Aly Michalka on Hellcats
By Fred Topel | Image property of CW
The CW’s new series Hellcats may seem like the typical CW drama about young adult girls. The stakes of college cheerleading go a little further than other teen dramas. Aly Michalka plays Marti, a law student who joins the Hellcats to stay afloat in school, and they get intense.
Aly Michalka One of the Hellcats
“Cheerleading is bad-ass,” Michalka said. “These people are athletic. These people work out like crazy. These people are trustworthy people because they are there to catch you when you are up in the air, flying. They are there to have your back. When you are injured, they are there to help you out. You have to go and see a doctor, you have to be on medication, you have to be out of the squad sometimes, and you are not able to make nationals. It's this team effort and I think that that makes our show, it makes us as actors bond even more. The stakes go up higher for us because we have the respect for these characters and for these real-life girls that we know are in America that are doing the same thing. So it makes it special for us.”
The girls of Hellcats have pretty much started training for cheer from scratch. “I have no cheerleading background, but my mom happened to be a Raiderette that went to the Super Bowl, and they won, which is rad, and a Rams cheerleader and a UCLA cheerleader. I know, right? So that's kind of a cool thing, that my mom has that background. So I guess I have it in my blood, but I've never had an interest to be on a squad, probably because there's no home-schooling cheerleading squads. I don't know. That might be weird, a home-schooling cheerleading squad, but I have a dance background for sure in free-styling, and I've been a part of dance companies before, like hip-hop dance companies when I was a teenager. So the dance aspect I'm really comfortable with, but cheerleading-wise, it was something completely new to me, and that was really fun to dive into.”
Even training for the show, the actors had to look like they could win a competition. “You actually feel the rush that these girls feel after a competition. It's the funniest thing because we ended up filming a big cheer number last week. At the end of it, me and Ashley [Tisdale] were so pumped. I was like, ‘Dude, that killed. We killed it.’ I was like, ‘Wait, I'm not my character. I'm me. I'm excited. I'm actually, like, pumped off of this adrenaline rush.”
The politics of cheer squads will make interesting drama too. “There's also a lot of girls that they call ring chasers who basically move from school to school, chasing a nationals ring, the title. So sometimes they will switch schools basically throughout college all over the country just to chase that ring, to get on that certain team that maybe has a great year or has won it previously. So that's kind of an interesting thing as well Then they end up maybe being a coach at one of the camps when they prep the cheerleaders right before nationals or they end up being a coach as well. And the downtime that cheerleaders have, too, is very interesting, the fact that sometimes they feel the pressure of having to come back into a squad, being out of shape, or not feeling like they are on top of their game as they were when they left. So sometimes that depends on people sometimes get cut from squads because you have to re-audition every time. Usually no place is like you're safe to get in every single year unless you're maybe a captain and you've been with the squad for years, so that's always kind of a risky thing that cheerleaders take, having to come back and prove it every single year.”
Hellcats premieres September 8 on The CW.
Sources: Image property of CW
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