Victoria Kalina in a Dallas Cowboys cheerleading outfit

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Exposes 'Stressful Environment' For Tryouts

Home / Sports / Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Exposes 'Stressful Environment' For Tryouts

By Kelly Coffey-Behrens on June 24, 2024 at 6:30 PM EDT

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading squad has high standards, as it is the most well-known squad in the NFL.

Women must undergo an extensive tryout period to determine their qualifications, and Netflix's 2024 documentary series "America's Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" is now revealing this process.

Victoria Kalina, who participated in the project, opened up about the "stressful environment" and the pressure to fit into "baby clothes."

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Struggling With An Eating Disorder

The fitness and dance instructor got candid in the docuseries, revealing the mental health struggles she endured while in the "stressful environment."

"My depression, like, it turns into this bad cycle," Kalina said in the docuseries, per PEOPLE Magazine. "And whenever I get into a bad depression, I turn to bad coping skills, which causes bad eating habits. And as a dancer, the hardest thing you can fight are eating disorders plus depression."

She added, "And I go through the cycle when that depression zone hits. It's a binge-purge cycle. It's a binge to get that feel-good, that empty feeling filled again. But then game time comes, so then you gotta get into those baby clothes, get into that baby uniform, and that cycle just keeps going."

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Victoria Kalina's Relationship With Her Mom

Victoria Kalina takes a selfie in Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader uniform
Instagram | Victoria Kalina

One of the biggest facts that stood out to fans about the cheerleader was that her mother, Tina, was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader in the 1980s. The two have an extremely close relationship, something that viewers did not necessarily agree with.

"I get some comments saying y’all are too close, that’s unhealthy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s my rock, my person, my biggest supporter ever," she told Netflix for the docuseries. "Watching and learning from the DCC as a little girlI knew I wanted to be a DCC because I loved the sparkle of the iconic uniform and getting to dance with pom poms."

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"As I got older, I began to see how they made a difference in the lives of others – USO tours, hospital visits, nursing homes, waving to fans at the games, being a positive role model, etc and I knew I loved the organization even more," she added.

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Victoria Kalina Had A Complex Relationship With The DCC

Kalina was 18 when she was first cut from the team. "Being in the stressful environment of training camp, kind of made it worse," she said of her eating disorder and depression. "Because I was at a young age, I didn't know how to handle it back then."

"When I decided to take my year off, I got into therapy," she added, revealing that's where "I've learned that I'm a words-of-affirmation person. I've also learned that I do not like to feel my feelings. So I think that's why I cover that up, I cover up any emotions that I have. I think we all kind of have a tendency to put up a front and that's just not okay, because when you're not feeling good, you need to let people know."

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Cheerleaders Must Follow The DCC Rule Book

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

While Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders' longtime director, Kelli Finglass, recently said the organization will no longer look at body image regarding the dancers' bodies, 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.

Additionally, in 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, per PEOPLE Magazine.

Other Cheerleaders Speak Out

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

Victoria Kalinais not the first Dallas Cowboys cheerleader to come forward about the requirements. 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," the former cheerlleader added of the requirements.

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

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