After an amazing week in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl, I hopped on a plane and headed to Beijing, China. Thanks to the incredible NFL China and E2K, me and three of my fellow Pro Bowl Cheerleaders were able to take this exciting trip.
On our first day in Beijing our plans to do some touring were trumped by an opportunity that presented itself at breakfast. It turned out better than we could ever possibly have planned. Jack Brewer, a retired NFL player, invited us to a luncheon and summit meeting between a few organizations with similar goals and interests. Little did we know we were participating in a meeting that’s number one topic on the agenda was to expand American football and cheerleading into China. “Lunch” doesn’t start to describe the event. The gathering took place at a compound called the Peace Garden owned by a remarkable man named Dr. Li. We were honored guests at his one of his homes in the Peace Garden, along with Jack Brewer, several gentlemen representing other foundations, plus NFL players Reggie Bush and Akin Ayodele. We toured the garden and two of his homes which displayed many artifacts and memories.
The next day I was surprised to find out we were traveling to see the Great Wall of China! The portion we visited was in the Mutianyu mountain range, about an hour and a half outside of Beijing. Mutianyu translates to “green screen valley” because the valley below is very lush and beautiful in the springtime. That, of course, we didn’t witness, however we did have yet another unseasonably clear and sunny day—neither cloud nor smog ruined the views. After we ventured up and down the Great Wall we stopped at a local restaurant for lunch before heading home. We enjoyed classic cuisine such as fresh-caught rainbow trout, awesome vegetables, the best sweet-and-sour chicken, kale, and donkey. Um, yes, donkey! The Chinese consider donkey meat of higher quality than beef, though I would dare say you couldn’t tell the difference if they were prepared the same way.
After an amazing few days of media interviews and sightseeing adventures it was time to get down to business. The day we’d all been waiting for, Super Bowl Sunday! Celebrating the Super Bowl in Beijing was just as exciting as back home. The only difference is that we celebrated at 6:30 a.m. Monday morning. The over the top event was hosted by the Kerry Hotel who put on an incredible showing of food, drinks, football players and hundreds of NFL fans from around the world. During the party we had the chance to perform, sign autographs and get to know the most amazing people.
During our last few hours in Beijing we had the opportunity to do a little more sightseeing and shopping. We toured through Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven, learning about the history of China. It was incredible to say the least. Our final stop was the Silk Market, I was in awe of the beautiful handmade products and goods that were for sale.
To sum it up this was a trip of a life time that I will never forget. Thank you to all who made this possible!
The 2013 Miami Dolphins Swimsuit App is now available on the Android operating system, featuring images and videos from the 2013 swimsuit calendar shoot in Dominican Republic. The app can be purchased through Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.tv.medialab.mdcswimsuitcalendar.
On March 3rd, I was fortunate enough to participate in the annual “Walk with Us” to cure Lupus that was held at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.
This is a nationwide event that is held by the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR). The mission of the ALR is to raise awareness, find better treatments, and ultimately prevent and cure systemic lupus erythematosus, a debilitating autoimmune disease, by supporting medical research.
This walk was especially important to me because a dear family friend of mine currently suffers from lupus. It breaks my heart to know that there is still no cure to this awful disease. Doing my part by donating and participating in events such as this one helps me to feel content in knowing I’m doing all I can to help find the cure for my friend and all the others battling lupus as well.
Before the walk began, the cheerleaders and I were so excited to meet all of the other supporters that came out that morning. There was a pretty large crowd of people from all over South Florida including men, women, children and even their pups! Many of them designed their own “Walk with Us” t-shirts and entered in a contest to see who had the best design. Me and the other cheerleaders were able to be the judges. They all did such a wonderful job it was very difficult to choose a winner! Mingling with everyone and hearing their stories was so rewarding and humbling.
It was an amazing experience, and I even walked away with some delicious jumbo sized gummy bears! I will definitely return next year and I hope to see you there!
