Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Patriots Cheerleaders Return from Punta Cana! 

Posted by Sasha at 6:02 PM ET

On April 29th the Patriots Cheerleaders set off to Punta Cana to shoot their 2008 swimsuit calendar. Hosted by TNT Vacations, an incredible fan-come along package was created. TNT Vacations offered the opportunity of a lifetime to die-hard Pats fans (and cheerleader fans)... and anyone else hoping to enjoy a wonderful trip to a tropical paradise.

On April 29th the Patriots Cheerleaders set off to Punta Cana to shoot their 2008 swimsuit calendar. Hosted by TNT Vacations, an incredible fan-come along package was created. TNT Vacations offered the opportunity of a lifetime to die-hard Pats fans (and cheerleader fans)... and anyone else hoping to enjoy a wonderful trip to a tropical paradise. The package included the chance to travel with all 24 members of the Patriots Cheerleading Squad to Punta Cana to view individual photo shoots, participate in beach volleyball and pool Olympics events with the cheerleaders, enjoy dinner and cocktail parties on the beach, and overall, to have an exciting yet relaxing week.

Destination: Punta Cana! Punta Cana is a region located on the easternmost coast of the Dominican Republic, a country located on an island in the Caribbean Sea. The Majestic Colonial Punta Cana was the elegant resort that was home to the cheerleaders and TNT Vacations guests for the week.

We arrived at the Logan Airport in the early morning of April 29th to meet and greet our fans with whom we were traveling. After we were all checked in, we spent an couple of hours socializing with and signing autographs for our fans. We boarded the plane and after about a four-hour flight, we eagerly emerged into the warm Caribbean sun! What a welcomed change from the chilly New England weather! A short bus ride later, we finally arrived at the Majestic Colonial Punta Cana. It was breathtakingly beautiful with palm trees, long winding pools, and a beach with sand as white as snow and turquoise water. The hotel staff members even formed a tunnel for us to walk through, and they even performed a dance routine for us, complete with pom poms! What a warm welcome we received!!!

Almost as soon as we arrived it was time to start shooting the calendar. Our crew from Kraft Sports Productions; Gareth, Sam, Leo, Lance and Clint, had their video cameras and boom mics ready to go, capturing footage for “Poms to Palms II. Amy DePerrior set up her makeup table full of shadows, lipsticks and mascara, and prepared to work her magic. Joanna Makowski of Dellaria Salons got her hair appliances, sprays, brushes, mousses and gels lined up and ready to go. Lindsay Dallman, Tracy’s assistant, had her notes thoroughly organized, prepared to manage the schedule for the week. Jim Stouffer and Brad Thompson, our two incredibly talented photographers, had their cameras, reflectors and flashes ready to go. Everything was in place.

That evening, two photo shoots took place inside the hotel lobby. Carrie was the first cheerleader to be photographed. She looked striking, posed in front of a large metal pineapple statue with the contrast of her green bathing suit and the red highlights in her hair. Due to a very public location of the shoot, Carrie gathered quite the crowd, but it didn’t phase her ability to strike a killer pose. Leah went after Carrie, and though she is a rookie, she handled herself as if she had been doing calendar shoots for years. Her black and gold bathing suit was a big hit with everyone who watched the shoot. By the time she was done it was almost midnight and time for everyone to go to bed because Monday was going to be an early and long day.

At sunrise on Monday, Jessica arrived at the beach in a black bathing suit ready to do our first outdoor shoot. Though everyone was tired from the long day before, it was worth it because Jessica looked breathtaking in the early morning light! After Jessica’s shoot wrapped, it was Dinna’s turn. In a leopard two-piece bikini, she stood in front of some greenery to compliment the jungle theme of the bathing suit.

Next was Alyssa. In a white bathing suit with multi-colored accents, Alyssa stepped up her game this year. She worked the camera like a professional model, even using a straw cowboy hat as a prop. When Alyssa’s shoot was finished around 11:00 a.m. it was time for everyone to take a much-needed break from shooting.

From the time of their arrival, cheerleaders began filming interviews with the Patriots’ video crew. This was a time for not just their good looks to shine, but their personalities to be displayed as well. One noteworthy clip was of both Meghan’s doing a duet of Justin Timberlake’s “Senorita.” Though they didn’t sound as good as he does, they had a blast filming their dual interview.

