shows. We started in Kuwait, then flew to Baghdad, and back to Kuwait, and then to Iraq. This has been such and emotional trip in many ways. We all are so humbled by what we have witnessed. Equally so proud of what our soldiers have accomplished. They truly are our country’s heroes and we are so honored to be able to thank them for all they do, and all they have sacrificed. Great stories already to tell. Funny moments, tearful moments. We met one of the generals last night, big highlight for all of us. We have collected four coins and one patch so far. We have to go get ready for our next show this evening at 1900. Our agenda is demanding. Not a lot of sleep, or downtime.”

Cole checked in again on June 2nd: “Just quick update. We met a three-star general today! We have six coins now and three patches. We played Rock band with the special forces yesterday, and had a jam session for fun. We also were present during a private promotion ceremony for the special forces. We’re about to head to our next meet and greet, and then get ready for our show here at Camp Striker. Thanks for all your support. We are in such great hands, and feel very safe. Military troops are motivated and happy we are here. Carmen our tour guide is taking such great care of us.”


During the Raiderettes trip to the Middle East, several soldiers sent e-mail to Raiders.com thanking Football’s Fabulous Females for visiting them. Here is a sampling…

“I am writing this e-mail for “Team C,” the Raiderettes, who appeared in FOB Delta on Saturday night in Iraq. I just wanted to thank your team for coming out here to give us a little entertainment while we are deployed. It meant a lot to us and something like that really goes a long way.” – Marc R

“I am writing this to you today from FOB Delta, Iraq. I am writing this to you today because last night myself and hundreds of other soldiers were entertained by five of your sexy and lovely and courageous Raiderettes. They are Tiphanie, Emily, Ashlee, Meena, and Cole (TEAM C). I would like to thank the Raiders for allowing them to come here to Iraq and entertain us. It was a great show. They were very enthusiastic and they tried very hard to get people up on stage. I myself was one that was up on stage during the dance off. And like it was said last night by a colonel of the base, ‘maybe we’re heroes for being here doing what we do best but just the simple fact that they came here just to try and show us a good time and help us have a good night that made them the heroes’ hero.’ Even though they were here for just one night it was the best night that I have had in a long time. We are eternally grateful for them coming. If they didn’t come I probably wouldv’e just stayed in my tent like I have so many other nights and watched a movie. But them coming here made me so happy. It just boosted my morale level so high for the next month. Them being here and giving us the best show that they could made me feel like I was sitting in the front row on the 50-yard line at a Raiders game. They did a outstanding job and I believe they should be recognized for it. In closing I would just like to say THANK YOU again for allowing them to be here last night. Thank you again and have a safe and happy 2009. From your number one Raider and Raiderettes fan…” – John G.

We’ll have more from the Raiderettes trip to the Middle East, including Vern Glenn’s satellite interview, online later in the week.

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


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.