Colts Cheer: Hannah Y.
Every once in a while a fellow female walks into your life and you realize immediately you’re going to be the best of friends. Indianapolis Colts cheerleader Hannah Y. doesn’t know that yet, but it’s a friendly proposition I plan to make, because she’s hilarious and I don’t even think she knows that either, and I want to be friends with her. You probably do too actually.
Her beauty, her bright smile and her charisma may intimidate some, but she’s one of the most down-to-earth and fun gals you’ll ever meet. And she just so happens to look pretty darn good in chaps and a sequined halter – which is not a look just anyone can pull off, trust me.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say one of the reasons the Indianapolis Colts breed such elite quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck is thanks to the Sweethearts of the Horseshoe they have faithfully on the sidelines each and every home game.
See for yourself why Hannah Y. (there are two Hannahs on the team this year, so yes, the “Y.” is imperative) will soon be one of my besties. Here’s our exclusive interview with the thrifty and big-hearted brunette…who also happens to be a self-proclaimed cat-lady…
Man Cave Daily: Where are you originally from?
Hannah Y: Originally from Bedford, a small town in southern Indiana.
MCD: What school did you go to? Were you in a sorority?
HY: I graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry in Indianapolis. Go Hoosiers! Although I originally thought I might go to college and rush, I ended up meeting my CC Sisters when I made the squad at the end of my freshman year.
HY: I work five (sometimes six) days a week in Bloomington, IN as a licensed dental hygienist. The office opens earlier and stays open later than most of the other offices in town, so I spend a lot of time with my coworkers. Although, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am the first one out of the office in order to make the drive to practice in Indianapolis (approximately an hour and ten minutes away).
MCD: Years on team?
HY: This is my fourth season as a Sweetheart of the Horseshoe! I first auditioned for the team in the spring semester of my freshman year of college. I was studying for finals in the car (listening to audio lectures—totally focused on the road, of course) on my way to auditions (which, at the time, lasted nearly a month). I did not plan on making the team my first year auditioning; I was completely overwhelmed by my lack of experience and by the Veterans” incredible beauty and talent. You can probably imagine my surprise when I was selected to be a member of the 2011 Squad.
MCD: Are you in the calendar?
HY: Yes! The Colts are very supportive of our squad, and they work very hard to make sure that each girl is featured in the calendar. Last year, I was shocked when I was chosen to be on the cover on the 2013-2014 calendar! This past summer, we were lucky enough to be able to shoot our 2014-2015 calendar in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I am featured with the lovely Erin B. in March 2015.
MCD: Greatest memory so far?
HY: This question means so much more to me now than it used to. My fiancé is graduating in May, and we will be getting married a few weeks later. So, knowing that this will be my last season on the squad, I started making a list of amazing memories that being a CC has allowed me to cherish.
Here are a few (in no particular order):
-My rookie year on the squad, Indianapolis hosted Super Bowl XLVI, and our squad received many incredible opportunities. A group of us were able to perform on Jimmy Fallon’s Live Super Bowl Special with The Roots (swoon!), and that is something I will never forget. I can still do the dance we performed that day.
-My fiancé proposed on the field mid-performance during my second season on the squad. He interrupted our dance to “Super Bass,” and my life hasn’t been the same since. I cannot begin to describe the love and support that we received from my teammates and Colts staff. Seriously, I will never really know how much work Bradley and the Colts put into making that moment happen.
-Especially this season, I have been appreciating my time at every single community appearance I do. As a young girl, I remember always looking up to the cooler, older dancers and cheerleaders in my school and studio. Now, I am like one of those girls, except I am a PROFESSIONAL cheerleader. That fact really hits me when I am at an appearance and a little girl in a Colts cheerleader uniform asks for my autograph. Coach Kelly always tells us that our uniform is a superhero cape, and I cherish every minute that I get to use my power to make someone smile.
Sorry, that is probably way more of an in-depth answer than you could ever want!
MCD: No, I love the stories, this is what makes each story so unique. Thank you for sharing! Favorite player?