At around 4:00 p.m., it was time for Julie’s shoot. Everyone moved from the beach to the pool to watch Julie’s debut calendar shoot. She looked great in her own multi-colored swimsuit that complimented her bright green eyes. At 6:00 p.m., just in time for sunset, Quinn had her photo shoot on the beach. The combination of her blond hair, blue eyes and hunter green bathing suit made for stunning pictures. Despite large crowds and being covered in sand, there were no distractions for Quinn. Simply put, she’s a natural in front of the camera.

During the end of Quinn’s shoot and into the evening, the rest of the squad went to the disco at the hotel for a cocktail party. We all had a great time getting to know the guests of the hotel, especially the Patriots fans who had traveled all of the way from Boston with us! Throughout the trip, all of the girls made an effort to practice their Spanish with the hotel employees, but Dinna left a lasting impression on everyone there with her ability to converse in their native tongue. Dinna actually speaks three languages fluently! After a quick squad meeting to discuss the next day’s events, everyone went to bed.

The following morning at 8:30, Stacey was the first to shoot. She stood in one of the outdoor showers at the resort. She wore a yellow bathing suit that stood out nicely against the royal blue tiles of the shower. Though standing in cold water the entire time, Stacey handled it like the three-year veteran that she is and flashed her beautiful smile the entire time. Alysha followed Stacey. Her hair and makeup was done to make her natural beauty shine and she wore a white bikini with silver studs. She was photographed on the beach with the sun at it’s brightest and her biggest challenge was looking into the bright sun without squinting. But in her typical fashion, Alysha easily took stunning pictures.

Next was Briana who was at her most glamorous in a gold bikini with gold sequins. She posed in front of a palm tree located on an island in the middle of the pool. Despite the fact, as usual, that she and Tracy spent the entire time joking with each other, she took some brilliant photos.

After a short lunch break, the camera crew moved from the pool to where the windsurfers were located on the beach to photograph Lindsay Bloom. Lindsay wore a bright red bathing suit that nicely complimented the tan on which she had been working since we got to Punta Cana.

At the same time as Lindsay’s shoot some of other cheerleaders hosted a game of beach volleyball. It’s a good thing the cheerleaders can dance, because many are not very good at volleyball! In order to keep the game interesting with points being earned on both sides of the net, the cheerleaders had about 15 participants on their side, with the opposing team had only about 6. Hey...whatever it takes to win, right???

Once Lindsay’s shoot wrapped, it was on to Crystal who wasn’t far away on a sailboat that had been set up on the beach. Crystal looked magnificent in a fuchsia one-piece that worked well with the bright colors of the sails. Though it was tricky at times for her to balance herself on the boat, she finished her photo session without a hitch.

Following a short rainstorm, it was time for Meg to do the first outdoor, night-time photo shoot. Standing by the pool with tiki torches lit all around, Meg actually glowed in the moonlight in a bright blue bathing suit. She didn’t let the weather delay rattle her confidence.

During Meg’s shoot, the Majestic Colonial Punta Cana and TNT Vacations hosted an amazing dinner on the beach. The hotel staff spent the entire afternoon preparing for the dinner. They set up multi-colored lights, a stage, tables, chairs, a sound system – even a fog machine, and they prepared delicious food to please all of the cheerleaders and the TNT Vacations guests. After a delicious dinner, the cheerleaders danced the night away on the beach, and many of their fans and hotel guests joined in.

At 7:00 a.m. the next morning the photo crew was up again for Alicia’s shoot. She posed near a pathway on the grounds of the resort in front of a rock and purple flowers in a pink, sequined bathing suit. All of the contrasting bright colors and her shiny bathing suit gleamed in the bright sun. Lindsey’s photo shoot directly followed and she posed in front of a large green palm plant. Her statuesque figure made her look like a runway model. At around 10:30 a.m. it was back to the beach for Molly’s shoot. She wore a pink-frill trimmed two-piece with black and white flowers. Her look was both pretty and sporty, posing with a boogie board. She is a natural beauty. After Molly, it was back to the pathway through the resort, to shoot Danielle in between a pair of white columns. She looked like a goddess, posed in front of the pillars.

Meanwhile, in the midst of Danielle’s photo shoot, many of the girls were participating in a Beach Olympics event. They participated in everything from swim races to tug of war events. Their athletic ability shined through at this event. They were all up for the challenge (I think trying to redeem themselves after their volleyball performance! Ha) Everyone had a blast getting a little exercise on the beach and the fans were really into the events as well.

