Friday, February 15, 2008
Meghan at SportsIllustrated.com
When sports fans think of spring, they imagine baseball players flocking to Florida, college basketball players prepping for March Madness, and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. For the 2008 issue, SI featured 12 cheerleaders from around the NFL, including Patriots Cheerleader Meghan White.
We talked to the New Hampshire native about her experience with an SI shoot, the opportunities that come with being an NFL Cheerleader, and her experiences at this year’s Super Bowl.
Boston Daily: How did you get involved with the Patriots?
Meghan White: I auditioned for the Patriots two years ago during an open audition. I’ve been a dancer my entire life, and I kind of wanted to expand on my performing that I love to do. I had known girls who’d been on the team before, heard all the stories and opportunities they’ve had from being on the team, and I just wanted to check it out.
BD: What opportunities come from being a cheerleader?
MW: There’s a lot more that goes into it than showing up on Sundays and cheering during the game. I had an incredible year. I was fortunate enough to have traveled to China last summer with seven of my teammates. We went to promote American football and increase awareness and interest in the sport among people who live there. I’d never been to Asia before and it was neat to experience that whole culture and share it with my teammates. This past November, we went over Thanksgiving for two weeks to support our troops and boost morale during the holiday season because it can be a lonely time. We wanted to bring a piece of home to them.
And the Super Bowl was obviously another opportunity where we got to travel with the team and the organization.
BD: Was it hard to cheer at the end of the game?
MW: It was very emotional for all of us. It was an unexpected loss. We went in there with all the confidence in the world, especially going 18 and 0 for the season. But we’re trained to still be cheerleaders and keep a smile on our face and be proud of the job the players did on the field.
BD: Did you see the players’ reaction?
MW: We did. We let them exit the field first. We saw them going off the field and you could see the disappointment in their eyes. But we just tried to keep a smile on our face and show them we still support them. We’re proud and happy to represent them. But the disappointment was evident.
BD: How long will you be with the Patriots? Is there a time limit?
MW: Every organization has its own rules. With the Patriots, we have a three year cap. I’m in my second season, going on my third season so this upcoming season will be my last.
BD: Are you sad to see it go, or are you happy to be moving on?
MW: It’s a little bit of both, to be honest. For one, I’m a student and I’m getting my education. I want to use my degree and look forward to starting the working lifestyle. Although I am going to miss this very much. The opportunities that come with it are once in a lifetime and aren’t to be taken lightly.
BD: What are you majoring in?
MW: I’m a communications major at the University of New Hampshire with an English minor.
BD: You left me a message earlier, and you called the Sports Illustrated shoot “an ordeal.”
MW: I wouldn’t say “ordeal” in a negative way. We did the shoot last June, so I’ve had to kind of wait around and keep it under wraps because we were the first ever NFL cheerleaders featured in their swimsuit edition. Sports Illustrated wanted to make it a big unveiling when they finally revealed the issue, so it was hush-hush. I was fortunate enough to be part of that and represent the Patriots. It was a 3-day shoot that I was part of and the unveiling was this past Tuesday.
BD: Was it a fun party?
MW: Yeah, it was unbelievable. I felt a little bit more experienced since I went to this type of party out in Arizona for the Super Bowl. We attended two parties where we all walked the red carpet as a group and did interviews. To share [the SI party] with the 11 other cheerleaders who represented their teams was nice. I enjoyed every minute.
BD: How did they select you for the shoot?
MW: I’m a little unsure. All I know is that I found out I had been asked to represent the Patriots in the 2008 swimsuit issue when I was flying home from the team’s 2008 calender shoot in Punta Cana. If you look at the issue you can see there’s a wide variety of the girls they chose so it’s a nice mix.
BD: What was the shoot itself like?
MW: A lot of people misunderstand modeling. They think it’s an easy gig, but it’s definitely not from what I’ve experienced. It was a 10 hour shoot in New York. It went by kind of slow because there were 12 girls, and we each had our own individual shoot, and then we took group shots. The photographer was amazing. He works with all the professionals and he knows what he’s doing. You have to put your trust with him and the editors at Sports Illustrated. I think it came out great.
Meghan at SportsIllustrated.com