Monica Aldama interview: ‘Cheer’
“We had no idea when we were filming this that it would be so big,” reveals Monica Aldama (“Cheer”), the coach of the Navarro College cheer team and the star of Netflix’s docuseries. “It is cheerleading, and cheerleading does have a stereotype, so we weren’t really prepared for what was to come.” Aldama joins Gold Derby as part of our Meet the Experts: Reality TV panel (watch the exclusive video interview above).
The inspirational coach continues, “Our lives kind of went from zero to 100 really fast [after Season 1]. We were just taking it in, all of these wonderful opportunities came our way. But obviously with something this big comes some devastating things as well. So the past two years have been, if you’ve watched Season 2, lots of ups and downs and difficult times.”
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“The good thing about living in a small town in Texas is that my day to day life doesn’t feel very different,” Aldama explains. “I still feel very normal and the same and I still get up every day and go to Navarro College and coach. But outside of that little bubble is very different and we’re just taking every day as it comes and seeing what comes at us.”
Netflix streamed the second season on January 12, 2022, which makes it eligible for the upcoming Emmy Awards. The first season won three Creative Arts Emmys in 2020 for Best Unstructured Reality Program, Best Reality Directing (Greg Whiteley) and Best Reality Picture Editing. “We love trophies!” Aldama laughs when we bring up the list of awards the program has received. “It’s never about the trophy that you get, it’s about the acknowledgment of all of the wonderful things that you’ve done.”
“Cheer” Season 2 chronicles the “difficult times” Aldama alluded to earlier, including the sexual allegations against cheerleader Jerry Harris and the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the NCA National Championship to be canceled in 2020. “Because it is a docuseries, it is to tell our story, and you don’t really want to hide anything,” she says. “That was a part of the journey that we were on, as devastating as it was for us. I don’t think there was ever a question of not covering that story… as gently but honestly as possible.”
Also in our exclusive video interview, Aldama talks about appearing on “Dancing With the Stars,” she reflects on what it means to be an inspiration to so many young people, and she addresses some of the misconceptions that people may have about cheerleading.