The Super Bowl is a bittersweet time of year for Ana De Villegas, the founder and executive director of the Gotham City Cheerleaders, a troupe of 24 dancers and "stunters" that she founded in 2011 with the express purpose of becoming the official New York Giants cheerleaders.
After all, as another season comes to a close, the Cheerleaders have yet to perform inside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., where the Giants and Jets play their home games – at least officially. Most people are surprised to learn that the Giants have no cheerleaders, so, she admitted, "when we launched, security would just let us in. They'd say, 'Hey! The cheerleaders are here'."
But that may yet change. "We've spoken to Giants management about making a one-time appearance, and they've been responsive," De Villegas told Fox News Latino. "So we can hope for that."
Until then, De Villegas and the other Gotham City Cheerleaders are filling up their dance cards by cheering for the Brooklyn Bolts of the Fall Experimental Football League and performing at corporate events and even appearing in a cheerleaders-taking-over-a-school skit on the next "Saturday Night Live."
"They won't really tell us exactly what we're going to be doing," De Villegas said about the appearance on the iconic comedy sketch show, "but it's pretty special."
De Villegas, 31, was born in Bolivia, but her parents moved to the United States when she was very young. She gave up law school in order to pursue a dance career and wound up as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader.
Her experience taught her that the Giants, one of only six teams in the NFL without a cheerleading squad, are missing out on a lot.
"The main job of a cheerleader is community service," she said. "In my experience with the Redskins, I got to see what a difference cheerleading squads make in the community. They are an extension of the team and its management. We ran a juniors program for young girls that provided a real confidence boost for many of them. And the fans love it."
With the team playing in the "entertainment Mecca of the world," she added, "it would be a win-win for the Giants."
The current crop of cheerleaders for the most part have day jobs, De Villegas said, adding that it is her "ultimate goal" to change that. She herself did legal work on Wall Street until Gotham City Cheerleaders "took over her life," she said.
"The payoff," she said, "is the lifestyle and the people you get to meet, like with any other service organization."
The Giants are resistant to hiring cheerleaders, De Villegas believes, because they are "one of the more traditional franchises in the league, so they're a little more sensitive about it."
Asked whether she will watch the football game or the cheerleaders during the Super Bowl on Sunday, De Villegas answered, "The game, although I do look out for the cheerleaders."