The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform as The Dallas Cowboys vs the Washington Redskins game

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Shift Focus From Body Image Criticism For Tryouts

Home / Sports / Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Shift Focus From Body Image Criticism For Tryouts

By Kelly Coffey-Behrens on June 23, 2024 at 2:30 PM EDT
Updated on June 23, 2024 at 2:35 PM EDT

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are a famous cheerleading squad associated with the Dallas Cowboys football team in the NFL.

The DCC has a long history of maintaining high standards in dance, athleticism, and entertainment, and they are widely recognized as one of the most famous cheerleading squads in sports.

They are known for their performances during Cowboys games and their appearances in various media and events.

Now, however, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders' longtime director, Kelli Finglass, says that when choosing who will make the cut, they will no longer look at body image regarding the dancers' bodies.

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Shifting The Focus Away From Body Image

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders kick line at The Dallas Cowboys vs the Washington Redskins game

"A lot of preparation, dance rehearsal and work goes into a near flawless performance," longtime director Kelli Finglass told E! News. "Of course, I love beautiful, technical dancers."

"On our stage, which is a football field. I'm attracted to dancers that are very dynamic. They use levels. They have great power, great projection," she added. "They have to be an arena performer."

Finglass also said that she and choreographer Judy Trammell "really have moved away" from discussing the potential cheerleaders' particular body types.

"Each cheerleader has a custom-made uniform for her shape and they are hand-tailored," she said. "And outside of just trying to make that uniform fit and and have the best, most beautiful lines, we don't talk about weight or things like that."

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Workouts, Nutrition, And More

Kelli Finglass did discuss how the team keeps up with their workouts and nutrition, which helps to keep them in shape.

"The girls are all very, very good with their own nutrition, their own personal workouts. We have a gym adjacent to our dance studio that has everything they can do for working out, and nutritionists and mental health experts available to them. So I try to let their own personal habits stay, and we try to provide resources and educate them, and we leave it at that. And I think we're better for that."

"I am a judge that loves showmanship," the team's director said. "I love authenticity."

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Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders' Body Image

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform at The Dallas Cowboys vs the Washington Redskins game

Despite Kelli Finglass's claims of moving away from body image, the official website states that the DCC judges do focus on "personal appearance" and "figure" as well as the dance technique, high kicks, splits, showmanship, energy, enthusiasm, poise, personality.

Plus, according to PEOPLE Magazine, an episode of "America’s Girls" dedicated to the DCC’s rules, host Sarah Hepola read from a 30-year-old “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Basic Rules and Regulations” guide, which stated that cheerleaders couldn’t gain weight.

There was also allegedly an infamous “Weight List.”

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Custom Uniforms Are Made

As a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, a specific dress code must be followed along with the custom-made uniforms the organization provides.

"They wear skin-toned hosiery with the uniform," Kelli Finnigan said of the required tights. "They've all found the brands they individually like. It's got to be sheer, and it can't peak out of the uniform — like it can't be 'reinforced,' anything like that — because it has to look very natural."

A veteran cheerleader also spoke out about the uniforms, claiming that once the girls are fitted for the outfit, they must maintain that weight. "You don't get a new uniform," she said, per PEOPLE. "Once you're fitted for that uniform, that size is the size that you get. You don't get to go up. If you go up, they're like, 'Why does this not fit you?'"

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Following The DCC Rule Book

Presley Killmer, who was part of the team in the 1980s, said, “On Sundays, we were supposed to be the sexy cheerleaders on the sideline. The rest of the time, we were supposed to be perceived as squeaky clean."

"High heels, pantyhose, business suit, makeup and hair done, mannerly, good etiquette," she added of the requirements.

In 2024, Kelli Finglass said she "does not make excuses for our standards." "It is a highly visible organization with very elite dancers and the uniform is amazing and beautiful and custom-tailored to each individual figure," she said. "I'm not making any excuses."

Netflix's 2024 documentary series "America's Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" is streaming now.

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