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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interview: Laura Eilers

I first met Laura, Science Cheerleader's Creative Director and Choreographer, while helping Darlene plan the Science Cheerleaders' debut at the Science & Engineering Festival last October. Like the cheerleaders she trains, Laura has a busy life to share, so I'll just get to it and let you learn for yourself.

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Let's start with something straightforward, like how did you get into cheerleading?



I was a dancer originally. I spent one year as a "real" cheerleader as a high school sophomore, then became an NFL cheerleader after college. My parents put me in dance at three years old because the pediatrician said I was highly uncoordinated ... I would run into walls, haha ... that hasn't changed!


You're a trainer and choreographer, too. Did that require any additional training/experience?


I have certification in personal training from NASM: The National Academy of Sports Medicine. I studied a very thick textbook and videos for about three months plus observation and on-hands training experience. I must be re-certified every two years through weekend workshops and always maintain CPR and First Aid certification. Teaching various fitness classes requires certification as well. I am trained in KidFit Yoga, Kickboxing, Strength & Step/Dance instruction. Each requires 1-2 weekends of training, a written and physical test. The good news is that anyone at any age and experience level can be a choreographer! I love teaching kids how to listen to musical accents and choose motions that fit to them.


What's a typical workout like for you?


I love to do all types of workouts. I like to spend 45-90 minutes really working hard. I take spinning class 1-2 times per week, run/elliptical 3-4 times per week, and lift weights 4-5 days per week. I really love taking boot camp classes, and I actually go to my own personal trainer once a week. My trainer makes me lift very heavy weights, I typically stay light with multiple reps, combined with plyometrics. I am a fitness freak!


The uniforms for the Science Cheerleaders are great! When did you start designing uniforms? What's your process on that--does a customer come to you with ideas, or do they just expect you to come up with "something different?"


Thank you! The Science Cheerleader uniform is called the "Starbright" design of Go Wild! Wear created by Angela King Designs. I have loved that piece since the moment I saw it, and I'm not sure it's ever been worn in those colors or especially with the atom logo belt buckle! I'm so honored to work with Angela, she is really the sole costume designer. Oftentimes I get to indulge in color or fabric selection, accessorizing, changing a strap here or there. I do especially enjoy helping audition candidates select attire... it's important to pick something flattering, unique and perfect for that team!


Laura and Stephanie on the National Mall during the Science & Engineering Festival
You won a Ms. Virginia pageant recently. Congratulations! Had you ever been in a pageant before? What was the experience like for you?


Actually this was my very first pageant! I'm really honored to have been selected. I felt pretty comfortable with the walking and speaking as I have done that often with my eight years auditioning for NFL cheerleading squads. I have some experience in fashion shows, swimsuit and gown modeling, too. It is quite different for me, because I'm used to being in a team environment, and when they announced the "winner" ... well this time it's just 'lil 'ol me! Everyone within the Miss United States pageant system has been very welcoming and uplifting.

Ms. Virginia United States

What's it feel like to have one of those crowns put on your head?

It feels like a million bucks! ...but certainly doesn't cost that much :)




The more I work with SciCheer, the more I realize what a large community professional cheerleading really is. How did Darlene find you?


Oh wow ... Darlene has been so great! I think we connected on Alumnicheerleaders.com... that's a great online network allowing cheerleaders to post profiles and photos and message each other.


Your bio notes that you were on the TV show "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team." For those of us who didn't watch, what did you do on the show?


In 2009, I was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader semifinalist. I spoke on camera about how quickly we had to learn the routine and was shown dancing on the field of Texas Stadium. That was the coolest part of the auditions, as it was the last year the stadium was used. Being behind the scenes for those auditions was really educational! It makes you respect anyone who is on a reality series.


You've got two or three businesses going, in addition to the creative work you've done for Science Cheerleader. What are they?


First, I'm the director of Going Pro Entertainment, which offers pro cheer consulting, choreography, events and other team services. We have representatives who are amazing alumni from the NFL, NBA and AFL, located in over 20 major U.S. markets. We've done everything from host conventions to team image consulting to judging to audition management. Second, I direct the sales team for Go Wild! Wear, created by Angela King Designs. There are currently six sales reps, and I also work directly with customers on the east coast and in my home states of Kansas and Missouri. Finally, I reside in the city of Richmond, Va, where I'm a personal trainer, fitness and dance instructor. I direct the dance team for the Richmond Raiders arena football team, and I'm the game day field emcee!



Laura in a brief moment of relaxation
 Since we first talked at the Science & Engineering Festival, it's become quite clear that you're a very busy person. How do you manage to do it all? How do you relax?


My mom tells me that I have just always been this way. It's easy to stay busy when you truly enjoy your career! I have a constant checklist under my nose. I think my "saving grace" is working out daily and eating healthy. I probably don't "relax" as often as the average person, but when I do, I love going to the beach, wineries, mountains, and different parts of the world.









Anything else you'd like to share?


Well, on the subject of science ... I remember loving science and math when I was younger. My favorite memory is creating a cell model with my mom for a science project. We made the cell out of cookie cake, icing and other sweets. It's amazing how you can remember terminology when you label it in frosting! I love spending time with the Science Cheerleaders during our events. They are such amazing, intelligent women, role models not only in the field of cheerleading and dance but to girls and women everywhere.

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Thank YOU Bart!

Bart Leahy is ScienceCheerleader.com's Cheer Operations Ninja and gopher.

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