Even if you’re not a football fan, it’s hard not to get hooked on America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. The latest Netflix docuseries, which premiered on June 20, follows the Cowboys’ cheer squad—known colloquially as the DCC—from tryouts to training camp, all the way through to the end of the football season.

The seven-episode series comes on the heels of CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, a reality show starring many of the same characters, including DCC director Kelli Finglass, which ended in 2021 after 16 seasons. By comparison, America’s Sweethearts has a more professional sheen, which comes courtesy of director and executive producer Greg Whiteley, the man behind Netflix docuseries hits like Cheer and Last Chance U.

“There’s a certain prestige in [the Dallas Cowboys] community that comes from being in that orbit, but it also demands everything of you,” explains Whiteley of what drew him to the project. “I find all of that fascinating, and I thought it was an interesting world for us to explore; it was a great privilege to be given the access we were given to do it.”

Whereas CMT’s show was more surface-level, Whiteley and his team delve into all aspects of life as a member of one of the NFL’s most elite cheer squads. For many members of the team, and even aspiring members of them team, great sacrifices are required. Some women give up their lives—including jobs and relationships—to move to Texas to train; others grin and bear it as their bodies literally crumble under the strain of demanding dance moves, like the jump split (which is exactly what it sounds like).

All the while, most dancers hold down full-time jobs in order to make ends meet, arriving at practice after their 9 to 5s, where they’ll dance until well after midnight. But it’s not all high kicks and smiles. Finglass and her team, as well as Cowboys executive vice president and chief brand officer Charlotte Jones, often pick apart the girls’ looks, from their makeup to their weight, with sometimes devastating consequences.

It’s these moments that can be the most infuriating to viewers. “The world is moving in one direction, and here’s this institution that’s been largely the same since 1972 but is still wildly popular and wildly successful…. It’s an interesting dilemma,” says Whiteley. “I don’t know what you do about it.”

Read on for Glamour’s full conversation with America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders director Greg Whiteley.

Glamour: What made you interested telling the story of the DCC? Was there something about the Dallas Cowboys franchise specifically?

Greg Whiteley: I wasn’t interested. The Cowboys initially approached, and I thought, Oh, we’ll never get the editorial control we need to do the type of filmmaking that we seek to do. So I told my agent, “Hey, politely, tell them thanks for their interest, but I just don’t see this working.” It was Charlotte Jones who came back and said, “We’re open to giving editorial control. We would want to meet with Greg first.” And I thought, Well, I’m never going to turn down a meeting with the Charlotte Jones of the Dallas Cowboys. So I flew out there, and I was so impressed, it forced me to take a harder look at this world.

Read the full article here


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