Audiences have flipped for the Navarro College cheerleading team in Netflix’s new hit docuseries Cheer. At the heart of the show is Head Coach Monica Aldama, who prepares the team for the national title competition in Daytona, Florida through her fierce leadership. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without Assistant Coach Andy Cosferent. The pair’s ability to inspire excellent performances while also nurturing the team through the highs and lows of life is a sight to behold and one likely to tug at your heartstrings.
We recently caught up with Monica and Andy for an inside look at life on Cheer. Read on to hear their take on the show, the role that music plays in cheerleading, and the team’s unique practice playlist.
Cheer has proven to be a massive success. Why do you think the show has resonated with so many viewers?
I think there’s a few different reasons. One is the fact that some of these kids have overcome obstacles and struggles in their lives, and Cheer shows that your past doesn’t define you. You can overcome it. You can be successful if you put your mind to it and if you have a strong support system.
I think another really important reason is that Cheer illustrates that it doesn’t matter what country you come from, what color skin you have, or what your sexuality may be. As long as you come together as a team in a specific environment—as long as you have each other’s back—you become a family, and you can achieve anything. Because at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. And, like most things in this world, it’s about teamwork.
Throughout Season 1, you cheer with and without music. What role does music play in your competitions and tryouts?
We love the musical aspect of cheerleading. When we get to compete with music, it’s more entertaining.
When we do tryouts, however, we don’t use music because we look specifically for skills. I think a lot of people assume it’s like the movie Bring It On, where they press play on a song and do a little routine as their tryout. But it’s not really like that.
The phrase “mat talk” is used frequently on Cheer. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, how would you define it? Is there a song that exemplifies it?
I’d say mat talk is giving your energy 100% to someone else in order to benefit them. Maybe someone is struggling or hurting, so I will yell and be extra happy for them. The energy they get will then get them through the routine, through life, anything that they’re struggling with on that particular day.
One song that’s been on our team playlist for quite a few years now is “Get It Ready” by DJ Jubilee, and it reminds me of mat talk. It’s so fun to listen to because it makes you have an extra little bit of energy. You just can’t help but dance when that song comes on, and it just puts everyone in a better mood.
What song would you say sums up your experience filming Cheer?
We would probably have to go with “Incredible” by Céline Dion. I think that every time we go somewhere—every time we go through an interview or an appearance—people ask, “How has your experience been?” Everybody looks at each other, and we all just pretty much say incredible.
Walk us through the process behind curating the team’s Spotify playlist.
Every year, we make a playlist that we can use to get ourselves mentally prepared, inspired, or pumped up, and that’s what we used for Spotify, too. The team members made it. Every individual picked their favorite song—some are hip-hop, some EDM, some rap. Meanwhile, others picked slower songs.
When we practice, we only listen to that playlist. We put it on shuffle, and no one is allowed to skip a song, because we want everybody to have the opportunity to listen to their favorite jam. Every individual has a different way of getting motivated, and I think each song, just like each team member, has something special.
Stream the Cheer team’s exclusive practice playlist, only on Spotify.