Texans Cheerleader Nicole sat down with HoustonTexans.com to go over some of the most frequently asked questions about Texans Cheerleader Tryouts, which are right around the corner on April 12.
Are there any height & weight requirements? Nicole:"There are no height and weight requirements. You do need to be physically fit and really make sure that you work out and stay in good shape because you want to look good in the uniform, but otherwise, we have all kinds of heights and body shapes and types."
Will I make the squad if I have a tattoo? Nicole: "Yes, you can have a tattoo. We have a few girls with tattoos. It just needs to be covered up with makeup, and try to keep it unseen in the uniform."
How should I wear my hair and make-up? Nicole: "Your hair should complement your complexion, and makeup needs to be kind of stage makeup. How it works in the auditions is you'll be in the Bubble and there will be hundreds of judges all up there and they're pretty far away from you, so your makeup needs to be able to be seen from far away."
Can my family watch any part of the auditions or Prep Classes? Nicole: "No. All auditions are closed, so you've got to go in by yourself."
Where can I go to get ready for tryouts?
Nicole: "A lot of girls, a lot of the cheerleaders like to take dance classes. I personally like to go to the Houston MET. It's kind of downtown. They have wonderful jazz classes, technique classes. A lot of girls go to Planet Funk, as well, to take some funk aerobic classes, really get in shape, because a lot of the stuff that we do for cheerleaders is a lot of jazz technique and a lot of hip hop, so really focusing on that. I wouldn't suggest going and taking a ballet class or anything, because I don't think that's going to really help you."
Is the squad more dance-oriented than cheerleading and stunting? Nicole: "Yes. Definitely, the NFL in general, pro cheerleaders, we all do more so dancing. I don't know of any NFL (team) that does any stunting or throwing in the air; I personally couldn't do it. Definitely more dancing."
What will the judges focus on?
Nicole: "I think what the judges really look for is personality and showmanship and really showing up and knowing your stuff. You've got to learn a lot of material very quickly, and so just being able to keep up and go with the pace and having a lot of fun. I've done a few auditions in my life for all the dance organizations I've done and I think one of the best ways to go about into an audition is to really feel prepared, so that means coming and feeling (and) looking your best – your hair, your makeup, really taking care of yourself.
"Talk to the other girls; get to know them. I really think that's important. I always talk to lots of girls and I kind of get to know people around me so we can help each other out if somebody's kind of slipping up on choreography or like, 'Oh, what's the eight count?' or, 'How do you do this part?' and I always end up talking to all the people around me and we all help each other out.
"I would really also suggest if there's a girl that has your same hair color that kind of looks like you, I would suggest getting away from her. Don't stand next to her. Say you're next to a girl and she kind of looks like you and she can out-dance you, they're going to pick that girl over you, so … like, for me, I'd go find all the blondes and the redheads and stand by them, so then I stand out to the judges. So that's just a little trick."
Do I have to make up my own routine? Nicole: "Not for these auditions. We'll probably be learning about four dances, and then once you make it into finals we start having practices and Alto watches us during the practices before the final cut."
How much of a time commitment is being a Houston Texans Cheerleader? Nicole: "Being an NFL cheerleader is a huge commitment. You completely dedicate your life to it. You have no social life whatsoever. And it's really because all of us, we have full-time jobs. So I do my student teaching from 7 in the morning in Humble all the way up to this job, which ends at 5 or 6, and then I'll be going straight over to practice if I make it this next year and I won't be done 'til 10:00 at night, 10:30 sometimes. We've even gotten out at 11:00 at night.
"Practices usually run Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Fridays on game weeks, and it's about from 7, 7:30 to about 10. And it's a lot of time. You have to go to all the practices. You have to do at least about 30 to 40 appearances throughout the Houston area, and those are really flattering because we have so many organizations and so many companies that request cheerleaders to be at their events, galas, all kinds of events. I've got one this week and two next week, so we're always doing appearances, so that's another big commitment, and then of course we have about 10 home games, and of course we're there. That's what the most exciting part is, the games."
"But it's so funny because we've been on offseason since December and I can tell you, those girls, they become your family, and not seeing them every day is the most surreal thing. I'm so used to seeing 35 happy cheerleaders every day and, you know, you just become part of a family, and we all love it and we all get along great and I wouldn't give it up for the world. I'm going to try to win my spot back this year, for sure."
Are the Cheerleaders paid?
Nicole: "Yes. Not much – we get paid a little. We do it more because of the love of it, but we get paid for practice time, we get paid for appearances and we get about 50 dollars per game, and then all of our uniforms, we don't have to pay for that. All of our uniforms are paid for."
What can I do to get ready before the auditions? Nicole: "I would say if you're getting ready for auditions, make sure that you go and get your hair done. Make sure it looks good. Get your nails done. Make sure and get a costume made. I would suggest going to maybe a camp or a dance clinic. I would also say that just kind of eat right and really get your stamina up because it's a very long day. Auditions are from 8 a.m. to the evening time and so it's a long day and it's a lot of dances, so really come and have your stamina up because it can get tiring. Your brain just kind of gets fried by the end."
Click here to register for the 2008 Texans Cheerleader Tryouts!