This is Duyen’s 2nd season with the Houston Texans Cheerleaders. She is originally from Irving, Texas and is currently a student at University. Duyen loves any type of curry, whether it’s Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese or Indian. She also loves to bake and can make amazing mini-cupcakes. Not surprisingly, Duyen loves anything and everything that has to do with working out. Whether it is swimming, dancing, bowling, or yoga. The Houston Texans Cheerleaders pride themselves on being the fittest dance team in the National Football League. Each member of the squad has a different routine for staying in great shape. The workout videos for the Houston Texans Cheerleaders are available on the team’s website.
What inspired you to become an NFL Cheerleader?
I grew up having a strong passion and love for dance, so when I came to Houston for college, I was ready to take it to the next level.
What background do you have that contributed to your success as a professional cheerleader?
I started dancing when I was four. Since then I’ve studied many different dance styles, ranging from ballet to intricate hip-hop. I’ve been lucky enough to train under some pretty excellent choreographers, who were also really well-known. I even got to perform alongside some of them. When I was in high school, I made it into a really competitive dance company and that allowed me to perform and compete everywhere across the nation. On the side, I also did some backup dancing and was always attending some kind of dance convention any time I got the chance.
Did you get any resistance from your family as this occupation bucks traditional Asian Family Values?
My family supports me 100% to cheer for the Houston Texans. They always have given me their full support in what I have chosen to do in life. Although, I do understand what you mean when you say that dance “bucks traditional Asian values,” because of course I do experience some resistance every now and then. But usually that kind of thing comes from outside my immediate family. My grandma doesn’t really understand so we have to reassure her that I am also a full-time pharmacy student. But mostly, it’s okay.
When did you realize you wanted to be a Texans Cheerleader?
I knew I wanted to be a Texans Cheerleader when I went to tryouts my first year and saw how amazing the atmosphere was. It was just so electric, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that.
Who is your favorite current Texans player?
I would have to say Andre Johnson.
What cheerleader(s) do you admire?
I really admire our director, Alto Gary, and respect all the effort and time she puts into our team. She helps organize all our appearances and even choreographs many of the dance routines that we perform on the field.
Name something most people don’t know about you.
I founded the Texas branch of a charity organization called “Friends of Lepers in Vietnam.” It was something my parents helped me do my senior year of high school. They always reminded me to be grateful for everything I was given. I mean, my parents were refugees, so of course they taught me to be thankful for all the opportunities I was given, especially as a second-generation Vietnamese. Anyway, I founded this non-profit charity in order to spread awareness and help the Vietnamese community. Today I’m the representative of the Texas branch, and it’s been nice staying connected to Vietnam in this way.
What is the greatest accomplishment in your life thus far?
I would have to say becoming a Texans Cheerleader at only 18.
Name three words that describe you.
Bubbly, Independent, and Determined
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
I would love to have dinner with Mahatma Gandhi.
What is your favorite activity to do in Houston?
I would have to say eat, eat, and eat because there are so many different types of restaurants in Houston. I mean if you’re craving some Vietnamese, Thai, or Indian food, then there are probably about 50 awesome restaurants to choose from.
What is your best feature?
My positivity. I always try to see the cup as half full instead of half empty.
What is the most adventurous thing you have done?
I would say moving to Houston all by myself. I didn’t know a single person but I took a leap of faith and moved here to go to school.
What is the best part about being a Texans Cheerleader?
Everything. It’s the most amazing job. I get to experience things that
not everyone gets to. For instance, I get to attend different service events and meet all sorts of interesting people. It has really given me a different outlook on life. It has opened so many doors for me. So all in all I would have to say the unique experiences and the people I get to meet.
Do you think that Asian/Asian American Women are finally making strides on the professional cheerleading squads?
Most definitely. If you look at any major sports team, whether NFL or NBA, there’s usually some kind of Asian representation on there.
What was the worst pickup line you have ever heard?
If you were a booger I’d pick you first. I laughed, then ran away.
Can you tell us about a crazy fan/stalker incident?
I haven’t encountered anything too crazy from our fans. The Houston Texans have very respectable fans that really support us.
Where do you hope your NFL Cheerleading experience will lead you to?
I hope it will help me stay self-driven and well-balanced so I can finish my degree in Pharmacy.
You all look so gorgeous on the field. How do you manage to look so perfectly coiffed throughout the routines and in all types of weather?
I always use a lot of waterproof makeup, so just in case I break a sweat during routines you wouldn’t be able to tell. I also love my bottle of hairspray because it keeps all those flyaways from getting in my face when I dance.
Do you have any “beauty secrets” that you can share with our readers?
Water, drink lots of it. It keeps me going and keeps my skin looking healthy.
What advice do you have for young girls aspiring to become NFL Cheerleaders?
Dancing can open up many doors for you, from making great friends to just plain networking for your future career. So my first advice would be to try to take classes at a local studio and take ballet, jazz, and hip-hop classes in order develop a strong technical background, which will help you become a well-rounded dancer. My second advice would be to always dance with your heart and to work as hard as you can.
Some great performance videos with Duyen!