The Cheetah Girls are in town and you can see them for free. That’s something Central
Florida fans have long awaited. The group went on tour last year after the release of its
second movie, but much to our disappointment, the show didn't stop in Orlando.
The Disney Channel Games, featuring many of the network’s stars, including The Cheetah
Girls, are taping through Friday at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney
World. And thanks to a post by fellow blogger and Sentinel TV critic Hal Boedeker that
alerted me to the Games, I decided to pack up my Cheetah Girls fans and take a chance on
seeing Adrienne Bailon, Sabrina Bryan and Kiely Williams up close. Dare we hope for
When we arrived at the sports complex this morning, I was unsure of what to expect. We
parked and headed into the ballpark for the first time. We waited in line for about a hour
and a half, something that was difficult for my pre-schoolers to do because of their age
and for me because I had worked the previous night until 1 a.m.
It was worth the effort, though. Once inside the stadium, we first participated in tapings
of crowd shots that will be televised with the games, which will air this summer. My
daughter, who is 2, was quite enthusiastic in her cheering, but my son was hot in the
Florida sun and ready to see his favorite stars play in what looked like huge bounce
houses -- a pre-schooler's dream.
So, we got up and wandered around, exploring the ballpark. I was pleasantly surprised that
it was a lot less crowded than I expected. Several cast members asked us if we were having
fun, and when I mentioned that we were really hoping to meet The Cheetah Girls, they tried
to help a little boy's dream come true.
We managed to get near several stars heading onto the field, but at 4 years old, my son
didn't stand a chance against the desperate preteen autograph-seekers. So, we vowed to
find another way to meet The Cheetah Girls -- with patience and persistence. We watched
the taping of the Extreme Rock, Paper, Scissors competition on the large infield screen
while we waited in a strategic location for the stars to exit.
Corbin Bleu of "High School Musical" made his way past us and a mob of girls ran after
him, leaving us and just a few others to spot Kiely Williams (stage name: Aquanette) of
The Cheetah Girls heading our way. She was kind enough to sign both of my kids' books and
take a minute to talk to my son, who became tongue-tied upon seeing his favorite Cheetah.
She told him she had many little boy fans and she was very happy to meet another. He gazed
at her in amazement, almost unsure he was really seeing his beloved Aqua.
Later, we -- and everyone else -- found Adrienne Bailon (Chanel) and Sabrina Bryan
(Dorinda). Both Cheetahs were gracious in signing his book, but because of the crowd he
couldn't talk with them. But he didn't mind -- he was happy to see them in person after
watching "The Cheetah Girls 2" so many times.
Before our day was over, Ashley Tisdale of "High School Musical" greeted my son, Kyle
Massey of "Cory in the House" stopped to give him a signature, and Cole Sprouse of "The
Suite Life of Zack & Cody" also put his autograph in a book that previously had only
showcased Mickey Mouse and his friends. The most-sought-after star, Miley Cyrus (Hannah
Montana), was elusive. We saw her in competition on the field, but that was it. Perhaps we
just weren't in the right place at the right time, because I did hear a few lucky kids
bragging about snagging her signature.
If you want to join the fun, head out to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex for tapings
beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday and 9:30 a.m. Thursday. There is a concert Friday with
performances by Miley Cyrus, Corbin Bleu, The Cheetah Girls and Jonas Brothers. Tickets
have already been distributed, but I was told today that if you show up at 3 p.m. and
there is extra room in the infield, you may be allowed to attend.
The Cheetah Girls
You know them as Chanel, Dorinda, and Aquanetta -- the Cheetah Girls! Together these
talented performers have entertained and inspired audiences with chart-topping albums and
a hit Disney Channel movie. The Cheetahs will soon be back in a sequel, Cheetah Girls 2,
and a new album. IML talked to Adrienne Bailon (Chanel), Sabrina Bryan (Dorinda), and
Kiely Williams (Aquanetta) about their personal passions and what it’s like to be role
models for young people.
IML: Everyone always thinks of you as a single unit, but you each have your individual
interests, too! Sabrina, tell us about your BYOU project.
Sabrina: Well, BYOU is a dance and fitness video for young girls. It’s aimed at
them to have a more positive body image, and to create a fun way of living a healthy life
style. Like, working out because it makes you feel great and happy. Every girl likes to
just rock out when they put music on in their room -- I learned that personally when fans
would tell us how much they loved to make up their own dances to Cheetah Girls songs.
something that’s really helped me throughout my life -- it’s a great cardio workout
I’ve always had so much fun dancing. The video also talks about eating right because
better for you, making it less of a chore that you “have” to do. And helping Moms out
there too. The average age that a girl starts to diet now is 9 years old, can you believe
that? That was startling to me. And moms don’t really know how to react to that. They
don’t know what to say because they don’t want to tell their little girl to go on a
“salad diet.” So this just gives moms ideas for how to their daughters a healthy
IML: Adrienne, you come from a multi-cultural background of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian.
