Fashion shows are generally viewed as opportunities to admire the female form, and it would be a lie to say that wasn't the case this past Friday as the Dolphins cheerleaders worked the catwalk at Hard Rock Stadium, but the underlying theme was a bit different than usual this year, as the cover girls (along with the rest of the squad) were depicted much differently than what's the norm for things like this.
They wore no makeup at all in their photos.
"This is the coolest year to be on a cover," Cheerleader Paige said. "Because it's just raw images of us, completely untouched. So you get to see our inner beauty through our eyes, I get to tell a story through my picture, and I think that's very special to me, that just being myself with no makeup on it is going to be handed out to people and people are going to admire it."
For the very first segment of the fashion show, the theme was called "You Be You," and it gave the cheerleaders the opportunity to design their own outfits and let their personalities shine through the way they wanted it to, and there was definitely no shortage of variety as the girls came out to show them off.
"We kinda got to wear whatever we wanted, that we felt represented us in the best way." said Cheerleader Katie. "I really liked this part because we all are so different, we don't have one image similar to the next, we are the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders 2018 because of all 36 of us. So I felt like it was really a chance for us to contribute to that and show people how different we are and how diverse our team is."
In many ways, this is groundbreaking stuff for the NFL, as the Miami Dolphins continue their crusade against injustice and discrimination in the world. Owner Stephen Ross started up RISE (Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality) back in 2015 as a way to combat racism in the world of sports.
But women also need help.
"It's definitely hard as a woman in this world, and in industries like this," said Katie. "It's hard to overcome rejection and overcome stereotypes. We are one of the most stereotyped groups in the industry, unfortunately. It's nice to be the first to overcome it. I feel like we're setting a foundation for all NFL teams, all cheerleaders, and it's really a blessing to be able to do that, be the first to do that and be a part of that movement."
"It's really tough," said Paige. "When you look at cheerleaders, you look at all the rhinestones, the bright lipstick, perfectly manicured, and it's almost sad that little girls will look up to us and think that that's what they're supposed to look like. So I think this direction that we're taking is very, very huge, because we do have a lot of little girls that are looking up to us, so they get to see these pictures and they're like, 'well you know, Paige is on the cover and she has no makeup and I love that photo of her,' so we're hoping to encourage women and little girls to be proud in the skin that they are in and just embrace their inner and outer beauty that God has given them."
This will likely be only the beginning for the movement that the Dolphins Cheerleaders kicked off on Friday; in a world where equality is something so strongly sought after, this is an excellent start, and one can only imagine what the future will hold.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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