Hey there, Jets fans,
Did you know that over 1.25 million people visit the island of Aruba each year? And this year you can count the Flight Crew Cheerleaders in!
We boarded our green and white New York Jets logo wrapped plane (thanks JetBlue!) and winged our way to the sunny southern Caribbean island for our 2011-12 calendar shoot.
Once we arrived we hit the ground running. Calling the Aruba Radisson our new home for the week, we prepped for shooting, got our appearance schedules, and when a rookie like me quickly realized this was for real, the nerves had officially set in.
In fact, the thing that made me most nervous about the trip was not knowing if the other girls would like me, sort of like the first day of school all over again. But from the moment we arrived in Aruba it was like a giant sorority. We took over an entire floor of the hotel and were in and out of each other's rooms all week, sharing clothes and jewelry and talking the nights away.
I had a fantastic roommate, Jessica S., who gave me tons of great Flight Crew advice, and Jessika V. was always down for a shopping trip into town with me. All vets did such a great job and so did all the rookies. I really left feeling like I was part of a team again.
Even though we had a lot to accomplish on this trip, we still had time for fun and when it comes to fun in Aruba, the Flight Crew Cheerleaders have one word for you — tubing. At least once a day you could find us bopping back and forth behind a speed boat hanging on as tight as we could, getting totally drenched, and spitting out seawater. Not our most glamorous moments, but certainly the most memorable ones.
Bonding aside, when it came time for my shoot I was actually really excited, and after seeing the other girls' photos and I knew I was in good hands. I got up around 3:30 in the morning, practiced my poses in the mirror (don't laugh, I wanted to be prepared) and headed out to hair and makeup.
Katie, Colleen and I traveled across the island to a secluded spot called Baby Beach to shoot. Our photographer and her team made the shoot feel laid back, and having Denise there for support made it easier.
There was one moment in particular when I was sitting in the water doing a mini interview when it hit me how much of a departure this was from my "normal life." Doing an interview, on the set of a photo shoot, looking the best I will probably ever look in a bathing suit — I said to myself, "Soak it up, Donna Marie, this will never happen again."
Going on this trip as a rookie was such a privilege. Making the team was the day I got my dream job and then to top it off with the opportunity of a lifetime to potentially be in the New York Jets Flight Crew calendar —I will be forever grateful. Who knows? Maybe you will even see me in the calendar!
See you at the Game.