As college students, we are prone to breakdowns every now and again because of the amount of stress we are under to get things done while trying to have a social life. The amount that we have to do is nothing compared to Brianna Munoz’s schedule. Brianna is a senior at Providence College who just happens to be a Patriots Cheerleader, along with being a Resident Assistant and a member of Liturgical Ministry, PC Dance Company (where she is a choreographer as well as a dancer), the Special Olympics, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and the Relay for Life. Not to mention the fact that she is doing all of this while double majoring in chemistry and biology, the two hardest major at PC, in hopes of becoming a dentist. I bet you’re rethinking that last phone call to mom crying about how much work you have to do. I interviewed Brianna to get to know her and learn just how she gets it all done:
What compelled you to tryout for the Patriots' Cheerleading squad?
I was a semi-finalist in the Miss Massachusetts USA Pageant in November 2010. Because of rehearsals, interviews, and the busy pageant weekend schedule, all contestants were required to stay in a hotel and were assigned a roommate. It just so happened that my roommate was a Patriots Cheerleader! I was so excited to meet her and after asking a million questions, she told me about the overall audition process and what a positive experience it has been for her. I looked into it online and found that the auditions were the weekend I was home for spring break. My mom was the only person I told about this farfetched goal, and I put it on my bucket list for junior year. However, once spring break came along, I was so stressed after working on my chemistry seminar presentation every day that I didn’t feel up to going. My mom reminded me that I should be proud of myself for finishing my chemistry presentation and encouraged me to follow through with accomplishing this goal. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anything and went to the audition for the experience itself. I knew that just being able to learn a few routines in the field house where the Patriots players practice would be an incredible experience. Once I saw a line of over 200 women that wrapped through the field house and into the parking lot, I was so intimidated that I didn’t want to get out of the car! … Before making the first cut, the cheering coach really inspired me when she applauded all of us for making the effort of getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning to come one step closer to accomplishing our goals. After seeing the building slowly but steadily empty throughout the day as more cuts were made, it started to hit me that this farfetched dream may actually become a reality. Contrary to my expectations, I didn’t leave the field house until 8 hours later.
What was the tryout experience like for the squad?
The audition process to become a New England Patriots Cheerleader was seven weeks long, and one of the longest in the NFL. A 31-member squad was selected this year. Preliminary auditions consisted of 3 cuts and had 3 components performed in front of a panel of judges; an across the floor combination, free style, and a choreographed routine. Those who made it through prelims had a one-on-one interview with the cheerleader director and advanced onto finals two weeks later. Boot camp was the last element of auditions. After public speaking and media training, learning choreography, and partaking in fitness training which included Insanity, P90X, and running the ramps at Gillette, the 2011-2012 squad was announced. Boot camp was amidst RA duty and the tech week for the PC Dance Company Spring Show in which I choreographed a West Side Story Medley.
How much cheerleading experience do you have?
Starting at the age of 2 years old, dance has always had a profound impact on my life. One of my fondest childhood memories was dancing the role of Clara in Boston Dance Company’s, The Nutcracker. I was accepted into Boston Ballet at a young age and have always been moved by using the body as instrument in depicting a story. After being given the opportunity to choreograph for the Providence College Dance Company, I have been captivated by the act of visualizing an idea, whether it is a concept, movement, or formation, and seeing it come to life onstage.
How do you juggle being an RA, a full time student, and a professional cheerleader?
Working both as an RA and as a Patriots Cheerleader while being a chemistry and biology double major definitely takes a lot of time management and planning in advance. However, I think facing challenges throughout life certainly motivates you to be a better person. On a week-to-week basis, it’s imperative that I always stay very organized and focused on what needs to be accomplished. With promotional events and practice beforehand, game day is usually an 8-hour event. When a weekend comes along without a home football game, I spend the nights on RA duty in Meagher Hall. So, I’m definitely busy. But, both jobs have provided rewarding experiences and have enabled me to grow as a person and as a student.
