After a backbreaking and often drama-filled stint on the CW’s reality show “Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious,” the four girls chosen to set the music world ablaze are now ready to prove themselves. Chrystina, Nichole, Natalie and Tiffanie, the sweet and sexy girls that make up Girlicous, spent the last year since being chosen for the new girl group hard at work on their self-titled debut album. The result is a high-energy mix of dance beats coupled with sassy lyrics that you’d expect from an act born of the Pussycat Dolls founder, Robin Antin.
With a liveliness that’s catching, there’s no doubt that a few singles off the Girlicious album will find their way into competition routines this season—a fact that’s fitting since two of the members are former cheerleaders. Both Chrystina (far left) and Natalie (third from left) cheered for several years while growing up in California. “Cheerleading’s all about being one as a team: Taking your individual talents and becoming one group,” says Chrystina. “Cheer really helped me in meshing with the other girls in Girlicious—especially Natalie and me, since we both come from cheer backgrounds.”
Natalie adds, “We wanted the same things and worked together to get there. I think our connection definitely had a lot to do with our cheer backgrounds.”
Check out what Chrystina and Natalie had to say about their cheer days and how it helped them become the Girlicious gals they are today.
AC: Before you guys were hitting up the small screen, you were shining on the sidelines. How did you two get into cheerleading?
NATALIE: I started cheer when I was in 6th grade, as part of the very first cheer team at Luther Burbank MS in Burbank, CA. I even made captain that year.
I cheered there the following year and then we moved. Then I cheered for a year at Diamond Ranch HS in Pamona, CA, before I was home-schooled.
CHRYSTINA: I was a Pop Warner cheerleader in San Diego, CA, and then cheered my last two years at La Jolla Country Day School. I think my parents got me into cheer because I was really athletic. You’re so flamboyant when you’re cheering and that’s my personality. I’m so full of life and that’s what cheerleaders are all about.
AC: Looking back on your cheer days, what were your favorite things about being a cheerleader?
NATALIE: It was obviously performing, because I’m such a ham and love the attention. It was also so much fun to be a part of a team and have a bunch of girls around me. We’d always get ready and travel together. That sisterhood was really great. I made a lot of friends in cheer. That was one of the highlights for me—the bonding. Those aspects have really carried into Girlicious.
CHRYSTINA: My favorite thing was definitely getting attention from boys. I came into my high school as a jock, because I was on the basketball team. Then I decided to try cheer again, because I figured dancing would be something I’d need in terms of my career later on. I knew I wasn’t going to be in the WNBA, because I’m only 5′ 11″, so I figured I might as well make the switch.
AC: So, how did you make the transition from cheerleader to aspiring singer?
NATALIE: I’ve always been a natural performer and felt like cheer was the outlet that would give me a chance to perform. My dad’s a musician and was a producer and my mom was a dancer. It just made so much sense to be a singer/dancer. That’s what I wanted in my heart as far as a career, and I knew cheerleading would be a great lead into that.
CHRYSTINA: Cheer is a form of entertainment, since you’re in front of a crowd and getting them pumped up. It’s almost like being on stage. You have to work really hard in cheerleading and be really careful about everything you do. So much of cheer really helped me transition into the entertainment world.
AC: What prompted you to try out for Girlicious?
NATALIE: I was watching the last season (I’m pretty much a sucker for any show that has to do with dancing), and there was a commercial saying to go online and fill out an application and come to an open casting call for the next “Pussycat Dolls Present.” I went online and became obsessed about trying out. I did a home video and then stood in line for hours at the Hilton for the casting. There were hundreds of girls in line. My number was 267 and I was practically at the beginning!
CHRYSTINA: I did a few demos for Nick Cannon and was a part of the whole Cannon-Ball Entertainment group. A guy from the crew was casting the Pussycat Dolls show and saw my picture at the studio one day and asked about me. I met with him and he told me about the show and that’s how it all started for me.
AC: Part of your persona is being very sexy, as a Girlicious member. How do you balance that sometimes racy image with still being a role model to young women?
NATALIE: I think inside every girl there’s a Pussycat Doll, just like Robin [Pussycat Dolls creator] says. We’re all girlicious girls—a girl who’s all about girl power. On stage, we play these characters who are different than we are in everyday life.
Even in cheer, people may say the skirts are too short and stuff. It’s all about embracing being a girl. It’s fun to dress up. It’s fun to put on a lot of makeup sometimes. It’s fun to play a different character than yourself.
As far as being a role model, it’s about your actions. I think being a good person is more important than how you dress. I may have on a short skirt, but you won’t see me doing drugs or drinking and going crazy. That’s how you become a good role model: You stick with your beliefs and don’t allow the character you play to affect who you are.
CHRYSTINA: As a performer you kind of have to be someone else. I don’t show a lot of skin on a regular basis, but as a performer, it’s exciting to wear things you wouldn’t normally, because it turns you into someone else on stage—a real performer. As far as being a role model, I have really good values and a lot of good things to say.
AC: After seeing the show air, is there anything you’d like to clear up about yourself? What do you want people to know about the “real” you?
NATALIE: The show portrayed me as being real catty. And I am a little catty, but if I’m your friend, I’m your friend for life. People don’t realize that Chrystina and I were friends prior to the show. Viewers think we just ended up in the house and then excluded everybody. But by the time we were on the show, she’d met my family, and I’d met hers. People didn’t really get that.
CHRYSTINA: I’m a really funny person, and I wasn’t really portrayed that way on the show. They also made it seem like I wasn’t able to learn my lyrics. Every time they showed me learning lyrics, it was always the first day of getting them. So, in terms of editing, they portrayed it as a downfall of mine.
AC: Do you think your cheer personalities helped you two to bond?
NATALIE: I found a best friend in Chrystina through the audition process. We wanted the same things and worked together to get there. Plus, I think our connection had a lot to do with our cheer backgrounds.
CHRYSTINA: I definitely think that our getting along had to do with our personalities. I think a cheerleader knows a cheerleader. We just vibe with each other.
AC: Do you think your cheer backgrounds helped you at the Girlicious tryouts?
NATALIE: Of course! Trying out for cheerleading is a lot like auditioning. Cheer helped me with a lot of the auditioning techniques like picking up choreography and remembering to smile and not letting your nerves get to you. It also helped me with the competitive spirit. Really early on though, we realized there’s no “I” in TEAM and that the four of us coming together would make us much stronger than if we were doing our own thing.
CHRYSTINA: Cheerleading’s all about coming together for a common goal, and that’s what we’re doing in Girlicious.
AC: What can fans expect from your album?
NATALIE: It’s all very high energy, and you can just dance your butt off and have a good time. I think young girls are going to love our album especially because it’s all about having fun, staying confident and just being a girl.
Also, within our group, we have tried to incorporate some cheer stuff—a few of us are tumblers and whatnot. We’d like to incorporate stunts into our videos, and we’re definitely going to start doing flips while performing.
AC: If you could make up the ultimate girl group using current singers, who would the group be made up of?
NATALIE: I know this sounds crazy, but I think we are going to be the ultimate group. I
feel like we’re pretty much the new generation of what’s out there. Chrystina’s being compared to Beyoncé. I’m being compared to Jennifer Lopez. Nicole’s being compared to Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani. And Tiffany is being compared to Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Rihanna. I feel like we have the potential to really take over the music industry.
CHRYSTINA: If I had to make up the ultimate girl group outside of Girlicious, I’d choose Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera and Gwen Stefani. I’m a huge fan of all of them.