Hanging on the beach in Cozumel for 10 days in April may sound like a healthy dose of paradise to most people, but for the 32 members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders returning from the 2012 squad it was a business trip that just so happened to occur in an exotic locale. After two days of swimsuit fittings at Valley Ranch, the ladies were on their way to Mexico to shoot the 2014 edition of the popular swimsuit calendar.
"The moment we arrived in Cozumel, we were instantly recognized," Angela Rena said. "It was partly due to the big Texas hair and abundance of matching pink luggage that was slowly overtaking the airport."
The squad stayed at the Iberostar Resort in bungalows tucked away in a lush area that resembled a rainforest, with the beach just a short walk away down a winding path.
"All of us liked to describe (Iberostar Resort) as a Gilligan's Island meets The Jungle Book type of resort," Jacie Veronica said. "We were greeted by peacocks, iguanas and other animals on a regular basis."
The cheerleaders were not only treated like celebrities by the hotel staff, but they were asked to pose for pictures with tourists, fans and even the immigration officers at the airport transfer spot. However, they did have a pretty tight schedule with most having two "shoot days" and a variety of activities to keep them busy.
"People all over the island were anxious to meet us and hear about our experiences as NFL cheerleaders," Mackenzie Lee said. "We had a great time taking pictures and talking with the locals on our down time."
With things winding down on the trip, the ladies held a fashion show produced by DCC choreographer Judy Trammell that featured 10 different looks, including everything from animal prints to neon and fringe. The cheerleaders modeled a variety of suits from the 32 designers they worked with this year for an audience that included Dallas Cowboys sponsors, Mexican government officials (including the Governor of Quintana Roo) and Iberostar Cozumel guests.
Perhaps the most memorable story from the trip came from (surprise!) veteran cheerleader Brittney Schram. While taking a walk on the beach with fellow DCCs Veronica and Danielle, they came across a turtle and Brittney decided to gently pick the turtle up for a photo op.
"I notice out of the corner of my eye that its neck is slowly starting to stick out towards me," Brittney said, thinking the turtle was going to kiss her. "The next thing I know, SNAP! The cute little sucker bit my bottom lip. I ripped it off my mouth and the others gasped in horror to see the damage. There was a lot of blood, but even more laughter after the shock wore off and we realized I had been bitten by a turtle."
As luck would have it, Brittney was scheduled to shoot the next day but the make-up artist worked her magic and covered it up for the shoot and the photographer Wade Livingston simply shook his head and said, "Brittney, you know you are supposed to kiss toads to catch a prince, not a turtle!"
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar will be released in November.
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