Saturday, November 22, 2008

Raiderettes Visit Mexico 

Posted by Sasha at 10:44 AM ET

November 21, 2008

Recently, a group of six Raiderettes, along with Raiderette Director Karen Kovac, were invited to Mexico City, Mexico, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of a National Football League office. Alyssa, Jonni, Jennifer, Sarah, Alicia H., and Nicole M., spent the better part of a week mingling with high-ranking business executives, performing, appearing on television shows, signing autographs and posing for photographs.

Check out this chronicle of their experiences...

Tuesday, November 11

Hola Raider Nation! ¡Saludos desde México! Greetings from Mexico City! After a day of traveling we arrived in Mexico City yesterday evening. We had a final rehearsal and received our itinerary for the week. During our rehearsal we all instantly noticed the effects of the high altitude here in Mexico City. We were winded very quickly but should be acclimated to the altitude within a day or two. We are at over 6,000 feet in elevation. We were all exhausted from the day of travels and from arriving at the airport at 4:30 a.m. but woke today feeling ourselves again and ready to begin our adventure here in this amazing, huge city.

Our first “presentation” (they call our appearances and performances here presentations) was a brunch at the Hard Rock Café Mexico City. The brunch was with Microsoft executives and their key business partners. One thing we noticed right away was how friendly and open the people here are. After our brunch we visited three television shows. Most of us have never been to a television studio with the opportunity to be on set so, it was a once in life time opportunity. We appeared on two “lifestyle” shows called “¡Véngase Pa’ cá!” and “MoJo.” We were interviewed by the MC of each of the shows. We were asked about our lives as cheerleaders and a little about our personal lives as well. We performed at one of the shows, got to learn a famous Mexican cheer, and even met a famous Mexican singer. We were pretty nervous at first but were instantly put us at ease once we started.

In addition, we visited a reality TV show called “La Academia.” La Academia is about contestants living in a house together and competing for a music contract. It is the Real World meets American Idol. Every week one individual is eliminated from the house. There were 10 people still in the house when we arrived. We walked in and were a huge surprise to them. We had an amazing time meeting and talking with these incredibly talented individuals. We danced for them and they sang and performed for us. Somehow they even got us to sing as well. They soon realized why we are all dancers and not singers! Meeting the contestants at La Academia was, I would say, the highlight of our first day. It was inspiring to see how much dedication and passion they are putting into achieving their dream. After our performance we were extremely touched that they mentioned that we were able to inspire them as well! The energy and commitment that we put into each of our dance moves in our performance made them realize they needed to do the same in their performances. We left feeling both touched and excited for each of them as they continue on in their competition.

The funniest thing that we did during the day was film commercials for the NFL games to be airing in the future. We had to say phrases like, “We will be taking over your television this Sunday!” but, we had to say them in Spanish!! About 100 takes later, after many bloopers and tons of laughing, we finally were able to speak the phrases correctly.

Wow! What a whirlwind of a day! I can’t wait to see what adventures we will face tomorrow and to bring a touch of the Raider Nation to more and more people in this country.

Alicia H.
Wednesday, November 12

Today is our second day here in Mexico City and after reviewing our itinerary we all knew it was going to be a productive and eventful day.

We started off at 8:00 a.m. with a breakfast at the Hard Rock Café restaurant, meeting with executives from Microsoft and Microsoft partners. After a nice breakfast and some photo opportunities we were driven to the headquarters for Proctor & Gamble, based in Mexico City.

We drove through Santa Fe, a beautiful, newly-developed portion of the city to reach our destination. Once we arrived, we invited the employees to join us in the courtyard, where we would be performing, signing autographs and posing for pictures. There were also several games set up, involving throwing a football, kicking and running drills. The employees all seemed to have a great time playing the games, but before long, they all had to head back to their offices. We then headed to a different section of the campus and participated in a photo shoot for Old Spice. I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

Then it was lunchtime…we headed for a beautiful restaurant close to the Proctor & Gamble headquarters. What we didn’t realize about Mexico is that they typically eat lunch a bit later, around 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and it is their largest meal of the day. Many people take a leisurely two-hour lunch, relaxing, eating, and enjoying each other’s company, and that’s exactly what we did.

After lunch we drove to the headquarters for Maxim magazine in Mexico. We took part in a fun photo shoot and an interview. We’ll be featured in the January issue.

And just when you thought the day was done, one more event awaited us. Reebok was holding a fashion show for their new line of young men and women’s football attire for both NFL and American college football teams. We were the entertainment for the show, while the models were doing some quick changes in the wings. After our performance we were able to sit in the audience and watch the remainder of the fashion show.

