By Mary Beard
Special to Stlouisrams.com
Born and raised in St. Louis, rookie cheerleader Lesley is a people person who is dedicated to the St. Louis community both in and out of her Rams uniform.
An alumna of Lindbergh High School, Lesley began dancing in middle school and was a member of her high school poms squad for four years. After graduating from the University of Missouri where she occasionally had the chance to dance with her sorority, Lesley was looking for a way to get back into sports entertainment. She joined the St. Louis Blues’ Blue Crew and loved interacting with fans in the St. Louis community, but she was still missing dance. So when a fellow Blue Crew member suggested they both try out for the St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders, she decided to go for it.
“The first day of tryouts as we learned the dances I thought, ‘Oh goodness, it’s been forever since I’ve done this; what have I gotten myself into?’” she recalls. “But even by the end of the first night muscle memory started to kick in. I went home and practiced and was a little more confident each day.”
When it came time to find out if she made it, the results weren’t exactly what she was expecting.
“They had already called five rookies, so I thought that the rest would be girls returning as veterans. So when they called my name I was absolutely stunned,” she says.
Though it was the dancing that initially brought Lesley to the Rams, she counts the chance to interact with people in the St. Louis community as her favorite aspect of the job.
“I love meeting new people, I can’t even stand in a check-out line without starting a conversation with someone,” she admits. “I’ve always just wanted everyone around me to feel included, comfortable and important.”
Lesley parlayed her winning people skills into a job with Tower Grove Park where she plans recreational events. She also uses those traits at promos with her fellow cheerleaders and at the different appearances she makes for charitable organizations. But as much as she gives back to the community during events like the Make-A-Wish Celebrity Server Dinner and Sunday Night Lights at her high school alma mater, Lesley says that she gets just as much in return. With a future goal of starting her own non-profit, the exposure to local organizations and involvement with the different causes is immeasurable.
“People ask me what cause I would eventually want to support, but I find that I am passionate about so many—I just want to help everybody!” she says. “So working for the Rams is amazing because they help make a difference in so many ways. I’m exposed to different organizations and that will help me reach my own goals.”
Though she hasn’t quite narrowed it down, one area that Lesley is closely tied to is hearing-loss and deaf culture. Her niece is deaf and wears cochlear implants, but the life-altering devices come at a budget-altering price, and often a stigma within the deaf community. While earning her photo journalism degree from Mizzou, Lesley chose cochlear implants as the topic of her final project. Already an all-star at communication, Lesley is working towards learning American Sign Language (her niece signs and speaks simultaneously) and advocating for quality education for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.