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Cheerleader of the Week: Crystal


Crystal's swagger as a dancer sets her apart.

Cheerleader of the Week Crystal, a third-year veteran and one of the squad's captains, dances with a flair and vigor that attract everybody's attention.

"People can't wait to see her dance," cheerleader services manager Alto Gary says. "When she's dancing, I have to make a point to look at other people, because she will draw your attention right to her.

"Her dance ability is just phenomenal. If we ever have a competition with other squads, that would just be unfair to put her on the team, because she by herself would smoke the rest of the NFL."

And that opinion isn't merely a coach's bias. Crystal is equally admired by her teammates.

"Number one, hands down, (she's) one of the best dancers I have ever met in my entire life," Ashley says. "I mean she is just incredible, her precision, her execution. You can't deny it. You can't beat it."

In addition to her talents on the sidelines, Crystal is also an aspiring recording artist (click **here** to listen to a sample of Crystal's music). Texans fans got to see that side of her a few weeks ago when she showed off her vocal cords by singing the National Anthem prior to the Texans-Cowboys preseason game.

"(It) was an awesome experience," Crystal says. "I have had the opportunity to sing at Reliant before, but I never recall it being that full. I never had 70,000 fans there.

"This was definitely the ultimate to be able to sing to my fans, and I felt as if I was standing there before them (as) who I truly am, a dancer and a singer at the same time. So that was a great honor of mine and something I would love to do over again."

{QUOTE}Crystal has been involved with music since the age of seven, when she was in a singing group with her older sisters. She continued on that path in college and ended up opening for artists such as The Temptations and rapper Mystikal. Lately, Crystal has devoted a considerable amount of time to singing at her church.

"I enjoy singing gospel," she says. "It starts at home; it starts with the Lord. That's how I put my soul into singing.

"Singing at church is all about things I've been through, all about where I hope to go, all about what I know God has in store for me. If anything, singing for the Lord is my true calling and it's something that I prefer to do above anything else."

Outside of church, Crystal refers to her unique vocal style as a little bit of hip-hop mixed with a little bit of R&B.

"(It's) not really a singing genre that you could just categorize by itself, but something that has to do with singing from the heart," she says. "Hip-hop is something that expresses things that you've been through, and you have the opportunity to put that into your music."

Music has been in Crystal's family since before her parents even got married.

"My parents actually met in a band when they were younger," she says. "My mom was the lead vocalist, my dad was on saxophone, my uncle was on the drums. They've always loved music."

As a recording artist and Texans Cheerleader, Crystal knows that she has an opportunity to be a role model for young women. She offers some great advice.

"I want to tell young women to put their heart and soul into everything, to think everything out, to be yourself," she says. "In this day and time, you feel pressured to be what anybody else wants you to be, to be what everybody wants you to be.

"And especially in the music industry, there's a whole lot of pressure. There are a lot of people who will tell you things, but until you do what really feels right to you, that's the only time you'll be happy. It's who you want to be. It's who God wants you to be. Not what anyone else wants you to be."

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