PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Brianne Herndon grew up watching the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. Now, she will be with them on the sidelines, cheering her favorite team on.
“Ever since I was little I wanted to be a Dolphins cheerleader,” said Herndon, a Port St. Lucie native. “My family had season passes to the games. I loved watching the cheerleaders; they always inspired me. I was waiting until I was 18 so I could try out and become a Dolphins cheerleader.
“It has always been a goal for me.”
Herndon, along with 600 other hopefuls, showed up April 24 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens for the auditions. Only 76 made the initial cut and then started learning choreography and a kick routine.
“The auditions were intense and nerve-wracking. You had to be on your game, but still have fun,” said Herndon, who went through a professional interview and a week of clinics.
On May 8, she performed a solo routine at the finals at the Aventura Mall in front of nine judges and 8,000 mall viewers. The judges then selected the 2010 team and announced the new members’ names.
As more and more names were announced, Herndon started getting nervous.
“It was scary. I thought, “Uh-oh, I didn’t get it,” Herndon said.
With only two positions left to be filled in a 42-woman group, Herndon’s name was called.
“Brianne is a beautiful fresh face to add to our 2010 rookie class. She is a talented dancer and captured the judges’ attention with her personality,” said Emily Newton, Dolphins cheerleading coordinator and director.
Herndon drives 200 miles three times a week for practices that last three hours. She leaves her house at 3 p.m. to avoid traffic, but most days she arrives early and chats with her new teammates.
Herndon said she has learned nine different new dance routines.
Herndon was a cheerleader for three years at John Carroll High School in Fort Pierce. She recently visited the school to help out with cheerleader tryouts, and said she hopes to choreograph a future Rams routine.
Herndon attends Indian River State College and wants to major in fashion design, but dancing is what she loves.
“I could dance, dance, dance 24 hours, seven days a week. When we did the freestyle dance for the auditions that was my favorite,” said Herndon, who dances ballet, hip-hop and tap.
With the start of the 2010 NFL season rapidly approaching, Herndon can’t wait to spend her Sunday afternoons cheering on the Dolphins.
“It feels amazing. It puts chills on my body. I feel very accomplished and grateful for everything,” Herndon said. “And now, my dad can watch his favorite cheerleader.”