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Interview With Brandi Nace, Vonciel Baker

Aired September 15, 2002 - 09:15   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: In 1972, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders stepped onto the sidelines in their short shorts and their low-cut blouses and those little white boots, and the rest is, well, sideline history. I guess you could say they're as popular as ever and they're still kicking after now 30 years. Hard to believe.
Today, the cheerleaders will celebrate this anniversary -- where else -- at Texas Stadium. Joining us to talk about is Vonciel Baker. She is screen right. And then screen left is Brandi Nace, and I'm going to ask our viewers to guess which one was on the original squad. I bet they couldn't. The answer is, of course, Vonciel. Vonciel, take us back to 1972.

VONCIEL BAKER, 1972 DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADER: Yes, there were originally seven of us, and the field was so huge that the Cowboys have decided that they needed to get more cheerleaders, because they got all these letters that said, we want them all over the field. So every year, we added more and more, so we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the field. But there were only seven of us.

O'BRIEN: Now, Brandi, you're in the current squad. How many cheerleaders are in the current squad?

BRANDI NACE, DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADER: This year, there are 32 of us. And we're all around the stadium.

O'BRIEN: Thirty-two. Now, what -- tell me what has changed over the years, Vonciel, from what you remember and what is the same?

BAKER: I think the field is very same. They're all very lovely, and they're committed to the Cowboys, first of all, and doing charity work and stuff. They do a lot of charity work, and they're just wonderful. It's the same.

O'BRIEN: Where did you go? Where did you go, Vonciel? Come back. I want to see you. Brandi, tell me -- well, all right, we're looking at some of the other cheerleaders, but we want to see these lovely ladies here as we talk to them. So Brandi, tell me what led you to become a cheerleader. Did you always wanted to do this?

NACE: Well, actually, today we're playing the Tennessee Titans, and I'm originally from Memphis, Tennessee, and my family...


O'BRIEN: So, wait a minute, wait a minute, so are you at all torn here?

NACE: That's right. I'm from Tennessee, and in my family, we used to travel during (UNINTELLIGIBLE) games (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Cowboys (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And I always wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. And these women, they have represented this organization so well. They have been to five Super Bowls, 47 USO tours, and we had very high expectations for ourselves that they've set for us.

O'BRIEN: All right, one thing that's very interesting which I'm not sure everybody knows about, and Vonciel, I want you to address this, are the rules and regulations of being a cheerleader. Lots of rules to guarantee that the Cowboys are represented properly, correct?

BAKER: That's correct. Very properly.

O'BRIEN: Well, give us a sense of some of the rules you must go to if you want to be a cheerleader. It's like -- it's the Marines of cheerleading, right?

BAKER: It's more than cheerleading. Yes, it is. It is a way of life. We represent, first of all, Dallas, Texas. And Texas as a whole. And so you have to be a certain way, uphold yourself and be part of the community (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And it's really easy.

O'BRIEN: It's easy. What do you think, Brandi? There are quite a few rules. Like, for example, when you're wearing a uniform, you can't do -- you can't drink, you can't smoke, can't do all that stuff, right?

NACE: That's right. We would never do that anyway.

O'BRIEN: You wouldn't do that. Hey, let me ask you this, how do you explain -- and we'll start with you, Vonciel, since you're the veteran here, although it's hard to tell -- how would you explain the phenomenon? Why do people, aside from the very obvious issues here, why do people respond so much to the Cowboys cheerleaders?

NACE: I think because we were the first professional cheerleaders, and we represent 30 years of excellence. And every girls that's been in these shoes has really tried hard to uphold the standards that the first set has set out for us, and we're just America's team, America's sweethearts, and we're trying to carry on the tradition of being wholesome and number one.

O'BRIEN: All-American. Vonciel, is that how you'd explain it as well?

BAKER: Yes, it's a phenomenon. We had no idea. We walked out on Texas Stadium in 1972, and people thought -- they just stood up, they go, what are they doing, who are they, where did they come from, and they just fell in love with America's sweethearts, and we represent the Dallas Cowboys as well as Dallas and Texas, and they just went -- I mean, all over the papers and stuff, they go, did you see those little outfits? You know, did you see -- did you see those high kicks? They're doing Broadway on a football field. O'BRIEN: Can you show us a quick move on something you're going to be doing at halftime today, or am I putting you on the spot? Give us a quick move, a little kick.


O'BRIEN: One move. Here we go.

BAKER: That was the very first thing we did.

O'BRIEN: Go ahead.

All right.

BAKER: Go, Cowboys!

O'BRIEN: You go, Vonciel. All right. Vonciel -- that was great. You made my morning. Vonciel Baker, Brandi Nace...

BAKER: Thank you. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Once again, I'll let you all guess who's the current and who's the former Dallas cheerleader. Congratulations on 30 years, have a great time today.

BAKER: Thank you, sir.

NACE: Thank you.

BAKER: Thank you, sir.

O'BRIEN: All right. Take care.




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