What’s your favorite parts of these cultures that you try to keep in your life day to
Adrienne: I would say, pride for where my family’s from. Cultural pride is such a great
thing. Wanting to learn more about my background and wanting to empower my people. Being
a positive role model for young Latin girls is so exciting. Looking back at someone like
Rita Moreno, who’s the only Puerto Rican to ever win an Oscar, is something that I look
up to. My dad brought a musical influence into my life by singing cumbia [a type of
traditional Latin folk music] back in Ecuador. He’s had a big effect on my life because
love cumbia music, I love salsa music. My whole family would put on a fiesta in the
backyard, and spending summers there I really remember that. Culturally, Latinos love to
have a great time and party, but we’re also very family oriented. I take bits and
of all that and that makes up who I am. I’m so happy to be in the position I’m at
the Cheetah Girls, not just being a positive role model for young Latin girls but also to
show people who may not know so much about our culture, what we’re about.
IML: Kiely, tell us about your advice book! It sounds so cool!
Kiely: Thank you! It’s called “The Little Girl’s Guide To The Big Girl World” and
basically an advice book, not a self-help book (because I think we’re too young for
self-help!). It’s sort of like the advice you’d get if you asked a big sister, “I
this problem, I have that problem.” It’s mostly in the form of articles because I
writing for a magazine and turned it into a book. It’s about pimples, boyfriends, not
having a boyfriend, parents, friends…
Sabrina: All the stuff that she helps US out with on a day to day basis!
IML: Is Kiely like your advisor?
Sabrina: Oh my Gosh, she’s like a Dear Abby for us!
IML: So what is Cheetah Girls 2 all about?
Sabrina: The 2nd Cheetah Girls movie was filmed in Barcelona, which was an amazing
experience for us because we got to go and have a “Euro trip” together! It was really
the second time around because the four of us knew each other a lot better, and the
chemistry was so much easier to go right into. And in the movie I have a love interest,
Adrienne finds a Spanish friend, Kiely discovers a passion for fashion. We go through
things that you know, real girls go through. We start to find other interests than our
friendship. Every girl goes through that with their friends, and in the end we realize
that what’s most important is our friendship and supporting each other…and then we
out into song and dance and go crazy in the end! It’s got a great message and great
music. It premieres this summer on the Disney Channel.
IML: How was it working with the director Kenny Ortega from High School Musical?
Sabrina: It was awesome to work with him because we’re a movie about music with
performances and everything. We loved having a director who came from a musical
background, and who had such an extensive knowledge of choreography and how things should
be put on screen. It was cool to work with him because he explained every scene to us and
its relation to the performance aspect.
IML: What was your favorite part of shooting the movie?
Adrienne: My favorite part was the grand finale with the Cheetahs! I loved the outfits.
We were a little nervous about what we were going to look like in those bolero jackets,
but it ended up being awesome…they were all sparkly. We got confetti at the end of the
show. We were a little delirious from working from 7am to 7pm and we just partied up
throughout the night until the cannons went off. It was very memorable.
IML: Was there a particular song that was your favorite or that had meaning for you?
Sabrina: We just got done doing a 5 month, 88 city tour, so we definitely have things
that we love to perform. Mine’s “Step Up” -- it’s just a song that has a really
driving beat and we did a step dance break that was so much fun. We got to battle our boy
dancers in a girls against boys thing (and of course we always won). That was one of my
favorites songs to perform.
Kiely: My favorite song is “Strut” -- it was my favorite to do in the movie and it’s
favorite song to listen to. It’s just so inspirational for me and makes me want to get
and dance like “I’m the bomb!”
Adrienne A song that brings back a great memory is “A La Nanita Nana.” Me and the
only performed it once live and that was in Puerto Rico. That was really exciting to have
all my family there and hearing the entire audience sing it louder than us!
IML: So we hear you have a new album coming out soon?
Sabrina: Yes! Actually this week we started recording a new album with Hollywood Records.
It’s really exciting because it’s the first time the Cheetah Girls will be able to do
their own thing separate from a soundtrack album. We get to say whatever we want, however
we want to say it. It’s really going to be the fans’ chance to get to know US --
Kiely, and Sabrina -- through our music.
Adrienne: And we’re going to a writing session right after this -- it’s going to be
hands on! We’re really excited about it.
IML: That sounds fantastic! Good luck with everything, and thanks for talking to us!
Adrienne: Thank you!
Kiely: Bye, IML!
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