Before the performances in front of 71,000 Ravens faithful on Sundays, before the countless appearances and mingling with the fans, before the photo shoots and the swimsuit calendar signings, Adriene B. was just a small-town girl who liked working with animals.
"I [have] a very tomboy personality," the redhead said with a laugh. If she had been told back in high school what she would be doing today, she wouldn't have believed it.
Growing up in Mt. Airy, Md., Adriene spent a lot of her time working on farms. She worked for a farm that rescued neglected horses from all over the state of Maryland, and later moved on to an animal hospital, working her way up to become a vet technician.
"I ended up raising a lot of birds while I was working at the hospital back home," Adriene said, noting her desire to go into aviary medicine. "They would fly around the house while I was doing my work.
"It was Little House on the Prairie-type stuff."
When she wasn't working with her birds, Adriene was a student at the University of Maryland, where she continued her cheerleading career for the Terps. It was also there that she met the two cheerleader coaches who would have a strong impact on her life, Tina Galdieri and Tracy Farasy.
"They taught me that I can feel and look like a woman and still be my tomboy self," Adriene said.
Galdieri and Farasy also run the Ravens cheerleading program. So in 2006, Adriene tried out and made the team on her first try. Though she initially wanted to try out for the Washington Wizards cheer squad, the prospect of playing for the NFL's only stunt team was too good to pass up.
She admits, however, that cheering for the Ravens wasn't something she ever thought she could do. Nor was posing for a swimsuit calendar. But when she was selected to go on the inaugural Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar Shoot, she jumped at the chance.
Adriene thinks back at last year's shoot and it feels like a blur. "It was the shortest moment of my life," said remembered. Being the perfectionist she is, the sole redhead on the squad wasn't sure her shots would be good enough afterward.
As it turned out, her shots were good enough for the cover.
"I couldn't believe that Tina actually said my name," Adriene recollected of the day the cover model was announced. Having been happy just to participate on the trip, she had initially been excited for her teammates, hoping one of them would make the cover.
Surprisingly, Adriene doesn't get recognized that often, despite her cover girl status. It's important to her that she keeps her Ravens life and personal life separate.
"The thing about Adriene is that she's very down to Earth and low-maintenance, and then you look at her in front of a camera and she's a super-model," said Shamea, one of Adriene's teammates.
As the Ravens kicked off their second calendar shoot this week, Adriene was the first girl to be photographed Monday as her teammates looked on. She is excited to see how it goes now that they "have one under our belt." And while she may not make the cover the second time around, Adriene knows her glamorous past-time won't interfere with her small-town roots.
Notes of the Day
Rookie Spencer B. celebrated her birthday today. After announcing that the Ravens cheerleaders were aboard this morning's U.S. Airways flight, the pilot wished Spencer a Happy Birthday...During the 15-minute drive from the Bahamas airport to the Wyndham Nassau hotel, one of the two buses transporting cheerleaders and staff was side-swiped by a truck, shattering one of the large windows on the bus. Luckily, no one was seriously injured...In addition to the 23 other cheerleaders who watched her afternoon photo shoot, Adriene had a few other onlookers during her time in front of the camera. 98 Rock's Mickey, as well as several fans, contest winners and vacationers stood around as she struck her poses...All 24 girls attended a Press Party at the end of the day and had the opportunity to mingle with and sign autographs for other hotel guests.
- Behind the Shoots