Fourth-year veteran cheerleader Jessica Diaz has seen much more of the world since joining the squad
When Jessica Diaz first earned a spot among the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders, as a 21-year-old college student in 2002, she had never been out of the state of Florida.
Now in her fourth year on the squad – she skipped the '04 season to concentrate on her studies – Jessica is much more worldly, having accompanied the team on a variety of trips across the country and overseas. Until recently, however, she had yet to fulfill her dream of visiting New York City.
Then FHM came calling.
Jessica was chosen as one of 10 NFL cheerleaders from across the country to fly to the FHM offices in New York and take part in a photo shoot. The result: Jessica was named to "The All-FHM Team". Ten NFL Cheerleaders are in competition to be named the magazine's "favorite". Voting takes place On FHM's website. The winner will be flown back to New York to shoot by themselves for their own spread and article in a later issue of FHM.
While you're there, cast a vote for the hometown girl. Visitors to the site are encouraged to vote for their favorite among the 10 cheerleaders in an online poll; the winner will be flown back to New York to shoot by themselves for their own spread and article in a later issue of FHM.
The current photo spread with Jessica and her nine new friends from the cheerleading squads of the Rams, Patriots, Eagles, Bengals, Saints, Dolphins, Bills, Ravens and Redskins is in the September issue, which will be on newsstands within days. Jessica was overwhelmed when she got the invitation to participate.
"I got teary-eyed," she admitted. "Nothing like that has ever happened to me and I was so excited. I had never gotten to do a [magazine spread] or anything major like that before. This just made me speechless."
The FHM.com poll features images of all 10 cheerleaders along with their thoughts on football, rivals, autographs, professional pride and, in Jessica's case, love for the home team.
"I live and breathe pewter, red and black," said Jessica on the site. "I hate it when the Buccaneers lose — all my teammates do. Cheerleaders not only have to be physically tough, but we also have to be thick-skinned when the team isn't doing too well. Like any other fan, we get mad when our team turns the ball over; the difference is we can't show it."
Most often, though, Jessica's tenure as a Buccaneer cheerleader has been exciting, rewarding and, well, cheerful. She certainly enjoyed her trip to New York, and wouldn't mind making another one if NFL fans make her the top vote-getter in FHM's poll.
"I was a small city girl from Polk County and never was able to travel," she said. "Since I made the team I have had the opportunity to go to so many different places, and New York had always been one of those places I wanted to visit. When I flew in I was completely overwhelmed by all the lights and buildings. It was like a dream come true."