Gold Rush cheerleader, Tina, is just your typical Asian American gal from The Bay. As a former NBA Cheerleader for the Golden State Warriors, Tina always had it in her heart to become a cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers. True to her Asian upbringing, you won’t find this girl living an all pleasure and no work lifestyle though. Tina graduated from the University of San Francisco with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing and is a full time Register Nurse. Awwwww! A pretty girl with a big heart! Asiance had a chance to catch up with Tina right before she was leaving for her trip to New Orleans to cheer on her team! See what else this lovely Filipina has to say about herself and growing up Asian in America!
My parents are the first to come over from their family and my sister and I are the first born in America.
ASIANCE: What inspired you to become an NFL Cheerleader?
Tina: Growing up in San Francisco, I’ve always looked up to the Gold Rush cheerleaders because of their poise, class and their professionalism. I really loved that they weren’t just focused on dance, but on other things such as being into the community. I always wanted to be a professional dancer or try out for a professional NFL team.
ASIANCE: You grew up in San Francisco?
Tina: I grew up in San Francisco. I went to school in San Francisco . I went to the University of San Francisco and went to high school at Sacred Heart, which is in the city. Home was about 15 minutes away. I always consider myself growing up in the Bay Area. My entire family is 49ers’ fans.
My parents are from the Philippines. My parents are the first to come over from their family and my sister and I are the first born in America.
ASIANCE: How long have you been a professional cheerleader?
Tina: I’ve been two years with the Gold Rush and prior to that, I was an NBA cheerleader for two years for the Warriors.
ASIANCE: Are you a Jeremy Lin fan?
Tina: I was not on the team when he was a player. I left the first year he was there but I remember going to the games. Every time he would come on the court or any mention of him, the Bay area would go crazy!!
ASIANCE: Was that before Linsanity or after?
Tina: Everyone loved him. Can’t remember the timeline.
ASIANCE: Have you ever performed at the Super Bowl before?
Tina: No. I would always watch the Super Bowl every year. Last year, we got really close but this year we’re going to actually perform. This is my first time ever going to a Super Bowl.
ASIANCE: What are you looking forward to about your Super Bowl performance?
Tina: There is just so much going on the days ahead of the Super Bowl. There are so many events. But the most important thing I’m looking forward to is cheering on our team. I feel like I’m cheering on our city..Our city is having such a great year. The Giants won the World Series. Now, we’re headed to the Super Bowl. The Warriors are having a great season as well. I feel so good about all of us coming together and celebrating and cheering on our guys!
ASIANCE: What background do you have that contributed to your success as a professional cheerleader?
Tina: I haven’t had too much formal, technical background. You know how some girls have been taking dance since they were like 5? I did ballet for 1 year when I was in fourth grade. I was such a shy kid that my mom didn’t know that and didn’t put me back on it.
I think I got back into dance because my mom pushed us into extracurricular activities. So I pretty much did everything. I did sports, dance teams. I think that is where I really found my passion in afterschool dance teams.
In high school, I joined a local dance team in the Bay Area. I would go to the Warrior games and thought I should try out. I tried out and made it the first year!
After college, and after I landed my job, I missed dance so much. I always had my eye on the Gold Rush cheerleaders. I was also so inspired by them. Not even just as dancers but as the whole package. I auditioned and I made it! I’m just so excited to be a part of it.
ASIANCE: Did you get any resistance from your family as this occupation defies traditional Asian Family Values?
Tina: The only resistance I received was when I first mentioned my interested because she dreamed about one of her daughters being a nurse. I was in nursing school at the time. She didn’t want it to take away from my education at all. I think she was very surprised how passionate I was about it. In the end, I think I was able to convince her. Now she is just so happy for me and my entire family is so supportive. I’ve been really fortunate that my family has been so supportive.
ASIANCE: You are a nurse?
Tina: Yes I’ve been a Registered Nurse for about 2 years. You have to love it. It’s still hard.
ASIANCE: Who is your favorite current San Francisco 49ers player?