Next, Corie Mae perched herself on rail next to a hut and had her picture taken. She looked very tropical in a pink two-piece with white flowers. Her shoot had a very casual, laid-back feel. Corie Mae looks like the “girl next door”. Last for the day was Cortney, who like Corie Mae, looked very relaxed in a soft pastel bikini with sequins and a tropical pattern. Cortney posed on a massage table inside of a small hut on the beach.

On Wednesday evening, after all of the shoots were finished, there was a full squad practice. It was held indoors in a banquet hall in prep for the variety show that the cheerleaders would be hosting and starring in the following evening. After practice, some of the cheerleaders went out to dinner, while others ate quickly and relaxed in their hotel rooms.

Early Thursday morning the crew was up again by dawn again to shoot Meghan on the beach while the sun rose. She looked absolutely stunning in her bikini which was chocolate brown with a turquoise geometric pattern. She was very excited to be on the beach after having shot indoors the previous two years!

Right after Meghan was finished, the crew moved to a ledge in the pool with a beautiful white fountain behind it for Angela’s shoot. She wore a polka dot bikini top with shot in two different sets of bottoms. She looked great in both, so it will be interesting to see which ones will end up in the calendar!

Later on that day the photographers set up outside a gift shop that sold wooden art for Tanya’s shoot. She stood posed inside of the shop in a green and gold bikini that offered a vibrant color contrast to wooden artwork. After the photographers were finished with Tanya, it was back to the beach for Angela L’s photo session. Angela wore a black and white bikini and had very natural make up and hair. She was photographed under a straw hut and used a white scarf as a prop. Hers was the last of Thursday’s shoots.

That evening the entire squad put on a variety show on the patio by the pool. The cheerleaders performed several dance routines. In between, they selected two audience members to answer football trivia questions, show us their best dance moves and even play the air guitar and do a hula dance! Both audience members, and one other very knowledgeable football fan in the audience, were presented a 2007 Patriots Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar. Once the show was finished, the squad autographed posters and conversed with the audience members. This was the cheerleaders’ first public appearance together, and they had a blast!

That night the photographers, video crew, hair and makeup artist and all 24 cheerleaders had dinner at the fanciest restaurant at the hotel to celebrate the success of the week. It was a great time for everyone to dine on wonderful food and relax before the very last shoot the following day.

Early Friday morning, Sandra was ready in her pink bikini on the beach in front of a palm tree. She was very excited for her shoot, as she had waited patiently all week for it to come. She had spent much of the week working on a paper for one of the classes she attends at Babson College.

After she was done, the entire squad took a group picture on one of the sets of steps in the pool. We were sad to see our photographers, Brad and Jim go. They are so incredibly talented and professional, and at the same time they are o fun to work with. Later that same morning, everyone gathered in the lobby to send off Alyssa. A Mechanical Engineer major, she left two days early to be home in time for her college graduation from Northeastern University.

On Friday afternoon, the squad hosted another beach volleyball game, and this one was even better than the first. TNT vacationers and random fans on the beach joined the cheerleaders and everyone had a great time. That evening, the entire squad went out for Mexican food and then danced the night away in the disco. It was a late night for many because everyone could finally relax and no one had to be up early the next day.

On Saturday, the cheerleaders went snorkeling. It was really exciting to see different types of sea creatures up close, as many of the cheerleaders had never been snorkeling before. The cheerleaders also went on a few exciting rides on a banana boat and learned that it’s much easier to fall off a banana boat than it is to stay on. The entire day was spent by everyone doing anything they wanted to do, whether it was taking a picture with the hotel monkey and parrot or taking a carefree nap in the sun.

On Sunday morning, it was time to say goodbye! As the bus pulled away from the hotel we were all a little down that such a fun trip had come to an end. Ralph, Linda Josef Maria and Ricardo of the Majestic Colonial Punta Cana had shown us such wonderful hospitality. We were going to miss them. They were wonderful to work with. We met so many amazing fans and we are so thankful for all of the support we received on the trip.

Thanks to TNT Vacations for partnering with the Patriots Cheerleaders on our 2008 Swimsuit Calendar shoot. They created a trip that the cheerleaders, and all of the fans who participated, will never forget. We are eagerly anticipating seeing the finished piece. We all predict that the 2008 New England Patriots Swimsuit Calendar will be the best one ever!

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