When she steps onto the field as a cheerleader for the New England Patriots, Kelsey Zimmerer must know 77 different routines, inside and out.
Whether she’s performing scheduled dances between quarters or spontaneous cheers on the sidelines at the instruction of her squad’s captain, Zimmerer has to be ready to execute the routine to perfection.
Zimmerer, who graduated from Northeastern in 2016, says her passion for dance comes in part from being a perfectionist.
“I love the fact that you can just keep working and working and working on one move, piece of technique, or routine until it’s perfected,” said Zimmerer, who was a member of Northeastern’s Dance Team for five years and is now in her second season as a Patriots cheerleader. “And once you’ve perfected it, it’s so satisfying.”
Zimmerer will be on the field in Foxborough, Massachusetts, cheering on the
Patriots and revving up the crowd on Sunday when New England faces the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round of the National Football League playoffs.
“I love performing,” she said. “Whether it’s on the basketball court at Northeastern or now at Gillette Stadium, it’s just such a rush of adrenaline performing in front of a crowd that I absolutely love.”
Zimmerer started dancing when she was 2, and though she competed in swimming, soccer, and cross-country throughout her childhood, dance was the one that stuck. She would also devour Glamour, Elle, Seventeen, and other fashion and lifestyle magazines as soon as they would arrive at her family’s house, because she was curious to discover which clothing styles people across the world were wearing that she likely wouldn’t see in her small hometown in Connecticut.
It’s no small wonder that dance and fashion remain integral parts of her life today.
By night and weekend, Zimmerer practices and performs as a cheerleader. By day, she is the marketing director at Blank Label, a Boston-based startup that designs custom clothing for men.
Zimmerer envisioned becoming a fashion journalist when she enrolled at Northeastern, but her courses, co-ops, and global studies in London and Paris opened her eyes to other professions in the fashion industry. For her third co-op, she landed a position in public relations at Blank Label, and that job led to her full-time employment at the company after graduation.
She said she applies the same dedication to executing her cheerleading routines as she does in helping grow her business. Blank Label in the past three years has expanded to Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C. She oversaw the redesign of the company’s homepage and led a web campaign featuring photographs and in-depth interviews with nine customers, among many other projects. She also selects and buys the fabrics for the company’s clothing.
Having two jobs makes for a busy schedule. On Tuesdays and Thursdays during the NFL season, Zimmerer works a full day at Blank Label and then drives about 20 miles to Foxborough for cheerleading practice from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
She says there’s no place she’d rather be on a cold January afternoon in New England, like the one forecasted for Sunday with a high of 28 degrees, than cheering on the home team. “We’re great at home,” she said of the Patriots, who were undefeated at Gillette Stadium during the regular season, “so I think this weekend will go in our favor.”
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