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Shocking confessions of an IPL cheerleader

India Today logo India Today 14-05-2017

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have barred the much-hyped and equally controversial cheerleaders from interacting with the cricketers during the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). But, that didn't deter an IPL cheerleader from revealing her league experience on the social networking website Reddit.

The IPL cheerleader, who chose to be anonymous and went by the moniker IPLCheer, participated in Reddit's AMA (ask me anything) live chat to disclose the experience and hazards of her jobs.

Reddit's AMA that saw popular Bollywood stars Priyanka Chopra and Imran Khan make candid confessions last year witnessed yet another exciting Q&A event with over 500 responses.

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Here's a look at some of the interesting revelations by the IPL cheerleader:

Q. How did you went on entering IPL and becoming IPL cheerleader?

A. I'm on a dance contract through an agency in Mumbai. I do background dancing for Bollywood music videos as well. (No, none of them have come out yet) I was thrown into the IPL gig because of my dance background.

Q. Do players hit on you?

A. No, they ignore us for the most part. We're not allowed to talk to each other.

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Q. Is there a rule for official party n gathering? Last week in Bangalore I did see a Australian cricketer talking with a bunch of cheerleaders for about 20-30 min at bar/pub post game ..funny thing he refused to talk to almost every guy /fan who approached him.

A. I know that one team of girls got to meet the players because they did a commercial together. Aside from that I've been under the impression that all teams and all members couldn't chat up the cheerleaders. But maybe it's different for different teams.

Q. What is the funniest thing you ever saw a cricket fan doing in a stadium?

A. Honestly? I put a blank stare on for the most part when I'm facing the crowd. There's just so many nasty men making kissy faces and taking my picture that I tend to just block it all out. Often I'll lock eyes with some nice people that are smiling and those are the people I'll focus on for most of the game. So I haven't really seen many funny things. If someone genuinely made me laugh though, that would be a welcome thing.

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Q. Are you a feminist? What are your thoughts on cheerleading being a means to objectify women as sexual objects and especially in India as a white relic.

A. I am a feminist, and I admit that I am bothered. When I danced in my home country I felt less like that. If you were to watch female dancers on Broadway, regardless of their outfit, you probably wouldn't call them a sexual object. You'd call them a dancer. I went into this contract as a dancer, finding that I'm treated more as a sex object. I try to be forgiving of human nature so I'm rolling with the punches. I also enjoy what I do regardless. But I wouldn't renew this contract for another year unless things changed.

Q. How often do you get ogled on stadium while dancing? And how do you feel when you get ogled so much?

A. All the time. I hate it.

Q. What is the biggest thing you hate about your job? A few spectators near me were shouting abusive and cheap words at the cheerleaders. How do you cope up with stuff like that?

A. I hate the racism. Why is my team made up of 99 per cent 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. But for the most part I can't hear them. The music is loud enough and the accents are thick enough I'm mostly oblivious to the words. This doesn't mean I can't tell that there are some obvious slime-balls behind me. I try my best to ignore them. And I've made a personal rule for myself not to take pictures with fans unless they're women or children. I'm not keen on becoming someone's fap bate for the night.

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Q. As we Indians are quite new to seeing cheerleaders, what are few things about cheerleading that you think we don't know, but should know about?

A. We're not all sluts. You might get the odd one or two out there in the world, but the mass majority of cheerleaders I've worked with are perfectly respectable women. I'm currently not working with any sluts, and for that I'm grateful. They tend to cause drama.

Q. Any insider story you might be aware of related to Match Fixing/late Night parties/Any sort of Harassment? 

A. I've only heard rumors of fixed matched from people completely unrelated to IPL. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Us girls have had parties with just ourselves on a few occasions, but we're not allowed to hang out with the cricketers.

Q. What kind of hotels do they provide? I assumed it was 5 star hotels.

A. The first two games they were more like 1 star hotels. Cockroaches, I saw a rat and rat droppings, it was pretty bad. But we quickly spoke up and realized our manager for that trip had been skimping us and pocketing the money he was saving on a cheaper hotel. Now they're more like 3 star. Perfectly comfortable but not over the top.

Q. What's the alcohol situation like over there? Can you just buy a case of beer and bring it back to your hotel room to drink with your colleagues?

A. Some states are dry so you can't bring alcohol back. But when the states aren't dry, we have brought beer and vodka back to our rooms to celebrate.

Q. You think cricket is a game where cheerleading makes sense? Do you feel the flow of the game lends to cheerleading or does it feel forced?

A. Yeah, I feel cheerleading fits well. The 4s and 6s are the main reason for this, and the breaks give ample time to pump up the crowd and cheer for the team.

Q. It must be very exhausting to dance every 5 or 10 minutes in searing hot weather. What do you do keep energy levels high? What's your diet & training regimen like?

A. The heat gets annoying. I try to embrace it. The energy is just part of the job. We have to appear upbeat even if we're exhausted. I'm a vegetarian, I try to stay away from too many fried foods and too much sugar, but I do enjoy chocolate and an occasional samosa.

Q. What's your regimen like? Do you secretly wish that the batsmen of your team got out faster, so that you wouldn't have to dance so much?

A. No way! The games are always so much more fun if we're winning. It's much more boring to sit in a chair than it is to dance. I wasn't a cricket fan before this, but I am now!

Q. When was the cricket ball closest to you? During a boundary I mean. Are there any experiences with the ball?

A. It's never been really close unfortunately. Sometimes I daydream about it coming right at me and I catch it like a badass before going up and dancing. I'd end the dance with a mic drop with my pom poms and walk off the stage.

Q. As a fellow western woman living in India, not sure how I feel about white cheerleaders at the games. Why not Indian cheerleaders?

A. I agree. I love doing it, but I'd honestly prefer to see at least a mix of Indian women. Sadly there's nothing I can do about that. If I refuse I'd be breaking my contract and they'd replace me with another white girl anyway.

Q. Where do you hail from? How has been your overall experience in India?

A. I'm not saying where I'm from to protect my identity. But I'm from a western country. So far I've been loving India. I might be a rare Westerner in that I love the chaos here. People are living, kids playing cricket in the streets, goats and cows wondering around, people selling fruits and veggies on corners, I love it. It beats the closed off living you'll find in major cities in the U.S. the U.K. or Australia.

Q. Did you ever have plans to study at University? What would you like to study if you got a chance?

A. I'm a University graduate. I studied anthropology.

Q. IPL or Superbowl?

A. IPL. I just don't care for American football. It has always bored me.

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