As the Seattle Seahawks take the field during Sunday’s Super Bowl to square off against the Denver Broncos, there will be one extra-tough cheerleader rooting them on. Alicia Quaco, 25, isn’t just a a member of the “Sea Gals,” she’s also in the United States Air Force.
Here is what you need to know about this soldier by day, cheerleader by night:
1. She Went to the Air Force Academy
At the age of 18, according to the New York Post, Quaco graduated from the Air Force Academy and joined the military.
Quaco told the Post she had to give a formal presentation to her superiors at the Air Force before they would allow her to do it, “I told them it’s good for recruitment. It shows that the Air Force is well-rounded, that we can do other things, too. It’s great for women recruits to know that.”
2. She is a Contract Manager
Quaco serves as a manager for the Air Force’s many contracts, ranging from the production of hardware to employment.
3. She’s One of 32 ‘Sea Gals’
All of the 32 women in the “Sea Gals,” the cheerleading squad for the Seattle Seahawks, and will be making an appearance, along with Quaco, at Sunday’s Super Bowl in New Jersey.
4. Cheerleading is a Low-Paying Part-Time Job
NFL cheerleading is, for most women, only an evening job. Recently, cheerleaders have been speaking out about the low salaries and long practices they have to endure on top of their day jobs. This movement culminated in a current law suit against the Oakland Raiders which you can hear more about above.
Women are often paid only a little over $1,000 for an entire season, and not paid until the season is over. This means they make less than $5 and hour for their long and grueling practices, games, and appearances.
5. An NFL Cheerleading Handbook Leaked, Exposing Demeaning Rules
Last week a journalist at the Los Angeles Times wrote about a the “super-secret” guidebook of the Oakland Raider cheerleaders, and the media was more than a little upset at what the book contained. The women were fined for missing rehearsals, given strict codes of etiquette by which to live, and were even forced to provide their own pompoms.