Exclusive Interview: NFL Cheerleader Goes Natural for 49ers Auditions
You ever have that experience where you think you know somebody and then they say something that completely blows you away? Well that happened with me and Danetha! For the past year I’ve known Danetha as an accountant who specialized in beauty industry clients, but then I get this email, being all like “Yea, so when I was cheerleading for the Indianapolis Colts I wore my hair straight, but now I’m going natural!”
:::stops the car and pulls over on the side of the highway:::
“When I used to be an NFL cheerleader” is not usually something you hear in casual conversation, right!? Anywho, I got the scoop from Miss Danetha about her hair-story as an NFL Cheerleader and how this next time around she’s going to be rocking her natural hair! Read on for a truly inspirational story!
Cassidy: When you were a cheerleader before, was there a pressure to wear your hair a certain way? What other beauty standards were you expected to uphold?
Danetha: Yes! There weren’t any other natural hair girls in the league (that I knew of) and long, flowy hair was the norm. We had routines with “hairography” and you had to be able to flip your hair in order to look sexy. Our squad was sponsored by one of Indianapolis’ top salons, and the stylists were awesome! But, they didn’t know how to work with ethnic relaxed hair, much less natural hair. At the time, my hair was relaxed and they suggested that I wear a weave. I worked with a stylist to determine my look and we settled on a long, straight weave. I was fine with it because that’s what I considered beautiful and I wanted to fit in with the other girls. As far as other beauty standards…there weren’t really any. I guess, we were all expected to be physically fit, but I think that comes with territory of being a dancer and athlete.
C: When and why did you decide to go natural?
D: My last relaxer was in 2008, but I wore a weave until mid 2009 so I didn’t have to do the big chop :) I cut off my relaxed ends at the end of 2009. I decided to go natural because my hair was falling out. I had HUGE bald spots all over my head and my hair was in bad shape. I went to the best stylists, so I knew that the reason for this was because my hair could not handle a relaxer (I had been relaxing my hair for 16+ years). It was time for a change and time for me to learn how to take care of myself, and not have to depend on a stylist.
C: What has changed and inspired you to rock your natural hair texture for auditions?
D: I really feel that there is power when someone sees their image on the big screen. As a natural girl, who loves to follow celebrities, I crave for a figure that looks like me and has “made it” and considered “beautiful” by the main stream. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it is reassuring to see your image reflected on TV or in magazines. I hope that I can help push that image in mainstream media. Also, I’m at a point in my life where I’m comfortable with me and I don’t want to conform to anyone’s idea of me. So, take me natural or don’t. Whatever. I did audition last year for the Gold Rush as a natural, but it wasn’t the right timing. I moved to the Bay Area (literally!) a week before auditions and I had wayyy too much going on to focus. I made the finals (from 300 girls to 80) and then I was cut. I think everything happens for reason. Although I was super bummed, I had a chance to explore Bay Area, fall in love with it, and start my company which was another passion of mine. I’ve had a year to find my place in this area and now I feel like I’m ready to represent the 49ers.
C: What is the audition process like?
D: Haha. I could write a novel on the process ;) You know, its similar to the Dallas Cowboys series but not that long. Each squad is different. The 49ers Gold Rush complete the process in one week. On the first day, you learn a dance and perform it. There are two cuts that day. If you make it past the first day, you are in the finals. During finals, you have one group practice with the head choreographer. There is an interview day with a panel. You are asked any question you can think of- from who is your favorite player, to what are your career goals to what you like to do for fun. They really want to see that you are able to engage with strangers and relate to the fans. The last day is the final performance. You perform a dance choreographed by their Director or Head Choreographer and a solo piece. This is open to the public. Overall, the process is a lot of fun. But it is SO NERVE WRACKING. There are so many beautiful, talented, intelligent women in the process and you just hope that you stand out.
C: What sorts of styles can we expect from watching your audition journey?
D: As far as hair, I will be rocking a lot of protective styles. I’ll be working out a lot, so it’ll be important to maintain my hair. I’ll also be trying out different products to see which one I should use for audition days. My hair doesn’t hold styles very well and I plan on wearing a twist out while performing. So, expect some product reviews while I try to find the “perfect” product for my hair for the big day. I will also test one or two professional stylists in the Bay Area (Cassidy, if you have any suggestions please let me know) Editors Note: I always do! Hit me up and we’ll talk! to see if they can get my hair ready for auditions. As far as clothes, I will be shopping for my interview outfit (fingers crossed, I make it to finals again) and my audition outfit. Check me out as I shop for the most flattering ‘fits :)
I don’t know about you, but I am hella excited to watch Danetha as a natural go through the audition process! Let’s all share some words of encouragement in the comments to support our fellow naturalista as she takes this big personal leap! I personally believe that the more authentic one is, the more they are accepted, so I’m proud that Danetha is showing and auditioning with her true texture!
To follow Danetha’s natural hair journey through her audition process, follow her on her social media channels: