Cheerleaders have now become an accepted, integral part of the IPL. Despite the initial reservations that they wouldn’t fit into the Indian cultural scene, they are now on thousands of TV screens, vociferously applauding every four and six in India’s own festival. Despite them getting tons of airtime, there’s very little known about the girls behind the skimpy costumes and the heavy makeup. So when an American IPL cheerleader decided to do an AMA on Reddit, the community was rapt. And got to know some very interesting details about what it’s like to be a cheerleader in the IPL.
1. This particular cheerleader is American and has been in India for 3 weeks, working for the IPL. She isn’t a professional – she worked as a house painter for a year before becoming an IPL cheerleader. She also has a degree in Anthropology. She’s been dancing since she was 12, and was a cheerleader for her high school and an All Star team.
2. The Cheerleaders in the IPL are hardly cricket aficionados. This cheerleader said that she’d never heard about cricket until a year ago.
3. Contrary to what one might believe, cheerleaders don’t quite live the swish, glamourous live while they’re with the IPL. “The first two games they were more like 1 star hotels. Cockroaches, I saw a rat and rat droppings, it was pretty bad..conditions aren’t the best. If I were back in my home country I’d be shocked at the state of our toilets, changing rooms, and on occasions our hotel rooms.“
4. Indian audiences aren’t always nice. “There’s just so many nasty men making kissy faces”, she says. “I went into this contract as a dancer, (now I find) that I’m treated more as a sex object.”
5. They don’t exclusively work for the IPL. This cheerleader has a contract with an agency, which includes her IPL stint and other Bollywood gigs. She says her dance background helps with those.
6. While they work in close proximity to the celeb cricketers, they aren’t allowed to talk to them. The cricketers too ignore them for the most part, she says.
7. While the cheerleaders on the IPL are overwhelmingly white, there’s no race requirement stipulated during the hiring process. Even the cheerleader is perplexed by this. “I hate the racism. Why is my team made up of 99% white girls? Why do Indians feel it’s ok to dress white girls up in skimpy outfits but they wont let their fellow Indian women do it? It’s messed up.“
8. But all said and done, this IPL cheerleader is enjoying her stint in India. “I love the life! There’s so much happening day to day, people interacting with people, kids actually playing in the streets, it seems like people in India actually live their lives. Western countries are becoming too robotic.”