Jalanda, a highly skilled designer, has enjoyed the opportunities to combine her passions of fashion and cheerleading since joining the squad in 2011.
How long have you been dancing and what made you decide to take your dancing to the professional level with the TTC?
I've taken dance classes throughout my life, but never had any real, formal training. I just loved dancing, especially hip-hop, and I really wanted to make a career out of it. I also was involved in school cheerleading and competitive cheerleading for several years. After choosing a different career route, I still always wondered what it would have been like if I tried dancing at a professional level. So, when I found myself living in Tennessee, looking to take the next step in life, I figured why not give it a try? I figured professional cheerleading would be a perfect combination of my interests and past experience. I found the TTC audition schedule, researched the team and what they were looking for, and after finally making the team, my life hasn't been the same since.
|Meet Jalanda and the rest of the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders!|
You are a fashion designer/business owner. How did you get into that field and what have been some of your successes from it?
My interest in fashion began in high school, when my mother taught me how to sew. Ever since, I couldn't stop coming up with fashionable creations. I figured fashion design would be the perfect career for me because I could incorporate my artist passion into a profitable business with endless possibilities. Before I even graduated high school, I was already spending time in New York, planning out my future and catching the "fashion bug." I tirelessly studied/crafted for four years at Parsons, The New School for Design, refining my design sense to prepare me for a career in the New York City fashion world upon graduation. After taking a left turn and moving to Tennessee for my husband's military obligations, I found myself a little lost. When the idea of being a TTC came into play, so did the venture of starting my own business. I opened a women's clothing and accessory boutique in downtown Nashville, Apricot Lane, where I was able to run my own operation, hand-select product for the store, and be creative with merchandising and advertising. I learned a tremendous amount from this experience, but felt it wasn't allowing me to truly do what I love, which is design. I recently sold the boutique (though it still remains Apricot Lane), which has now allowed me to focus on my freelance design projects.
What attributes do you bring to the TTC that you feel are a great asset to the team?
The first, most obvious thing would be a different look. We have a majority of beautiful blondes on the team, and I love each and every one of them, but I like that I bring a little brunette (borderline red) power to the group. Secondly, I've been appointed as "team seamstress," so I take care of uniform alterations, assist in creating some of our performance outfits, and pretty much anything else the girls ask, like make Halloween costumes, audition outfits, T-shirts, custom jerseys, etc. This year I was honored with the task of making the swimsuits worn on the cover of our calendar. This was a huge accomplishment for me to have my work be seen by so many, and it feels great knowing that I had a hand in helping our calendar stand out amongst others in the league.
What is your favorite part of being a TTC?
Game day would probably be my favorite. There is such an air of excitement waking up on game day, getting to the field early, warming up and then getting dolled up to hit the field for kickoff. Running out on the field for player intros is probably one of the most exiting parts of the game; it never gets old! The rush of excitement is unlike any other; I don't think my smile could get any bigger or I could shake my poms any harder! Getting to do our victory dance after the game is pretty fun and fulfilling too.
What is your favorite ...
Article of clothing you have?
Anything from my store…because I love when people ask me where I got it from!
Game you have cheered thus far?
Steelers Game — Oct. 11, 2012: it felt amazing to win a game in a stadium that had the opposing team's rowdy fans.
Restaurant in Nashville?
Personal training sessions with trainer Chris Moore at Prairie Life Fitness…he pushes me to my limits!
What words do you live by in your daily life?
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw
This is one of my favorite quotes because I think people waste so much of life trying to "find" themselves, rather than just focusing on creating the life they want. Work hard, go after what you want, and enjoy the journey. Create opportunities rather than waiting for them to happen. Be in control of your destiny. I try to apply this way of thinking to small things too, like shopping for clothes for example. Rather than search for something, I might as well just create it so I get exactly what I'm looking for!
Describe your daily workout regime.
Cardio is the core of my in-season workouts. I really enjoy running, so I usually get a good 3-6 mile run in. I switch it up every now and then and do interval running, or squeeze in a bootcamp or spinning class. Stretching after a good run while my body is still warm keeps me flexible, and ab circuits keep my core tweaked.
Five words that others would use to describe you?
Crafty, witty, fun-loving, driven, unique
If you are planning to audition again next year, what steps will you be taking to prepare?
Getting in shape is always the first step to preparing for auditions and the season. A clean diet and daily exercise is the best way to not only look your best while performing, but allows you to feel confident in your own skin. Taking a few dance classes also helps with picking up choreography. It's like anything else; when you don't dance for a while, your body kind of forgets how to move, and it's harder to learn and memorize choreography. And don't forget all the other details to your appearance. Making sure your hair and make-up look polished, your skin is clear (and tan!), and your audition outfit flatters your body are all important factors in acquiring the TTC look!
How would you describe your overall experience as a TTC?
This experience has definitely been challenging. Being a TTC is not only a HUGE time commitment, but we are required to always look and perform our best, while sometimes taking harsh criticism. Other life challenges come into play, and it's not always easy to stay on top. But with a lot of hard work and determination, it has been a very rewarding experience, and one that has brought me memories that will last forever.
What advice would you give to a rookie TTC just beginning her experience on the squad?
Don't take anything personally. Everyone's a rookie at some point, and there's really no better way to learn than by experience. Also, enjoy every moment, because there's no other experience like this in the world!