Friday, May 11, 2007

Redskins Cheerleaders Calendar Trip Blog 

Posted by James at 3:56 PM ET

From Redskins.com
Monday, May 7

By Donald Wells

It's 3:30am, and the phone rings and rings again. I finally pick it up and hear a voice in Spanish telling me to wake up! I pop out of bed knowing that today is going to be extremely long--but will set the tone for the entire week.
Redskins Cheerleaders
I get to the make-up and hair room at 4am. It´s in the lower level of the Grand Oasis and on normal days it is a meeting room. However, with lights and mirrors, it's now a nine-person staff, super busy, top-of-the-line styling room.

All of the stylists from Robert Andrew Day Spa Salon and Out Skinz are working like crazy to get the first cheerleader out for her photo shoot.

This morning is an easy morning for us, with just photographer Richard Hume shooting all day. Stephanie and I get to work as a team on the set.

At 5:30am, eight-year veteran Kelley walks out onto the beach and waiting for her was our camera crew, TV crew, hair and make-up, photography staff, 30 of her fellow Cheerleaders and her biggest fan, her 6-year old son Ryan.

Kelley stands in the surf in a hand made swimsuit made out of a Redskins Jersey and t-shirt. The sun starts to burst over the horizon, lighting up the sky in a firework of colors.

With eight years on the squad, Kelley has the confidence and beauty to start off the 10th annual calendar in a way only she could. When it comes to the pictures only one word can truly express them: WOW!

Redskins Cheerleaders
Kelley from the 2005 Calendar Shoot

We finished off the morning with four other veterans. I would tell you about their photo shoot in more detail, but I don´t want to ruin the surprise. So, you will have to wait until July to see those girls...

From 11am to 1pm, we had our last run-through for our show that we will put on for all the hotel guests that night. I looked at my cell phone to see what time it was and figure out how long it would take me to get to my room and take a nap. Yes! One hour of sleep time. During the calendar shoot, the most important thing after getting the picture taken is getting sleep.

In the past nine years of shooting the calendar, I managed to get sick seven times and I've ended up in the hospital twice during the shoots. Let´s just say after being in a foreign hospital, you work extra hard to make sure you don´t go back.

At 2pm, eight more cheerleaders reported to hair and make-up. This time we started something unique to the Redskins--the body paint!

Redskins Cheerleaders
Jamilla from the 2006 Calendar Shoot

Cheerleader Jamilla will be wearing nothing but paint in the calendar this year. Body paint artist Michelle Raabe out-did herself and created nothing but pure art on each of the cheerleaders.

Later, we start in on some of the rookies. Up first is Eileen, who is in a bright green bikini and works the camera like a a veteran.

Stephanie and I can see them in the distance doing some really creative things with Heather.

Redskins Cheerleaders
Heather from the 2006 Calendar Shoot

The cheerleaders always come out and support their fellow teammates. They spend the day and evening running back and forth between sets. I love the sense of family that we have managed to build here over the years. The Cheerleaders are always supportive of each other in good times and bad.

At 7pm, we are finished for the day. Twelve Cheerleaders down and 30 more to go! I always keep a running tally of how many we have left.

By 9:30pm it was SHOW TIME! The hotel was packed with resort guests and our calendar staff. For the next hour, the Redskins Cheerleaders put on a show that was even better than we did at Draft Day a week ago. It's hard to believe that 17 of these Ladies have only been Cheerleaders for three weeks! It's bed time at 11pm I'll get four-and-a-half hours of sleep. Sleep? Who needs it?

More blog entries from the Redskins Cheerleaders Calendar trip here. (registration required)

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