On January 20th, I made my journey to Hawaii for 10 days to volunteer in the 2013 Pro Bowl Youth Clinics. Two other NFL Cheerleaders, six football players and I made our way to six different Hawaiian islands, Hilo, Kona, Kauai, Lanai, Maui and Molokai.
Throughout my Hawaiian journey, we went to over 15 schools. At these schools, we were able to let the students know a little bit about each of our stories and mainly focused on encouraging them to stay active, do well in school, and to set big goals and achieve them. Each school was unique in its own way. Some greeted us with leis and others sang us Hawaiian songs that told different island stories. Aside from motivating the students, we also held football and cheerleading clinics. Our girls were so talented and grateful to have us visit them since they rarely get opportunities like these.
It was really such a humbling experience to have been part of such an incredible program. I will always remember my 10 amazing days in beautiful Hawaii.
Mahalo to everyone who made my journey so special!
Miami Dolphins All Access: Making the Calendar, presented by Bennett Auto Supply, is a one-hour TV special shot on location in the Dominican Republic. Go behind the scenes as 22 veteran cheerleaders embark on a trip to Punta Cana to shoot the hottest calendar in the NFL. Get to know the photographers and crew, as well as five of your favorite Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders.
The show premieres Tuesday, February 19th on SunSports (Comcast 402, U-verse 722) at 9pm and on Saturday, February 23rd on CBS4 (Comcast 433, U-verse 1004) at 12pm.
Additional air dates:
Friday 2/22 on SunSports at 1pm
Sunday 2/24 on FoxSports at 1pm
Sunday 2/24 on My33 at 2pm
Thursday 2/28 at 11pm
Seven other Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, Miami Dolphins alumnus Shawn Wooden and I had the incredible opportunity to visit Egypt during our 17-day Super Bowl Tour around the Mediterranean.
Our first stop in Egypt was South Camp, home of an installment of the Multinational Force and Observers – MFO. With the responsibilities of keeping the peace in the Sinai between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel, we realized the importance of U.S. presence and other nations overseas.
The next morning started off with a tour as we visited the famous Herbs Beach located on base. Part of the Red Sea, Herbs Beach was straight out of a resort pamphlet. With coral reefs within feet of the shoreline, breathtaking views, and water activities available, Herbs Beach was one of the few luxuries our service men and women could take advantage of while being away from home. Later, we had the honor to have lunch with many different servicemen and women and hear their individual stories of home, deployments, and time spent overseas.
As a team, we cannot thank our service members enough for the sacrifices they make each and every day.
We rounded out the day with a two-mile trip into the town of Naama Bay, near Sharm el Sheikh. We were able to get a feel for the resort town as this bustling place had many souvenir shops, cafes, music and camels!
The following day we performed on the O’Deuce amphitheater stage with the Red Sea as our backdrop. This was an honor beyond words, because this stage was named in remembrance for fallen heroes involved in a plane crash returning from their MFO deployment. We treated South Camp to a high-energy show with crowd involvement; giveaways, and great music. After the show we took photos and had the opportunity to chat and learn more about the troops of South Camp.
Finally, Super Bowl day arrived. The team and I were up bright and early to headed to North Camp, the largest installation of the MFO, for our Super Bowl show. We were lucky enough to travel via Sherpa and see the incredible landscape of the mountains, the Red Sea and the scenery between South and North Camp. We settled in and had the opportunity to meet with soldiers from North Camp and learn more about their lives.
We rocked our Super Bowl Show on a beautifully lighted elevated stage for the soldiers of North Camp. A seven-hour time difference would not deter us from viewing Super Bowl XLVII! We stayed up all night glued to the screen, even when the power went out, waiting to see who would be Super Bowl champs.
This was an incredible opportunity to really get to know some U.S. soldiers who risk their lives to make our world a more secure place.
Our objective was to boost moral and thank our everyday heros. I feel confident that my teammates and I succeeded!
A special thanks to Major Mark Almond, SSG Elliot Westbrook, SSG William Jones, CPT Mike Rush, Captain Tasha McCullar and many other special heros we met for making this trip so memorable.
Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Salute our troops…Thank you!
