The New England Patriots have put together their cheerleading squad for the upcoming season and for the second consecutive year Terryville native Alex Brandy will be on the sidelines at Gillette Stadium dressed in red, white and blue.
The Patriots’ audition process takes six weeks and Brandy was one of the 34 women to be selected, 15 of which - including Brandy - are returning from last season.
“I feel so honored to back for another season,” Brandy said. “As a rookie on the team last year, I was so fortunate to be part of the best season imaginable and to get the chance to do it all over again is just incredible. The audition process was a rigorous six weeks long. Over five hundred candidates attended the sessions. Even though I am now considered a veteran, everyone I met throughout the process was extremely talented and beautiful and to be selected from among that group of women is humbling.”
While being back with the squad this season is a great feeling for Brandy, last season is going to be a hard experience to follow. The Patriots went 14-2 in the regular season and bulldozed their way to the Super Bowl in Houston, to which the cheerleaders accompanied the team. New England completed the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to win the organization’s fifth title.
“Being on the sidelines for Super Bowl LI was surreal. It still gives me chills thinking about the experience,” Brandy said. “Stepping out onto the field, listening to the crowd roar, watching as the greatest team in the NFL takes the field and then makes the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, it just doesn’t get any better. It’s just one of those incredible memories you carry with you for the rest of your life.”
Making the Patriots cheerleading squad last season was the culmination of a lot of work over a long period of time for Brandy, who graduated from Dean College in 2013 with a degree in dance.
“I started my cheerleading way back in middle school, but more importantly started dancing when I was just three years old and went on to graduate from Dean College as a dance major,” Brandy said. “The majority of our performances as New England Patriots cheerleaders are dance routines and being a professional dancer gives me the confidence to perform in front of the fans - both at the stadium and at home in their living rooms. I love every minute of it.”
In addition to being from Terryville, Brandy still lives in Connecticut in the offseason and has a few dance/fitness related jobs, including being a dance instructor at Apogee Dance Academy in Southington. Terryville has a population of under 6,000 and how small it is and how far she has come are not lost on Brandy.
“Growing up in a small town makes all of these experiences this past year feel larger than life,” she said. “When I was young, just driving across the state to go to the beach felt like an adventure. Back then, I would have never thought I’d soon be on my way to Aruba for our calendar shoot at the Divi & Tamarijn Aruba Resort.”
With her first season with the Patriots now in the rearview mirror and her second season ahead of her, being on the team has not gotten old for Brandy and she is excited for the 2017 season.
“Being a New England Patriots cheerleader has been a dream come true,” Brandy said. “It has been my goal for many years and to be able to put that uniform on and step out onto the field is the most incredible feeling in the world. Not only do we get to perform at Gillette Stadium in front of 70,000 fans, my team and I also have the opportunity to host charity events and travel.
“It’s an all-around extraordinary experience.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @K_baum30