We headed back to the hotel for the evening, ready for another action packed day!

Thursday, November 13

After an early Thursday morning breakfast, we began our day en route at 10:45 a.m. to visit Universidad del Valle de Mexico to perform as the guests of honor at the NFL Reebok Fashion Show Parade. Unlike the day before, our performance space was a little challenging to work with because the stage was shaped in a 'T.' Fifteen minutes prior to the Parade’s start, we changed all of our formations to stand in a straight line during all of our routines. The crowd was so enthusiastic to have us there and they were such a delight to perform for. Shortly thereafter, we had the opportunity to meet with the University’s cheerleaders, followed by a couple of short media interviews. By this time in the trip our Spanish was starting to become much more fluent and was making the media appearances pure comedy!

To our surprise, we received a little taste of home when NFL Mexico hosted a lunch at Chilli’s Grill & Bar! The food was just as good if not better than what we eat in America, Jennifer’s steak was delicious…mmmm! In addition, we were accompanied by the NFL Reebok Models that we had done the Parade with. We had so much to share with them and so much more to listen to.

At 4:00 p.m. we arrived at the ITESM Campus Ciudad de Mexico to perform at our last NFL Reebok Fashion Parade. This campus was architecturally so beautifully built and offered us a great representation of one of Mexico’s finest campuses. After our performance we met comedian Chevo, who offered us many laughs as he entertained the crowd.

Shortly thereafter, we appeared at Suburbia Department Store to do four performances. Chevo also joined us as well and continued to entertain the crowd with our help in audience participation. In addition, we signed autographs and took pictures with fans. The person sitting at the beginning of the table received a lesson in Spanish name spelling. Simple names like Angel and Joshua would have different pronunciations that would make spelling a bit more difficult! This would be the first of several appearances we would do at Suburbia over the next couple days.

We had the opportunity to meet several fans and learn so much more about the Mexican culture. They were by far some of my favorite events because we would have the opportunity to meet some of the most faithful Raider fans that lived in Mexico City. One of which brought a helmet that was signed by former Raiderettes whom had visited five years prior. It was such an honor to be back and representing the Raiders organization in such a beautiful country where the fans absolutely love the Raider Nation!

Friday, November 14

This week has gone by so quickly; I can’t believe it’s already Friday! So far, we’ve had late nights and early mornings, but we got a little bit of a break with a 10:30 a.m. start time today. Before we headed down to meet our NFL staff, Victor and Mario (whom we love!), we toured the hotel buffet and I was in food heaven! There was everything you could possibly imagine from an egg chef to gourmet desserts, fresh fruits, artisan cheeses, every kind of bread/pastry under the sky, beans, tortillas, and a juice buffet to die for!

After our lavish breakfast, we got ready for our first event of the day: a photo shoot for the nfl.com/mx website. For the first round of photos, we wore our cat suits, which was the only time this week we appeared in attire other than our official Raiderette uniforms. That was nice because it gives the public a chance to recognize us in various costumes and shows the diversity of the Raiderette look.

Immediately following the photo shoot, we were originally scheduled for an interview with a local newspaper, but that event got cancelled, opening up a five- hour gap between this and our next event. With our best interests in mind, Karen, Victor, and Mario took us shopping at the local markets to test our bargaining skills, where we all came back with trinkets of gifts, all for a great price!

The most interesting part of our days was the drive to and from our different events. Mexico City is full of town squares and monuments that exemplify the rich traditions, artistic culture, and roots of the city. Every drive we took, we saw monument after monument, castles, state parks, cathedrals, and museums—all in their original states, yet surrounded by modern architecture and what you would envision the most populated city of the country to look like: condensed.

Our promotions at Suburbia have been the same at each location: perform two numbers, then an autograph session, followed by another two performances. Today, we appeared at two different stores. Each time, we engaged the crowd to dance, cheer, and model Raider gear, and every time, we always had the best volunteers who helped entertain the crowd. My favorite ones were the kids—each was so charismatic and had a love for the stage; just like us!

We had a long and eventful day, so it was only proper to reward ourselves with some good, authentic Mexican tacos! Victor and Mario took us to this quaint restaurant by our hotel for dinner, and again, I was in food heaven! With our tummies and tomorrow’s schedule full, I’m off to bed! Thanks for reading Raider fans!

