Nine years ago, Jenny took a leap of faith and auditioned to become a Charger Girl. After making the team, she left after one season to pursue a career of dancing professionally in Los Angeles.
Fast forward to 2017 and Jenny stood on stage at The Novo in downtown L.A. late last week, shocked and elated that she gets a second chance dancing for the team that opened so many doors for her years ago.
"When the team announced that they were moving to L.A., it meant the world," Jenny said. "With something that was so close to me and something I wanted to give back to; I felt like it was a sign. I can't thank the program and (Charger Girls Director) Lisa Simmons enough for the things I was taught nine years ago that I still use today. Everything I do now, I attribute to the talent and role models I had in 2008."
The first ever Los Angeles Charger Girls squad is comprised of nine veterans and 19 rookies. The group features a real estate professional, events manager and multiple students from Cal State Long Beach, Azusa Pacific University and Cal State Fullerton.
According to Jenny, coming back almost a decade later wasn't any easier than it was in 2008. In fact, it may have even been more challenging because she knew what she would be missing out on if she didn't make the team.
"I can't stop crying! I was very nervous through the whole process and I think it's because it meant so much more. Making this team again meant so much more than if it was another dance team. Because I know how much more comes with the dancing; the family, the lessons you learn. Being a part of it is such a huge honor. I'll keep crying when I get home!"
Jenny was one of hundreds who auditioned on May 6 at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion for a coveted spot on this year's squad. After two rounds of cuts, Charger Girls Director Lisa Simmons and a panel of judges sent 65 women through to finals. After rigorous interviews through the week, the 65 convened last Thursday night one final time. They performed two routines – a pre-choreographed dance that they did in groups of three and then a solo, the latter being the final opportunity to showcase their individual dance talents.
After an arduous deliberation process, Simmons and the judges narrowed the 65 down to 28.
"We had so many incredibly talented women make it to the final round," Simmons explained. "We had to make some tough decisions in narrowing the field to the final 28. This level of competition has helped ensure that we'll have one of our finest squads ever."
With auditions taking place in the entertainment capital of the world, talent was aplenty as the crop of dancers included those with commercial and professional sports team experience.
"The pool of talent auditioning for this year's team was both deep and impressive. Los Angeles draws an incredible amount of talented dancers and performers with exceptional backgrounds and extensive experience working in the industry."
Although she's new to the team, rookie Jayda is a lifelong Chargers fan. As the excitement of hearing her number called settled, she mentioned how honored she felt to be a part of Charger Girls history.
"Even before the team was announced, I felt that being a part of the first audition process in Los Angeles was such a blessing," Jayda explained. "To be a part of history and the return to L.A., it's going to be a great experience and I'm so excited."