After a full day of traveling we made it to Adana, Turkey from Greece! My fellow cheerleaders and I were welcomed into the country with what they call a carpet party! At Nuri’s Carpets, right outside of the military base, they were waiting for us with all kinds of Turkish cuisine for our choosing. Nuri began to demonstrate to us his carpets. He explained the difference between hand-made carpets and machine made are the names of the carpets which derive from the cities they were made in. A couple of us couldn’t resist and took a carpet home with us!
We rose with the sun the next morning on Incirlik Air Base, eager to meet our troops! We stopped all around base to say hi. My fellow MDC’s and I visited the flight line and those in the tower who couldn’t come down, so we went up! Visiting the Security Forces Squadron was also a real treat. In Incirlik’s diner/bowling alley we had an autograph signing and took photos with our service members! It’s always such a pleasant surprise to meet Dol-Fans all around the world! Mid afternoon we held a clinic for the young boys and girls stationed here with their families. The cheerleaders and I taught the girls a cheer and dance while the boys got to hang out with our alumni, Shawn Wooden and Troy Drayton, to learn some football tips and tricks! We ended the clinics and began our performance in their youth center gymnasium. It was such a joy to perform for the families at Incirlik Air Base! Our stay could not have been more enjoyable.
It was unfortunate that we could only stay a day before heading to our next tour destination. Incirlik was good to us! Bringing a piece of home to the families who travel many miles to serve our country is an indescribable feeling. Although it was a quick stay, many of those who I have met here have made an impact in my life and always be in my thoughts and prayers.
I woke up to a cold and foggy morning on Saturday, February 9th as I made my way to the RunWild 5k at Zoo Miami. Despite the gloomy weather, I was excited to see my teammates and to participate in this run to benefit the Chapman Partnership, whose proceeds go to benefiting the homeless in Miami.
Before the race began, the cheerleaders and I assisted with the Pilates warm up to get those athletes stretched out and ready to compete. The whistle blew at 8 o’clock sharp and we were off! Running the zoo in the early morning is the best; the animals are up and very active. The roar of the lions and the screaming monkeys peaked my interest as I passed one exhibit after another, sometimes even forgetting I was in a race. My challenge for that day, was to beat my previous 5k time; so I focused on my pace and pushed hard to the finish line, where I was greeted by my enthusiastic teammates cheering me on. I accomplished my goal and made a new personal best!
As the runners continued to cross the finish line the event slowly came to an end. At the end of the race my teammates and I were given the awesome privilege to give out the medals to the winners of each age and gender category. The RunWild 5k was such a fun experience, I loved it! I’m looking forward to my next chance to compete as well as helping those less fortunate in our community.
Hey Dol-Fns! On the third stop of our tour, the cheerleaders and I had the opportunity to fly into Crete, Greece to visit some military service men and women at Souda Bay Military Base.
Greece is absolutely breath-taking! We had the chance to tour the USS Robert S. Bradley ship and meet lots of troops that were stationed aboard and take photos with them. There isn’t always a ship in port at Souda Bay, so we were lucky enough to be there while the USS Bradley was there. After that, we stayed on the harbor and took a patrol boat ride all around. It was absolutely beautiful! Finally, after our tours, we had the opportunity to perform for about 200 servicemen and women, which was an incredible honor! One last stop before we left Greece was to downtown Crete to enjoy the authentic Greek food! Everything was delicious!
Thanks so much to all of our service members at home and abroad, and especially the ones we met in Souda Bay. I hope they enjoyed having us as much as we enjoyed visiting them!
Aloha Dolphins fans!
I must begin by thanking my beautiful teammates and wonderful organization for giving me this amazing opportunity to represent the best team in the NFL at the Pro Bowl and NFL China.
I began my two week adventure both excited and nervous all at once. My plane ride couldn’t have gone by faster as I was so eager to meet all my Pro Bowl Cheerleader teammates. We arrived late in the afternoon where we were greeted with beautiful Hawaiian leis. After we checked into our hotel we grabbed a quick dinner and practiced informally in our hotel rooms.
