But this, I am told, is standard for dance-team try-outs. Yet it is considered a part-time job; Laker Girls all have necessarily flexible, part-time day jobs too. Time management is something many of the girls mention. Some weeks, Laker Girls might have up to six commitments for the team, plus two four-hour evening rehearsals. Lindsay Riley, 23, has spent three seasons as a Laker Girl, her first year also studying for her college finals. Just being a Laker Girl is worth it. They run through it, first in three large groups, then in groups of three, watched by a panel of judges.
Part-time and low-paid though it may be, the role will elevate them to semi-celebrity status. The girls are now well compensated compared to other NBA teams. But with that comes a duty to uphold the image of the lucrative brand. Other teams can be more prickly: Women only became involved in cheerleading in and began to dominate it during the Second World War , when fewer men were available to participate in organised sport. Laker Girls have to be able to do everything. There are acres of tanned, taut young flesh on display in bejewelled push-up bra tops and bikini-style Lycra bottoms. Time management is something many of the girls mention. How much are cheerleaders worth to the NFL? Each girl is then handed a card: Lindsay Riley, 23, has spent three seasons as a Laker Girl, her first year also studying for her college finals. Today around 97 per cent of cheerleaders are female. Successive rounds will whittle down the girls to a pool of 40, and later The biggest challenge for her, she says, is maintaining motivation. The day after the try-outs, I visit Estrada at her office. Tahiri Toche, 18, travelled 2, miles to join other girls at her first try-out Graeme Mitchell But the role is about more than fancy footwork. But this, I am told, is standard for dance-team try-outs. Clad in a Lakers cap and polo shirt, with cropped hair, she could resemble a smaller, brunette Sue Sylvester, the Machiavellian cheerleading coach in Glee, but for her cheerful demeanour and wide, warm smile. Yet it is considered a part-time job; Laker Girls all have necessarily flexible, part-time day jobs too. Shelbie Kovach, 22 — in a dazzling leopard-print two-piece — has been a Laker Girl for a year and moved from Arizona for the job. The difference, for anyone unfamiliar with the world of the pep squad, may not be immediately obvious: But the sniffiness of the Brooklynettes likely owes less to the technicalities than the widespread perception of cheerleaders as vacuous airheads of easy virtue. The first cheerleaders faced none of this, but then the first cheerleaders were men, yelling their support for their contemporaries on the field at Princeton University in the late s. Fraternising with the players is forbidden. She also teaches dance at a local studio. In addition to performing at more than 40 games per season, the Laker Girls are also ambassadorial, representing the brand at public openings and community, charity and fan events.
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