We all have our favorite Reality TV show that we get excited for each week to see what new conversations, events, and juicy drama happened while we were away for the week… But what really happens beyond the hour we see weekly?
Kalyssa Alynn, a former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and current model as well as uprising actress, was able to sit down with us and give us insight into her experience about “Making the Team: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Season 12” Reality TV show.
The Show “Making the Team: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” takes us through a 13-week heart-pulsing tryout experience where hundreds of beautiful, physically fit, extremely talented, and brightly trained hopeful candidates compete to make one of the 36 hard earned spots on the best professional dance squad many girls dream of making. Since many of the Cheerleaders from previous years return year after year, there are likely only a few new open spots each year for Rookies to fill which makes the competition even more fierce.
Kalyssa came into the Preliminaries tryouts with high confidence and well-preparation considering she had been a NBA Oklahoma City Thunder Cheerleader for the previous 2 years which already gave her experience in public speaking and dance performance: two of the many vital qualities required to make the Squad. She knew it was time to go for the Gold Standard by joining the most famous and worldly-known Cheerleading Squad in the World: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. It wasn’t enough that Kalyssa only wanted to be on the Squad, she also wanted to be a part of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Show Group. The DCC Show Group showcases the advanced dance techniques and vocal skills of an elite group of 12 Cheerleaders in a fully choregraphed musical variety extravaganza where these selected Cheerleaders do extra performances and appearances in addition to their normal shows and Game Days. The entire show features elaborately costumed and carefully staged production numbers filled with singing and dancing for every taste–from Classical to Country to good ol’ Rock-n-Roll.
“Making the Team: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” Show is unique because the Producers do not have a say in the selection of who makes the Cheerleading Squad or determine the events of the day, but they definitely have the ears and respect of the 2 ladies that run and make the hand selections of the team. Since the crew filmed a great amount most days through the process and had production staff everywhere around the training facility, they although could influence the way each of the candidates were portrayed to the public and management. Kalyssa explained that this became a very exhausting and challenging process because not only are you trying to focus on what you need to do to make the Cheerleading Squad but the show Producers are contacting you and setting up extra individual filming time trying to get an inside scoop on your background story, feelings, personal struggles, and successes that you have along the way.
As the Preliminary round started, which would last for the first 3 weeks of the tryout process, the 500+ Hopefuls are narrowed down to 50 that will make Training Camp. As Kalyssa would start her day at 6am to mentally and physically prepare herself, each candidate would be responsible for their own hair, makeup, and outfit that would impress the judges. Many girls hired a professional to do their hair and makeup to make sure that it looked as glamorous and beautiful as possible. Because of Kalyssa’s previous experience as a NBA Cheerleader, she knew how to fix her own hair and makeup thousands of times before and knew exactly what look was going to make that lasting impression for the judges. Once the day started, she would arrive at AT&T Stadium and each girl would receive their individual number to attach to their glittery rhinestoned outfits. Kalyssa then was responsible for stretching on her own, preparing her own thoughts, and rehearsing the routine that would be performed in small groups for the judges. As you looked around the room every girl had the same smile on their face, but it was apparent that it was hiding the nervous and unsure feeling about the outcome. You didn’t want to get too close in friendships to anyone at the beginning because you didn’t know who you would be saying goodbye to at the end of it. This was a closed-to-public tryout, so each girl became their own fan and in sank the self-motivation… Many of the candidates quickly felt the pressure and folded with tears or dropped out, but Kalyssa didn’t let those around her influence what she knew and felt: She was meant to make this Team. The actual performance and tryouts lasted a majority of each day, especially with the TV crew requesting interviews and extra footage. You would never know when a producer would pull you aside to ask some questions, so you had to be ready for anything. “I always was aware of where the cameras were and made sure a smile was stuck to my face and just enjoying every moment… I never wanted to show a moment of frenzy or weakness.” Kalyssa, a published model, explained to us her secret of how she learned to have that sexy and gorgeous look in every photo. “I would look back at photos of myself when I first began my Professional Dance Career for the NBA and I studied both the angles of my face and facial expressions, then would practice in the mirror so when it came to any moment being in front of a camera I wasn’t overthinking what my face and body were doing, but just purely enjoyed performing for others and myself.”
Kalyssa was chosen to advance to Training Camp, along with 49 of the most beautiful, talented, and well-rounded women in the World. As Training Camp kicks off, the competition accelerates and the Producers begin to require more clips and video footage as the Reality TV show digs deeper into the stories and personalities of each potential team member. Training Camp lasted June, July, and the beginning of August which coincided with the start of the NFL Football Season and the announcement of the final Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Squad. The typical Training Camp day would start in the early afternoon and many nights the candidates wouldn’t go home until about 2am. Between learning choreography, dancing, interviews, extra TV footage, team meetings, and private meetings with the coaches, it made for extremely long and exhausting days. This doesn’t even include what each individual candidate was responsible for in their daily life, for example, some had personal workouts and a separate full time job to juggle all at the same time during this process. The Producers would schedule weekend calls and appointments for interviews so they could get sound bites and footage to use on the show, so many days during the summer training the girls would need to have full hair and makeup done to be ready for those moments.
Kalyssa explained that she wouldn’t have changed anything about the TV experience. The show promoted Kalyssa as a typical “America’s Sweetheart”… She had the background of being from a small Oklahoma town, blonde hair, blue eyes, tan skin, electric smile, sexy dance moves, spoke eloquently, and even had that Southern drawl in her voice. “The show always treated me with respect and even respected my family as I was going through some family challenges, and even filmed a special tribute for my family.” Kalyssa made the 2017-2018 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Squad and even was selected for the Show Group. She made such an amazing impression, that they filmed a special 3D Motion Display that was played during games in AT&T Stadium on the huge individual displays and was only done for a small amount of the Cheerleaders. The Reality TV show experience is hardwork and in some instances intimidating because the Producers have control of how you’re seen to the public throughout the Series, but overall it is a well-worth experience that makes you feel unique and special as not many can say they were a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
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