Ah, the glamorous life of an NFL cheerleader: swimsuit calendars, great tans, the swooning hearts of men everywhere ...
Well, it's not quite that bad. But a new report in TBD.com shows just how hard it is for these ladies to make split ends meet.
The story meticulously goes through the price of looking not only gorgeous, but more gorgeous than the other dozens of aspirants for the few NFL jobs. Some examples:
Audition-day make-up: $75.
Gym membership: $36.99 per month.
Skin tinting: $45.
Hair extensions: $270.
Jazz dancing class: $15 per session.
LASIK eye surgery: $1,500-$2,200.
That doesn't include clothes -- both workout wear and nicer apparel for public appearances. And of course, it doesn't include salon time.
And what do the cheerleaders get as a return on investment? Around $75 per home game. That's just north of $20 per hour, which can be earned through a nice babysitting gig in a tony suburb.
An entire season can add up to less than $1,000, the story reports. (Some teams make even less than $75 a game.)
For those Neanderthals out there who think all cheerleaders are dingbats, many have college degrees and many have jobs in the nursing or teaching industries. Competition is fierce, so intellect and background are nearly as crucial as looks.
Some land other gigs, like the 42-year-old Bengals cheerleader who got a movie deal, but for the most part, off-the-field pickings are as slim as the waistlines.
And don't think the lockout gives cheerleaders the summer "off." Teams are still visiting hospitals and entertaining the troops. The Jaguars' team even has the equivalent of two-a-days this summer, with three-hour practices in 90-degree heat and humidity. "It's business as usual," says Jaguars team manager Christy Zynda.
Too bad business is not always as beautiful as it seems.