Updated: November 10, 2019 10:48 PM
Created: November 10, 2019 10:40 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— An Albuquerque native found her stage on the home field of the Dallas Cowboys football team.
For a young woman like Kristin Dodd, she was born to be in the bright lights.
"I feel like I've been dreaming of this moment since I was 5 years old,” Dodd said.
Dodd has been performing for people for as long as she could remember.
"I was one of those little kids that when somebody would come and visit home, I would prepare a full routine and go out and perform for all the guests in our house,” she said.
And what was on TV in her childhood home solidified her dancing destiny.
"I grew up in a family that watches the Dallas Cowboys,” Dodd said.
Dodd made plans to try out for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading Squad after she graduated from UNM, where she was a member of the dance team for four years.
Dodd was well aware of the tough competition. Her Dallas auditions in 2017 and 2018 did not work out.
"When I got cut last year it was honestly probably as devastating for my family as it was for me because they knew how much I wanted it and how hard I worked,” she said.
This year, Dodd’s lifelong dream finally came true.
"What was it like the first time you got to put on that uniform? I can tell you that every time I put on that uniform, I literally feel like a super hero, I feel like I can do anything,” she said.
For the New Mexico native, there are more facets to her than just her passion for dance.
"I knew getting out of high school and going to college, I wanted to serve in the ministry,” she said. "I felt called to learn sign language when I went into college and so I studied linguistics with a focus in sign language studies and then my senior year I started volunteering for Deaf Bible Society which is a Bible translation organization,” she said.
Dodd turned that calling into a career. She works for that Bible translation company Monday through Friday then moves and twirls for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Dodd said those two worlds have not always been in rhythm.
"It has been a struggle, I'm not going to lie, a lot of Christian people have very traditional values, and I think once they get to know me they see where my intentions are and I am by no means out there dancing to do anything inappropriate,” she said. “I'm doing something that I love and that I feel like God has called me to do.”
Dodd said she and her teammates constantly have to shake off criticism.
"I think it's surprising considering we're almost in 2020 now and people still have all these preconceived ideas of what cheerleaders are and what they do."
Despite the negative words, Dodd said she has a fan club that is louder than all the haters—her supporters in New Mexico.
"I'm constantly getting comments and messages like you know we're so proud of you from Alamogordo, we're so proud of you from Santa Fe, we're cheering you on from Taos,” she said.
Dodd is no doubt one of America’s sweethearts, but she was New Mexico’s first.
"I am so proud to say I'm from Albuquerque, I'm from New Mexico—that's my home."
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