The Life of a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader

Five, six, seven, eight. Step, point, kick and turn. Again! Ah, the familiar words Kelli McGonagill Finglass, director of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, and her staff recite over and over every night to ensure perfection on the playing field. An edited version of our interview with her follows.

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
kelli finglass image
Photograph: Courtesy of CMT

More: Have you ever had to fire a cheerleader?
KF: Sure. Our cheerleaders are on a one-year contract. When we are at the audition and we know we have had an issue with someone being late, receiving bad feedback on appearances or just not seeming to be a team player, we know we have to address those staffing changes.

More: Because the stakes are so high and there is fierce competition to earn a spot on the squad, do you have to break up a lot of catfights?
KF: Not really. These girls go through a grueling audition process, so by the end, they are really supportive of each other. It is like being in boot camp together. These girls are fighting to survive and make it.

More: Are there rules in terms of dating the players?
KF: Yes, there are rules. They are not allowed to fraternize with the players.

More: Are men allowed to audition?
KF: Men have applied. Male athletes are now on the Baltimore team. I guess it depends on the style of dance, the uniform and if they make it through the audition process. We have a panel of 13 judges and it really comes down to someone’s scores. We recently introduced a hip-hop dance team called Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers. It is cast with both male and female dancers.

More: Are there any age restrictions?
KF: Every year we have women in their forties try out. We had a 37-year-old mother of four try out and make it. She cheered for us for two years.

More: So women of all ages are encouraged to apply?
KF: We promote diversity in many areas.

Click here to read: Cutting a Rug with Brooke Burke Charvet.

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First Published December 9, 2011

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