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Born Leader, became Cheer

Vincenzo Cammarata

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Now they are everywhere, appearing in music videos and participating in TV shows. But when this story had started they were amongst the first. In Milan.

October: a short news update on the Web announced the selection of a new cheerleading squad. Selections and training were to be held at the "Stadio Brianteo" in Monza, complete with green, lino floors and reinforced grey concrete cement. For the sake of curiosity I decided to take part in the selection process.

For documentation purposes only, of course, but as I'll discover later, the first cheerleader in 1898 was called Johnny and he was as clean cut as I am today.

It's a small step from the "Stadio Brianteo" to the "San Siro" stadium if you pass through the Vigorelli and support the "Rhinos" (Champions of the IFL - American football), and in May I found myself in the middle of the "Meazza" pitch to portray the emotions of around a dozen girls in uniform inside the Milanese "temple of sport", while they flaunted themselves during a charity match.

Despite the stereotypes of being a cheerleader, actually being one is a mission. You have to train yourself, sweat, suffer, fall and get back up again with the emotional strength of an athlete. A squad is a plularity not an invidual and one needs to be disciplined, team spirited, to put the team at the centre and be trustworthy. These are the principle ingredients. In order to build something remarkable you need to rely on and trust each other; ultimately what really matters is who you can count on.

The aesthetic approach to the photographs aims to tell the story from a distant, ironic and fun perspective that highlights the effort that these girls have put in to promote such a new and exotic sport.

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