Tina: Colin Kaepernick. I just really love how he was able to step up to the plate when he needed to. There was all this press about Alex Smith versus Colin Kaepernick.. People doubted that he could take us this far. I’m impressed that he was able to step up to the plate and reach his potential. He’s still living up to his potential. He just impressed everyone. I also think that he is so humble about everything, especially when people ask about the Alex Smith issue. They’re both great quarterbacks. It’s not about them individually but about the team.
ASIANCE: What cheerleader(s) do you admire?
Tina: It’s hard to pick one. I can honestly say that all my teammates inspire me. I don’t think enough of the world knows how amazing they are. I think people have this stereotype about cheerleaders. For example, I’m a nurse. We have engineers and women trying to get their PHDs. We also have teachers. I’m always inspired by them and I feel so honored to dance next to them.
ASIANCE: How often do you practice?
Tina: We practice on Saturdays. That’s why it works well for all of us who have jobs. We’ll also have a practice before a game, in the morning.
ASIANCE: Which did you like better? NBA or NFL?
Tina: I get that question alot. It’s hard to answer. They are such different playing fields. I can’t choose either one. NBA was more of a time commitment. We had about 44 games. That worked with my schedule as a student. Working and being a Gold Rush cheerleader feels the same in terms of time commitment. I think it’s amazing we’re going to the Super Bowl, so Gold Rush!
ASIANCE: Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
Tina: I was more of sporty type growing up. I played Volleyball, Basketball, Track&Field. Cheerleading is more girly.
ASIANCE: What is the greatest accomplishment in your life thus far?
Tina: I feel so blessed to live out most of my dreams at the same time. I love dancing and nursing. I’m fortunate to do both at the same time.
ASIANCE: Name three words that describe you.
Tina: Loving, Playful, Hard-worker
ASIANCE: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
Tina: It be my Grandma. She passed away a year before I got onto my first professional team and my graduation from nursing. She lived with us and played a role in both mine and my sister’s lives. She would have loved to have come out to the games.
ASIANCE: What is your favorite activity to do in San Francisco?
Tina: Doing all the touristy things. I love getting lost and finding my way and getting lost in the culture of San Francisco.
ASIANCE: What is your best feature?
Tina: My hair. It’s big and curly, even after the dancing!
ASIANCE: How many Asians on the Gold Rush?
Tina: We have 3 that are Asian..We have a handful who are Hapa! They are gorgeous.
ASIANCE: What is the most adventurous thing you have done?
Tina: I’d love to go skydiving. And when I do, that will be the most adventurous thing I’ve done. I guess traveling around. I went to Japan and continue to travel around to other places.
ASIANCE: What routine are you doing for the Super Bowl?
Tina: We’ll be performing on the sidelines and so will the Baltimore Ravens’ cheerleaders.
ASIANCE: Do you think that Asian/Asian American Women are finally making strides on the professional cheerleading squads?
Tina: I’m starting to notice alot more now. Diversity is a beautiful thing.
ASIANCE: What was the worst pickup line you have ever heard?
Tina: I think people are catching on and not using pick up lines. I can honestly say no one has ever used a pickup line on me.
ASIANCE: Can you tell us about a crazy fan/stalker incident?
Tina: Our team is really good with security. Never had an incident while I was with the 49ers. But when I was younger, my classmate would steal my pen and sell it to a boy who had a crush on me! haha! That is the only thing I can think of.
ASIANCE: You all look so gorgeous on the field. How do you manage to look so perfect throughout the routines and in all types of weather?
Tina: We have professional hairstylists and makeup artists. So in the beginning, they teach us how to do our hair and makeup. On game days they help us with our looks. They play a big role.
ASIANCE: Do you have any “beauty secrets” that you can share with our readers?
Tina: Two things. My latest favorite thing is dry shampoo. It gives you a quick fix and makes your hair smell good. I love Fresh’s chapstick called Sugar. It’s my favorite. I’m addicted.
ASIANCE: What advice do you have for young girls aspiring to become NFL Cheerleaders?
Tina: I would definitely say work hard. Put your all into it. Also remember to have fun with it. Don’t get caught up or stressed with the routines. Remember you’re doing it to have fun with it. When people see you are having fun, then it makes their experience all the more better!