Tina and Vania of the ‘Cincinnati Ben-Gals’ – Crushes of the Day
In the month of January, the website ran a 'Hottest Cheerleading Squad' competition. We thought for sure one of the cheerleading squads for the "popular" NFL teams would walk away with the win. We were all ready to crown the Cowboys or Dolphins squads before the competition even started.
There is a reason to hold these competition, because just like in the NFL, you NEVER know what can happen. We had no idea that the Cincinnati Ben-gals would dominate the voting. Each week, the girls from Ohio picked off another squad on their way to a 'Hottest Cheerleading Squad' crowd. It was fun to watch.
Our crushes today are two of the ladies from the squad, Tina and Vania, who spoke with us about winning the competition, the work that goes into being an NFL cheerleader and why some teams don't have squads.
GuySpeed: Our first question, and one that everyone wants to know, is how you ended up winning the entire hottest cheerleader competition. Don't misunderstand us. You're all super hot and the Bengals do have devoted fans but these competitions always come become a 'popularity contest.' The Ben-Gals beat out teams that have a huge worldwide fan base.
Vania: We feel that it's because of the charity events and community events that the Ben-gals do. We're not sure about the other teams but about 90% of what we do involve meeting the fans and getting to know fans on a personal level. We have a great fan base for just the cheerleaders, not just the Bengals team.
Tina: We also have a lot of hometown pride here in Cincinnati. The Bengals were the underdogs in the playoffs last year just like we were the underdogs in the competition. People always want to see the underdogs win.
GuySpeed: The Ben-Gals were huge on getting the message out about the competition on social media accounts. Do you think they gave you an edge?
Tina: I think reaching out to fans using social media is very important. We can't always say hello to every fan so we build a relationship on Twitter or Facebook fan pages.
GuySpeed: We caught you right before practice, so are you already practicing for next season? It's only March.
Vania: It's not required to practice all year long but Tina and I have been practicing for about a month. We just want to stay in shape, practice the dances and routines and prepare for tryouts. Each yeah, our spot is never secure. New, great talent shows up every year so we've got to stay on top of our game. Our tryouts are in May, we start practice in June until the season starts. We have maybe a month off the entire year.
GuySpeed: So you've got to tryout every year. That seems like a lot of pressure.
Tina: It is a lot of pressure but in different ways. Last year, we were rookies so the pressure was to do well and now we're on the team and the pressure is to stay on the team because if we didn't make the squad we know what we'd be missing. You've got a lot to lose.
GuySpeed: What's the longest a woman has ever been on the team?
Vania: We just lost our captain of four years last year and she cheered for nine years. She retired last season.
GuySpeed: Did you happen to catch the story a couple months ago about the 55-year-old woman that tried out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders?
Tina: Well, we do have the NFL's oldest cheerleader right now, who is in her 40's.
GuySpeed: It's no shock to say it's a physical strain, is there a time in your minds when you know you'll stop or will you just take it year by year?
Vania: I think I'll keep doing it as long as it's fun. If the physical or time constraints become too much I'll consider that too but as long as it's fun, I'll keep going.
Tina: The only thing that would stop me is babies. I don't think anyone would want to see a pregnant cheerleader.
GuySpeed: Oh, we don't know, have you been on the internet lately? People have so very specific tastes. Speaking of kids, would you ever let your daughter pursue a career as an NFL cheerleader?
Tina: Definitely. It's more about the charity work though. Sure, the cheering is great, but I'd love my child to be so involved in the community like we are as Ben-Gals.
GuySpeed: Why don't all the teams have cheerleaders?
Vania: We're not sure, we wonder that as well, but then again who would want to cheer for the Browns anyway?