HY: Reggie Wayne is my favorite current player. Of course, he is a part of the Colts family, but he is an inspiration even to non-Colts fans. His leadership and determination were evident last season when he was recovering from his injury, and his rapport with our fans is unsurpassable. Not to mention, there’s nothing like hearing the crowd chanting, “Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!” after another one-handed catch. I don’t have the words to describe how thunderous the crowd was at Lucas Oil Stadium when #87 was announced at this season’s home opener. Honestly, I cried… On the field… In front of 67,000 fans. That is what being a part of the Indianapolis Colts does to you.
MCD: Well I have no doubt you were wearing waterproof mascara! For those who have never been to your stadium, describe the atmosphere.
HY: I recently flew into Indianapolis, and when Lucas Oil Stadium came into view, I nearly burst with pride. This happened even when I lived in Indianapolis and drove by LOS regularly. Since it was built with the dream of hosting a Super Bowl in mind, every inch of the stadium is beautiful and modern. Some of my favorite features are the retractable roof and the window that perfectly displays the city skyline. There’s nothing like having the roof open during a sunny, 80-degree day in September with my favorite sport being played right before my eyes. My teammates and I have the best view in the house, although even the 600 level seats have a great view of the action on the field. Seriously, there’s not a bad place to sit in Lucas Oil Stadium.
MCD: Which Spice Girl would you be?
HY: Of course, I always wanted to be Baby Spice. She was so playful and adorable and kind of quirky. I definitely have my quirky moments.
MCD: Who’s your bestie on the squad?
HY: My BFF on the squad is Allie J.! She and I became close during our rookie year in 2011, and since then we’ve remained close friends. She always knows what I am thinking without me even saying a word, and half the time we end up saying the same thing at the same time. (She’s likely to be predicting the end of my sentences as she reads this interview.) Allie was one of the few people that collaborated with my fiancé when he was planning to propose, and she will be standing by my side as a bridesmaid at my wedding next summer.
MCD: Ah, I know Allie J. well, I loved my interview with her last season. Nice to be interviewing beautiful besties! Biggest misconception about cheerleaders?
HY: I think the biggest misconception about NFL cheerleaders is that we are mistreated by our organizations. There has been a lot of negativity in the media recently, and it makes me feel even more thankful to be an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader. Our organization supports us 110% and wants to do everything they can to make our squad successful. My teammates and I do put in long hours at the gym, studio, and practice, but I speak for all of us when I say that we wouldn’t trade it for anything. How many people can say that they work for their favorite sports team AND get to stand on the sidelines for every home game?! Not many.
MCD: What charity is nearest and dearest to your heart?
HY: Autism Speaks and Riley Hospital for Children are both very close to my heart. My younger brother Matthew, 21, is non-verbal and is on the Autism Spectrum. Throughout his life, I have learned a lot about understanding and accepting others, and I have become an advocate for him and others on The Spectrum. Additionally, Riley Hospital for Children is important to me because I was admitted to Riley Hospital when I was 17 years old. I stayed there for 28 days and learned how hard the entire hospital staff works to make children feel safe and at home while in a scary place. The nurses became friends to my family and I, and my nephrologist continued seeing me once I was released up until I graduated college (and entirely too old to be seeing a doctor in a pediatric hospital). She just cared that much about following up with her patients and making sure that they receive the best care.
MCD: If you could only dance/perform to one artist for the entire season, who would it be?
HY: I honestly don’t know how to answer this question because my taste in music varies based on my mood. Some days I only want to hear Drake and 2 Chainz, while other days I find myself listening to Florida Georgia Line and Clayton Anderson. Also, I grew up listening to ’80s hair bands with my dad, so some days I’m in the mood to play Tesla and Van Halen.
MCD: What’s the most embarrassing/random thing we’d find in your recent Google history?
HY: The most random thing you’d find in my recent Google history is “Petsafe coupon,” searched on 9/22/14. I have a secret… I am a crazy cat lady. For Christmas last year, I bought my cat Kitan (like the game Settlers of Catan, but spelled differently because I didn’t want his nickname to be, “Cat”) a water fountain. Yes, he is spoiled, but as a kitten he was obsessed with running water and would cry until I turned on either the sink or the bathtub faucet. Anyway, I had to buy a new part for his water fountain, thus I searched Google to see if there was an online coupon code I could use.