What is your favorite thing about being a Patriots Cheerleader?
Along with the indescribable feeling of being on the field at Gillette Stadium, my favorite part of being a Patriots Cheerleader would have to be the many opportunities to partake in promotional work, which oftentimes consists of meeting with business owners who sponsor the team. From visiting children at hospitals to participating in cancer walks, volunteerism is a fundamental part of being on the cheering squad.
Who is your favorite player on the Patriots?
Tom Brady is definitely my favorite player. While always emulating a strong sense of dedication and focus, he possesses an admirable work ethic that motivates the rest of the team.
Where are you from and what do you miss the most about home?
I’m from Worcester, Massachusetts, and being of Italian and Hispanic descent, the thing that I miss most is the big family gatherings accompanied by good homemade food!
What brought you to PC?
I am a recipient of the Liberal Arts Honors St. Catherine of Siena Scholarship as well as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship, and found Providence College to be unique in following the Dominican tradition while fostering a strong campus community that respects the dignity and diversity of all students. I think the Western Civilization program cultivates well-rounded students and, as a science major, I am very grateful to have gained comprehensive knowledge of the humanities. Also, I love that the city of Providence is so rich in culture and has the best food!
What is most memorable experience at PC so far?
The most rewarding experience I’ve had at PC has been working as a Resident Assistant in Meagher Hall. Besides upholding the mission of Providence College, I also act as an important resource to engage the girls in campus involvement, enforce college policy, and provide counseling when dealing with different situations. Each year I bring residents to volunteer at the Special Olympics basketball tournament as well as the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. During the holidays I organize a Support Our Troops program to make cards for deployed alumni of the Providence College ROTC program. This past year, a stationed alumnus actually wrote back to the ROTC office saying how much the cards from my residents meant to him. From these service experiences, I’ve definitely learned how important it is to use your gifts and talents to give back and make a difference in the community.
What is your favorite place at PC or in Providence?
Going to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch with my Mom.
What is the best class you've taken at PC?
Of all the chemistry classes that I took during my college years, organic chemistry has interested me the most. I liked being able to follow reactions step by step and understand the movement of electrons. Another course that has most interested me was Honors Western Civ. It is a course that makes Providence College truly unique and one that I most value. I think Civ. cultivates well-rounded students and, as a science major, I am very grateful to have gained comprehensive knowledge of the humanities. Civ. introduced me to such captivating classics as Homer’s The Iliad, Dante’s Inferno, Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. The timeless literature and philosophy that I read in Civ. greatly impacted my life as a student and enabled me to grow in my knowledge and appreciation of the arts in the Western world.
What is something on your “bucket list”? I would love to be Jasmine at Disney World.
If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
I would love to read minds. I think it would be a very useful super-power, especially when trying to figure out the male species.
If you could cast an actress to play you in a film about your life, who would it be?
I would choose Eva Longoria because she is smart, independent, stylish, and feisty. Also, my AP Spanish teacher used to call me one of the Desperate Housewives.
What is the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard?
“Am I at the McDonald’s Drive-Thru? Because you’re a McGorgeous.”
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
It was a tie between one of the Spice Girls, a pediatrician, a ballerina, and a weather girl.
What is your favorite way to stay in shape?
Zumba! You don’t even realize you’re burning calories because you’re having so much fun!
What is the beauty product you can’t live without?
I can’t live without my “Sugar Cookie” body lotion. I use this lotion every morning, and love leaving the house smelling like a sugar cookie! It reminds me of Christmastime.
What is your idea of the perfect date?
I think I’ve already been on the perfect date. First we walked the mall. Then we had dinner and a movie. After that, he brought me to a vacant parking lot, which I was worried about! But, he surprised me with a CD he made with a bow on it. He rolled down the windows, played the CD, which had NSYNC’s, “This I Promise You” on it, and we slow danced in the parking lot.
What are words of wisdom you live by?
Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow.