Monday, September 22, 2008
19-year-old has gone from cruise ship to LP field
By Stacy Smith Segovia
September 21, 2008
Nineteen-year-old Brintley Clark has the best view in the house at Titans football games.
But she never gets to sit down.
The 2007 Clarksville High School graduate was selected — one of 31 women from a pool of 200 hopefuls — to be a Tennessee Titans cheerleader.
A superlative dancer during her years growing up in Clarksville, Brintley was featured in The Leaf-Chronicle last year for her unusual post-graduation plans. In July 2007, she reported for duty at Royal Caribbean cruise ship in Port Canaveral, Fla. Through March 2008, she lived aboard the cruise ship, dancing in elaborate Broadway-style shows for tens of thousands of passengers.
Brintley said the shipboard experience taught her many lessons. The first was just how small a space she can live in.
"It was the smallest thing I've ever seen in my entire life," Brintley says about her cabin. "Words could not describe the size of that room. You literally had to see it to believe it."
Brintley's mother, Monica Clark, visited her daughter at the ship with her husband, Dwayne Clark, at Christmas. She didn't pack well, considering the size of Brintley's room.
"I carried her (Christmas) stocking," Monica says. "I carried a tree that lights up."
Brintley's room in the crew's quarters of the massive ship was only as wide as her bunk bed, Monica says. And she shared the walk-in-closet-sized room with another person.
That, expensive telephone bills, strict rules and little privacy were really the only drawbacks of the job. Brintley had no living expenses or food cost aboard the ship, and because she performed shows at night, she was able to explore Caribbean islands during the day.
"The islands are really beautiful," Brintley says. "Going to the different beaches was really fun."
Brintley's ship had an ice skating rink on board and several grand restaurants. She opened and closed each week's cruise with a parade for the passengers, dressed in wild costumes such as a pink mermaid outfit and a jester costume that had several faces.
For her regular shipboard shows, Pure Energy and Front Row, Brintley had endless costume changes, sometimes tossing wigs and dresses as she ran through a 10-second quick change. Despite a lifetime of dance experience, Brintley didn't consider the effect of a moving stage on her performance.
"It was very challenging to dance on a moving cruise ship in 3-inch heels," she says.
To the sidelines
Although her work as a Titans cheerleader doesn't require so many costume changes, there are many rules involved. A Planters Bank teller by day, Brintley must also wear business attire when she leaves the stadium after Titans games. She is only allowed to identify her 30 fellow cheerleaders by first name only, for safety reasons.
"When we leave the games, we have to be escorted," she says. "We have to walk at least two at a time."
Restrictions on wardrobe, hair, makeup and weight were part of her job on the cruise ship, and remain so in her new role as a Titans cheerleader.
"A lot of the rules are kind of the same," says Monica, who was blown away by all the restrictions for the cruise job and the rigorous month-long tryout process for the cheerleader position. "There's a lot more to it than we thought."