MCD: Since you’re so busy getting ready for the games, (sadly) you miss one of my favorite parts – tailgating! If you were asked to bring one thing, what would it be?
HY: My go-to party dish is cheese dip. I only use three ingredients: Velveeta cheese, ground hamburger, and Rotel. It may be simple, but it’s always a hit.
MCD: I know a huge part of being an NFL cheerleader is visiting/spending time with the military–if you could give a message to those who serve our country and fight for our freedom, what would you say?
HY: I would thank them for their service and sacrifice because I cannot imagine how hard it is to be away from family and friends. I would tell them that we appreciate them every day, even when we don’t say it. Also, I would tell them about how I tear up each time I stand next to the full-field American flag during the pregame performance of our National Anthem. Literally, every time.
MCD: Again, thankful for that waterproof mascara! Look in your purse/bag right now – what’s the most random thing in there?
HY: Fabric samples. My aunt is making a quilt for the guest “book” at our wedding, so I always have samples of our colors with me in case I find another fabric that would look good in the quilt.
MCD: Favorite book/magazine/website?
HY: Right now, my favorite websites are for the two fantasy football leagues I’m in. I’m the only girl in a league with my fiancé and his guy friends, as well as a league with my CC Sisters. I got second place in both leagues last year, so this season I’m out for blood. PS: I beat Allie this week because she started Tom Brady and the Patriots defense. As a Colts fan starting one of our biggest rivals, she had it coming.
MCD: Cheerleaders are known for taking the perfect selfies – what’s your secret to a perfect selfie?
HY: It’s all about the angle. Oddly enough, though, the angle that looks perfect one day may look terrible any other day. I try not to stick to one angle or one “good side” because, for me, it changes.
MCD: You’ve obviously got a full schedule. Any time for hobbies or interests?
HY: I absolutely make time for hobbies, mostly because I need to be happy to keep my sanity. In my free time, I enjoy exercising (lately I’ve been on a hot yoga kick) and crafting. I am slowly, but surely, making the majority of my wedding decorations just because I like doing things like that.
MCD: What’s the team’s character like? What have you learned since joining?
HY: My teammates and I balance each other very well. We’ve got the serious, down-to-business girls…the quirky, quiet girls (I fall into this category)…and the sweet, hug-you-when-you’re-down girls. Together, we complete each other and make for an unstoppable team!
MCD: Homebody or adventurer?
HY: I’m definitely an adventurer. Some days I can’t seem to sit still and am only happy if I’m on the go. I recently traveled to Ecuador for a dental mission trip with several third-year dental students and a dentist from IUSD. Although I am usually up for anything, every once in a while I just want to curl up on the coach with my cat and watch HGTV.
MCD: Ok, I too love adventure–what’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
HY: This past summer I went skydiving… It was not by choice, but I don’t regret it for a second. The feeling I experienced when the instructor and I were free falling was absolutely incredible. When I landed on the ground, I was ready to go back up in the plane again.
MCD: Tell me something about you people would find completely out of character?
HY: I think it may be hard for people who don’t know me very well to believe I am extremely shy. In school, I was very quiet and reserved (most of the time). I didn’t talk very often to my teammates in the first few months on the squad during my rookie season. Being a Colts cheerleader has pushed me to open myself up to people I don’t know and to be more outgoing.
You can follow one of my Colts cheerleader besties on Twitter @HannahY_CC (well, I guess both her and @AllieJ_CC are my besties on the team now–I hope they’re OK with that!). Tell my favorite blonde and brunette in Indy that The Blonde Side sent you and says hello!
But you’re not done yet — oh no, you’ve got a lot of admiring to do over in the overflow of images that is Hannah’s bonus gallery.
This article originally ran in the sport’s section of CBS Man Cave Daily. Click here for more photos and to see the original article. Thanks to Shock Top for sponsoring this great series on The Blonde Side and showing the world just how awesome NFL cheerleaders are – off the field too.