Thursday, June 14, 2007
By Dessislava Yankova
Having danced longer than she can remember, Andi Smith just entered her third year as a Tennessee Titans Cheerleader.
“Actually, at Titans football games we don’t cheer — we dance,” the longtime Hendersonville resident said.
After 26 years of dancing, Smith is thrilled to start the football season as one of four team captains. But she said her job gives her the real sense of accomplishment while her family brings her the true sense of joy.
“What really amazes me about her is that she is a mom, a Titans Cheerleader and a real estate agent,” said Paula Mosley, team leader at Keller Williams Realty. “She is very good at keeping balance in her life.”
Taking a day at a time has helped Smith achieve this balance.
“I make a schedule in the mornings,” she said. “If something happens, I just try to make it work.”
“I feel happy, and I feel accomplished,” she said. “You only live once, so you might as well live life to the fullest.”
While still working as a real estate agent during the day, Smith also practices cheerleading four nights a week. And although she gets a small income for the latter, she does not consider it a job.
“It’s a hobby,” Smith said. “It’s a great organization and a good way to build friendships.”
In fact, developing social skills is one of the reasons Smith’s mother, Karen Sherrill, signed her up for tap ballet and jazz lessons at a Goodlettsville studio at the age of 3, the earliest she could start.
“I always loved dancing, and I thought that she might,” Sherrill said. “She loved it.”
Which is why Smith continued.
In junior high, she danced for Hawkins Middle School’s Golden Flash Dancers while still taking ballet and jazz lessons at the American Academy of Dance in Hendersonville.
Smith became a Hendersonville Golden Girl her freshman year in high school, where she served as captain her junior year and co-captain her senior year. Smith said she was asked to remain a captain but was busy preparing for college and wanted to let someone else have the experience.
Smith was accepted at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she majored in communications. She minored in dance with a concentration in modern dance and ballet.
After two years, she transferred to Middle Tennessee State University because of the school’s well-known communications program.
While at MTSU, Smith began her semi-professional career as a dancer for the Arena Football League’s Nashville Kats.
During her senior year, she moved to Los Angeles for an internship with the recording company Interscope Records.
“I wanted to get into the recording industry,” Smith said.
As a tour-marketing manager, she worked with various artists, including U2, Black Eyed Peas and Limp Bizkit.
Smith enjoyed the job, but living in West Hollywood was expensive, and she needed extra money.
Through a friend, she met a casting director and received some parts in commercials, sitcoms and movies. After completing her internship and getting her degree, she pursued acting full time.
Smith appeared in a Bud Light commercial, worked with Nicolas Cage in Matchstick Men, and was on That 70s Show, among others.
Even though she enjoyed acting, several months of intense work became too competitive and time-consuming.
“It’s a long road out there to be Reese Witherspoon or George Clooney,” she said.
Instead of traveling toward glitz and starlight, she instead headed back to Tennessee, married and had a child.
Smith got back in shape following her pregnancy, and she decided to try out for the Titans Cheerleading team.
“I just missed dancing and having that sense of accomplishment,” she said.
In 2005, she competed against 200 girls and, after three rounds, became one of 32 finalists.
The combination of experience in dance and entertainment, along with her appearance and education, won her a spot, said Stacie Kinder, the Titans director of Cheerleading.
“We only take the best dancers, the most intelligent women and those who are most beautiful inside and out,” Kinder said.
Smith said the fans are one of her favorite things about being a cheerleader.
“What makes us feel special are all the fans and their support,” she said. “They are so loyal.”
But dancing is not the only thing that makes Smith feel accomplished.
“When you close a deal (on a house), it’s a great feeling to know that you helped someone find what they wanted.”
Smith said what makes her feel best and gives her the biggest support is her family.
“They help out whenever I need them,” she said. “I love when we have a family dinner and spend quality time.”