If you’ve watched your fair share of American teen flicks, then you’ll know cheerleaders are always depicted as slim, popular and usually blonde.
Note to Hollywood, you’re waaay behind the times.
As cheerleading not only hits this side of the pond with soaring popularity in the UK, it is also embracing athletes of all shapes and sizes.
And one star fiercely shaking her pom-poms for diversity within the sport, is Tiffany Price.
This talented trickster, team captain of the Bournemouth Elite squad, is on a mission to challenge people’s perceptions of what a cheerleader should look like and also empower others that they can do anything regardless of society’s narrow beauty ideals.
Speaking exclusively to InspoDaily, Tiffany said she initially started her journey to change how weight loss journeys are illustrated online, before falling in love with cheerleading and using the sport as a tool to boost her confidence and self-worth.
Tiffany said: “Over time, I became more and more frustrated that if I was ‘skinny’ it would be okay for me to eat what I wanted and wear what I wanted, I wanted to change this narrative.
“I can’t lie, it was difficult and took me a few years to really shake this, but through DMs and comments from other people saying they wore a crop top to brunch or shorts in the gym, regardless of their body shape, it helped and made it so worth it.”
Now, the self-love influencer strives to make people feel happy in their own skin.
Tiffany continued: “Cheerleading is, and I think always will be, the love of my life.
“I have always been a dancer and my teacher also coached a cheerleading team, which my sister was a member of. When I tried out first time, I hated it!
“All the popular girls from school were there and would laugh at me doing warm-up then poke fun at me back at school, so I decided it wasn’t for me and I would stick to dance.”
Yet a year later, when the programme closed down and her sister auditioned for a different squad, Tiffany was tempted to try out too now that she was free of the bullies.
She said: “I very nearly didn’t try out, back then I was so nervous and had huge body image issues. I was terrified the same thing would happen again, but it didn’t, and I loved it.
“I now share my cheerleading journey to prove that you are capable of anything, no matter your size. And, also to show, being a cheerleader doesn’t automatically make you skinny.”
While she may be a role model now, Tiffany is keen to stress she still has brain wobble days and hopes to normalise them so others realise being confident 100% of the time is not always realistic.
She explained: “Being confident doesn’t just happen and doesn’t stay unless you work for it. Feeling insecure is human nature, it sucks.
“I can’t say I’m a master at getting over my wobbles, sometimes they can last days, weeks and months, but I think the best thing for myself is to treat each day as a new day, so that when those days do come, you can tell yourself this is just one day and hopefully tomorrow will be better.”
Tiffany’s dedication to helping others blossom is certainly having a ripple effect with many more plus-size cheerleaders now on the scene, which she says fills her “heart and soul with joy”.
Quizzed about how we can move forward without judgement and prejudice, Tiffany believes that less is often more when it comes to teaching future generations.
She said: “I’m not sure we need specific body image education, bringing attention to it almost exacerbates the situation.
“Schools can do small things though to make young people understand that looks aren’t everything, such as not forcing people to do PE; taking weight gain away from being a negative side effect of overeating/lack of exercise and focus on feeling lethargic or having less concentration instead; having bigger sizes available in the lost property if bigger pupils forget their kit; and making sure that in art, models are of all different shapes, colours and sizes.”
By leading with actions rather than just words, Tiffany believes we can create greater change.
Tiffany concluded: “Overall, I think we are on the right track to a more inclusive society, however there is still a lot of work to do.
“I hope that through my Instagram page there are younger people who don’t have to feel the same way myself and many others felt.”
If you’re looking for a sign to say goodbye to your inner critic, this is it!
To start your self-love journey, click here: Tiffany Price.