DCC Alumni Spotlight – Melissa Valdez
I had the privilege and honor of speaking to 5-year veteran, Pro Bowl Cheerleader, Veteran of the Year, and perfect DCC ambassador, Melissa Valdez, also known as Mija, sometimes Pocahontas! I am blown away by all of Mija’s accomplishments as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Her aspirations to be a cheerleader, along with achieving her dream have shaped her life since she was born. I am so inspired by her story and could not be happier to be paired up with such a legendary DCC.
Mija’s dream to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader started at the young age of 3 years old. She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she grew up dancing around the house and pretending to be a DCC. At the age of 7, she and her family moved to Bedford, Texas. She took this as a sign that she would in fact be a DCC one day.
Mija trained at Kitty Carter’s Dance Factory where she was taught by Alumni Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Kitty Carter. She finished high school in 1994 and, at the age of 18, auditioned for DCC and began her Rookie year! She made Show Group and performed with all the veteran cheerleaders in uniform before actually making the team. Mija cheered for 3 years with the organization and retired to take a break, due to a knee injury, instead of coming back for her 4th year.
At age 25, Mija received a call from her two DCC friends, Ronda Cates Moren and Tandra Cromer, who asked her to come back to DCC and be a cheerleader again. Her time was not yet finished as a cheerleader. She trusted her gut and auditioned for her 4th year on the team in 2000. She not only made the team but became a DCC Leader. She traveled the world, made more friends, danced more late nights, and cheered her heart out at Texas Stadium.
The following year, she decided to audition for her 5th year. Mija, along with one other DCC was 1 of only 2 cheerleaders chosen to go on a USO tour to Afghanistan. This was right after 9/11, so she wasn’t advised where she was going until she actually landed in Afghanistan. Her mom wasn’t even aware of where she was going until she saw Mija on LIVE TV in Afghanistan. Crazy story! What an honor to be one of two people to be chosen to represent the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders during this time.
Mija’s sixth year with the Dallas Cowboys Organization looked a little different. She came back as an All-Star Cheerleader; however, she was still very involved. She was still performing, doing appearances while also working in the office, on top of her full-time job.
Mija is definitely one of those people you are never ready to see leave the Dallas Cowboys Organization. During this brief time of getting to know her, I felt like we had known each other for years! Her charismatic, humorous and easy-going personality is contagious, and you just can’t help but want to be her friend. I had so much fun hearing about her incredible time as a Cheerleader. She is a true example of what the Dallas Cowboys Organization is all about. I am so glad I had the opportunity to connect with her and honored to call her my DCC sister!