Hugely hyped and equally controversial, the cheerleaders of the Indian Premier League (IPL) draw both attention and scrutiny. They lead a life of anonymity and rarely interact with audiences. So, when one of them decided to answer questions on Reddit's AMA (Ask Me Anything) live chat, it came as a surprise.
AMA is a terrifying arena, very few fare well here. Previous casualties have included Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra who was inundated with questions about having a Mumbai street named after her father - questions she failed to answer.
How did the IPL cheerleader do? "I'm a bit late for this scheduled AMA. But I'm here! I'll try to answer everyone's question. Ask me anything! :)" she began.
She chose not to disclose her name and went by the moniker 'IPLCheer'.
Here are eight answers that we loved from this Q and A:
1. Q: "As a fellow Western woman living in India, not sure how I feel about white cheerleaders at the games. Why not Indian cheerleaders?"
A: "I agree. I love doing it, but I'd honestly prefer to see at least a mix of Indian women. Sadly there's nothing I can do about that. If I refuse I'd be breaking my contract and they'd replace me with another white girl anyway."
2. Q: "How often do you get ogled on stadium while dancing? And how do you feel when you get ogled so much?"
A: "All the time. I hate it."
3. Q: "What's your regimen like? Do you secretly wish that the batsmen of your team got out faster, so that you wouldn't have to dance so much?"
A: "No way! The games are always so much more fun if we're winning. It's much more boring to sit in a chair than it is to dance. I wasn't a cricket fan before this, but I am now!"
4. Q: "Has your involvement helped you understand the sport better?"
A: "If you told me one year ago that I'd be cheerleading in India for cricket, I would have said. "What the hell is cricket?" So yes. :)"
This slut-shaming answer might earn IPLCheer some flak:
5. Q: "Kind of an open ended question - As we Indians are quite new to seeing cheerleaders, what are few things about cheerleading that you think we don't know, but should know about?"
A: "We're not all sluts. You might get the odd one or two out there in the world, but the mass majority of cheerleaders I've worked with are perfectly respectable women. I'm currently not working with any sluts, and for that I'm grateful. They tend to cause drama."
6. Q: "I have read cheerleaders come from different backgrounds of work. Some of them might be librarians, nurses etc. Do you have people in your group who belong to such unrelated professions?"
A: "I'm actually the only one on my team! I was a house painter for a year before this. :)"
7. Q: "What do you do during the non-IPL season?"
A: "In a nut shell, Bollywood. Mostly background work."
8. Q: "What team do you cheer for?"
A: "I'm keeping this secret because I don't have permission to do this from my managers. (And I want the freedom to keep my answers honest.)"