Our second day in Hawaii was memorable to say the least. We woke up bright and early and prepared to shoot our PBC 2013 team photo poolside. I couldn’t have been more honored to stand amongst these amazing women in a photo that will last forever. After our team photo, we got right to work and had an eight hour practice. We learned our pregame routine and introductions with top recording artist Train. Later that day we were also assigned our groups for the big game in which I was assigned to AFC 2. I was privileged to be in a group with Tara from the Denver Broncos, Sarah from the Cincinnati Bengals, Vanessa from the Houston Texans, Angel from the Baltimore Ravens, Kelly from the Oakland Raiders and Breanna from the Indianapolis Colts. All of the women were amazing dancers and blew me away with their poise and professionalism. I was impressed with how well we looked like a team that had been dancing together for years in a few short hours.
Later that day we took a trip to the International Marketplace to get fitted for the famous Pro Bowl ring! This was such a wonderful highlight of my trip knowing that all the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders before me have the same memory as I do.
Early the next morning we headed over to Aloha Stadium for the first time to practice our performances for the big game. It was such a rush of positive emotions as we walked down the tunnel and into the stadium for the first time. Even though it was pouring rain, which I am used to in Miami for game day, the show went on and we practiced in the rain. Right after practice we darted off to participate in a Play 60 event at a local military base middle school. The event also included football drills, flag football games and workouts led by the Pro Bowl football players. I was so pumped to meet these delightful young ladies and help motivate them in their personal and cheerleading lives. To make this day even better we attended the NFL Luau Welcome Party that evening. As I entered the over-the-top venue I was blown away by the amazing food, hula and fire dances and even meeting our pregame entertainer Pat Monahan from Train.
T.G.I.F.! I can’t believe that our Friday came so quickly, at this point it felt like I had just landed. Our directors were so kind and gave us the day off! As the smart, young women we are we took full advantage of the day by relaxing in the sun on the beautiful Hawaiian beaches. After a calming day at the beach we headed to a new event this year at the Pro Bowl called Eat the Streets Hawaiian Style. Pulling up to the location you could immediately pick up the delicious smells of more than 50 food trucks that surrounded the area. This was an exciting evening because we had our first group performance and introduction to the fans!
It’s time for a good ole’ Fin’s Up, it was truly a busy weekend! On Saturday we participated in Ohana Day at Aloha Stadium which attracts more than 4,000 people to watch an open practice for the players and cheerleaders before the game. It was a delightful experience seeing all the Dolphin fans representing all the way in Hawaii! That night we ventured over to the annual block party the city throws each year. More than 70,000 fans pack the streets of Waikiki Beach and enjoyed cheerleader performances, player interviews and raffles. I was lucky enough to perform six dances with my group and soaked up all the memories. At that moment I was so proud to represent the Miami Dolphins and danced my heart out!
Game day, it was finally here! Pro Bowl was an incredible day that represented my last game and the highlight of my career. We arrived at the stadium bright and early to have a quick practice and attended a tailgate party. We had another chance to perform, sign autographs and meet the fans before the game started. I was extremely thankful for the beautiful weather that day, I couldn’t have described a better day for a football game! As we were about to take the field we had an inspiring pep talk from our directors that almost brought me to tears.
Our pregame show was fabulous! Being able to perform in a huge production with a live band was unbelievable. Each cheerleader was individually introduced and free styled for an eight count. One of the songs that Train performed was called “Mermaid” which helped get fans into the “island” mood. The hula dancers, ukulele players, and mermaid dancers performed beautifully too! During our player intro’s I was so excited to cheer on the four players that represented the Miami Dolphins, Cameron Wake, Richie Incognito, Randy Starks and John Denney. As we prepared for the game Brian McKnight sang the National Anthem complete with hundreds of service men taking the field and a fly over by two helicopters.
The game was very laid back and full of dancing. We all cheered on our respective teams and enjoyed our new friendships we had built on and off the field. Even though the AFC did not pull out with the win I had the time of my life! This will truly be an experience I will never forget!
Dolphin Hugs and Kisses,