DCC Alumni Spotlight – Monica Cravinas Pennie
Interviewed by Miranda
I’m originally from New Orleans, Louisiana where I attended Louisiana State University. Much to my dismay, I am not a trained dancer. As a student at LSU, I took a few dance classes and got the grand idea that I would try out for the two LSU dance teams- the Tiger Girls, and the Golden Girls. I failed miserably and did not make either team. Call it overly ambitious or just dumb luck, I tried out for the New Orleans Saintsations two weeks after failing my other auditions. Much to my surprise, I made the team.
I cheered for the New Orleans Saints for one year before moving onto the Cowboys. The year I auditioned for DCC, they were hosting nationwide auditions. They were traveling to different cities to hold auditions for future team members. I had always dreamed of being on the team but, was too afraid to audition because I did not have the training. Since they were doing nationwide auditions, I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, so I gave it a shot. I tried out in Baton Rouge and made it to finals and then made the team.
My rookie season with DCC did not come without some challenges. I spent a lot of time in Kelli’s office. I was sure I was going to get sent home, but Kelli and Judy took a chance on me. I spent four years on the team and served as second Group Leader for three of those years. I think my favorite memory is the first time Kelli called my name to be a second Group Leader. After struggling so much as a rookie, I was completely shocked. They saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself. That gave me so much confidence and pride. It was probably one of my best moments in my adult life. It reminded me that it doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish. I will never forget how I felt that day.
While cheering, I also finished up my degree with a BA in marketing from UTA. I currently work as a Senior Biopharmaceutical representative for a biologics company. I have a beautiful family which I adore. I spend a lot of time at baseball games and dance studios with my two little ones.
I have truly been very blessed in my life. Being a part of DCC has definitely impacted me as a woman. I developed a greater sense of self-worth and grit that can never be taken away. I made some of my best friends while cheering.
My advice to anyone cheering, or considering auditioning, is to know your own worth. I think it’s extremely important to have a good sense of self before embarking on any journey. There will be some hard days, there will be some days that you doubt yourself, and there will be days where you just don’t feel good enough. You have to lean on the inner strength that God gives you to know that you are worth it and that you can do whatever it is you have placed upon your mind. Follow your heart’s passion and it won’t lead you wrong.