Our offseason spotlight shines on second-year Titans Cheerleader, Mariel, a full-time student and part-time model. At only 22 years old, she's already accomplished more than many accomplish in a lifetime! She's the definition of working hard and following her dreams!
You have had many awards, accolades and accomplishments in your life thus far. Can you give us a rundown of all of the endeavors where you've been recognized for your achievements?
|Meet Mariel and the rest of the |
2013 Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders!
Giving back to the community is a "way of life" for me. I have received recommendations from the White House, Mayor, and from the U.S. Congress and Senate for my community service involvement. I was selected and attended the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington D.C. and represented the State of Tennessee's youth at the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
I was the recipient of the Tennessee Citizenship Award. I have been heavily involved with the Mid-South Toys for Tots — United States Marines, Block that Bully, Walk for One, Reading is Fundamental, Malawi Charities, and other organizations where I love to volunteer my service. I was featured in the Edition of Memphis Women Magazine as an Outstanding Young Woman of Memphis.
With pageantry I was selected as the first ever crowned Recipient of the Miss Universal Ambassador Lifetime Achievement Award which was recorded in the Royal Registry of The Library of Congress and copyrighted as the only individual to receive this designation, because of my career achievements in the field of pageantry. Some of the titles that I have successfully held include:
- 2011 Miss Tennessee United States
- 3rd Runner-up in the 2011 Miss United States National Pageant and Miss Congeniality
- 2010 Miss Tennessee Teen United States
- 1st Runner-up in 2010 Miss Teen United States National Pageant
- 2007 Miss Tennessee Teen America
I have won state and national titles within the American Coed Systems, Black Universe Systems, Miss International Beautiful, etc.
- Presently signed with The Block Modeling Agency
- Nominee/Finalist in the Cynthia Bailey Modeling Competition
- 2012 October Edition "Jet Beauty"
- 2010 Vivica Fox J'Adore Magazine Swimsuit Competition Winner,
- Featured on MATA (Mephis Area Transit Authority) city bus as the Dance Model for 19th Annual National Dance Week
- Printed in publications and received model assignments for Arts Memphis, Billboards, Commercial Appeal, and Mid- South Wedding Guide
I have been studying Ballet since the age of three, and dancing has been part of my life as long as I can remember. I earned Distinction/Merit on the Vocational Exams of Royal Academy of Dance of London (Intermediate Foundation & Intermediate Level and Advance). Also, I was excited when I graduated 2007 with Distinction from Royal Academy of Ballet Graded Syllabus. I am humbled to have had the opportunities to dance in various major productions and worked with National and International dancers and choreographers throughout the world such as Russian Moscow Ballet, Echoes of Truth, Dr. Mel Tomlinson, Mr. Matthew Keefe, Ms. Karen Zissoff , Ms. Judith Davies of Ontario, Canada, and many more leaders of this field. One of my biggest dreams as a child changed into reality was when I became an NFL cheerleader.
*You have had to prepare for pageants, as well as becoming a TTC. How do the preparations differ? *
Preparing for pageants and preparing for TTC are very similar. With pageants you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, know yourself completely, and hunt for the perfect wardrobe and the same goes for being a TTC. The difference would be adding in the dance element. In pageants there is only one winner of the crown, and you must prepare yourself for that also, and with Titans there are usually a couple of winners. Most pageant organizations not only look for beautiful women with great physiques and pretty smiles, but many times they dig deeper to find that girl with a sincere and sweet personality, with ambition and finesse. The same goes for the Titans, our coach looks past the outside appearance and dance ability, to find the all-around woman.
What initially made you want to try out for the TTC, and how has it changed you as a woman? As a dancer?
Initially I tried out for Titans Cheerleading because it was always a lifetime goal of mine to become an NFL cheerleader. It has really made me develop into the woman I am today. Our coach, Stacie Kinder, helps push each and every one of us to our full potential through her words, actions and by being a true example.
You are a finalist to become a signed model at Cynthia Bailey's 'Bailey Agency' in Atlanta. How did that come about and what did you do to prepare for that accomplishment? If chosen, what are the responsibilities you will be facing?
It began when one of my best friends, Jordan, sending me to the link of the contest by tagging my name to a post she made on her Instagram page. Her staff went through thousands of models to choose their top 50 finalists. I was totally surprised that I was chosen out of all of the models that were in the running. To prepare for that accomplishment, I have been working at what I enjoy doing, which means constantly booking with different photographers and clients and actually doing research and practicing. If I were chosen I would have the option to take a one-year contract with the agency and would travel to Atlanta for a fashion photo shoot with her photographer.
Take us through a normal day for Mariel.
I am a full-time student as well as a cheerleader so my day usually starts around 6:30 in the morning and ends around 12 at night. I wake up, pray, get ready, prepare for my day and usually either go for a run or work-out at the gym. From there I go to class from 9:40 a.m. to 3 p.m. I also use to work at an elementary school during their afterschool hours, where I now volunteer. I work with children from 3:30 to 6 p.m., and from there commute to Nashville for practice. I get to our practice facility usually 30 minutes early where I practice material that we went over in our previous practice, until that practice starts. We practice until 9:45, and then I make it to the house around 10:45 p.m. When I finally get home, I get settled in and do homework until I fall asleep, and wake up and do it all over again!
Choose your preferences:
Tennis shoes or dance shoes? Dance shoes (definitely)
Juice or water? Water (Crystal Light)
Heels or flats?Heels!!!!!!
Chicken or turkey? Turkey
One piece or bikini? Bikini
Treadmill or elliptical? Treadmill
Game days or appearances? Appearances (There is nothing like actually interacting with fans and being hands on in the community. It gives our fans and the general public a true sense of what it is to be a TTC).
What is your ultimate goal in life?
My ultimate goal in life is to make God proud of me. No matter what I attain in this world, I never want to lose sight of what is really important.
*You auditioned for the TTC and did not make it your first year. What prompted you to audition again, and what changes did you make for the second time around? *
Yes, I was let down when I did not make the team the first time, but becoming an NFL cheerleader was a lifetime goal of mine, and I was determined to make the team. I was not prepared my first year, but I gave it all I had my second time around. I changed my eating habits, and stayed diligent with working out. I knew my problem area and I worked on it every day. I was blessed with the guidance of Jennifer Hill, a TTC alumni and former Pro Bowl Cheerleader, during the process. Her encouragement, guidance, and tough love helped give me the winning edge for the next year.
If you could ask anyone in the world anything, who would it be and what would you ask him/her?
I would ask Oprah Winfrey what were her fears when going for her dreams.
What are some stereotypes of being a professional cheerleader that is totally false?
Some stereotypes of professional cheerleaders that are totally false would be that they are rude and artificial. I hear these stereotypes way too often, and they are the farthest from the truth. My teammates are not only intelligent, but are some of the kindest and most down-to-earth women that anyone would ever meet.
*Who is your all-time favorite Titans player? *
My all-time favorite player would be Steve McNair.
What would you tell young women to be aware of when they are attempting to enter the entertainment field?
I would tell them what my mother always told me, and that was to be aware of self. Many times it is very easy to get wrapped up in everything that is being said to you, that you almost lose yourself in the process. It is vital to know yourself, and never lose sight. This isn't an easy field, and you must be open to criticism and change, but at the same time, stay true to who you are.