Nicole M.
Saturday, November 15

The weather started off a bit chilly this morning - we've been so spoiled with all the warm weather this past week that it took us a bit by surprise. We left the hotel at 10:30 for the ITESM Campus Lago de Guadalupe to perform at the beginning of their college football game. The NFL Mexico staff warned us that there would be quite a crowd at the game, and asked if we were okay with that; we reminded them that we were used to performing for 60,000-plus fans so their crowd would be like home for us. When we arrived we were reunited with our Old Spice amigas and also with the models from the Reebok fashion show. By the time we were ready to go on, the weather had warmed up, and we were excited to be back on an actual football field. We performed two numbers back-to- back, and soon after were quickly whisked away by our security guys Victor and Mario to our next location.

Our last two events that were on our schedule were mall appearances. The first was at Plaza Oriente, and the second was at Suburbia Villa Coapa. Carlos the comedian did a brilliant job hosting once again. We performed two dances followed by an autograph signing and audience participation for prizes. Carlos had Raider fans name as many players as they could think of, shoppers taught us a traditional Mexican cheer as well as some traditional Mexican dances, and I danced with a 8-year-old named Angel who asked me if I would be his third girlfriend! The mall appearances have been a blast and with each one, our Spanish speaking skills have been improving! To close the show we performed two more dances, and after a few more pictures we were en route back to the hotel.

Victor and Mario had planned to take us out to a fancy dinner in honor of our last night in Mexico City. When we got to the Presidente Hotel we had about an hour and a half to get ready. We went to a restaurant called Villa Maria which was absolutely gorgeous inside. It was two levels with beautiful winding staircases at the back of the restaurant, and the ceiling was covered with giant, brightly colored piñatas. The food was outstanding; we could not get enough authentic Mexican food on the trip! While we were waiting for our dessert to arrive, a Mariachi band came to our table. They performed four songs for us, one of which we all got up and danced with them as well as Victor and Mario! They also did a version of La Bamba which we all sang and clapped along to, and Alicia was serenaded by one of the band members - ¡muy romántico! We made sure to take some pictures with the band, and after dessert we went back to the hotel to try to get some sleep before sightseeing. All in all an amazing evening, and a fantastic grand finale to our busy trip.

Sunday, November 16

¡Buenos Días! It’s the last day in Mexico City for the 2008 Raiderettes. So far the week has been more than amazing. Who could ask for a better trip? Though the food has been delicious, it was the promoting of NFL Mexico and Raiders that has been most importante! We Raiderettes have seen it all. From Brazilian models and Reebok fashion, to gift city markets. But being our last day in Mexico, we got to see some of the most amazing monuments in Mexico, and even maybe the world.

With our security Papa Victor and Mario, all seven of us ventured through Mexico City. That was of course after we got our coffee and packed up the van with our suitcases and other belongings. Anyways, the tour...it was just jaw-dropping. The most famous monument we got to see was the Angel. It is a large statue. Try thinking Statue of Liberty right in the middle of your very own downtown. It represents freedom in the State of Mexico, It has words on the actual monument reading, "Peace, War, and Freedom." We took lots of pictures to take home. Everywhere we went it as a photo op.

Every month is a different topic of artwork in the streets. This month's theme was disabilities. It showed people with disabilities doing everyday, normal things. It was colorful and vivid. We all really enjoyed that. Passing through the streets, there were also benches made by different artists. A bench for any mood. We took a picture with bright fire engine red one.

The last place we ventured to was a church. Well, actually two churches. The main one was filled with support bars because it could barely stand on its own. It was filled with people...kids, husbands, wives, Raiderettes. You name it, people were there. It was Sunday of course so I wouldn’t have expected less. There were flowers covering the whole inside. Fresh flowers at that. It smelled so wonderful. There was no flash photography inside, so we took the best photos we could. Outside of the church was a huge statue of the Pope. It was actually made of house keys. At the time we were there it also happened to be the time people were coming for their Sunday Mass. We all participated in that as well. After all that sight-seeing we had to head to the airport. It was a bittersweet moment. Of course we were excited to go home to our loved ones, but we were sad to leave our loved ones we had met on the trip. Papa Victor and Mario. That was the hardest part of all. We had gotten so connected and emotionally attached. They were like our dads of some sort. Those final goodbyes were tear-jerking. We sang them our song we had learned and they smiled the whole time. They probably thought, “Who are these girls?” Crying all over the place. But they hugged us and we waved goodbye as we stepped onto the plane. Back to good old Oakland. Back to regular life. No more body guards waiting for us, getting us tacos.

Leaving Mexico like I said was bittersweet. It had to have been the best trip I had ever been on. It was a lot of work but I wouldn’t have trade it for the world. ¡Que Vivan los Raiders en México!

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