When I launched CheerTheory back in 2016, cheerleading was much different and it felt like there was power in being anonymous. But after a wildly turbulent year in the cheerleading world, my opinion about that has changed. So, I’d like to reintroduce myself.
Will the Real CheerTheory Please Stand Up?
My name is Alex Gaggioli – former cheerleader, marketing professional, and all-around cheer fanatic. I currently live in San Diego, but I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago where I started my all-star cheerleading career. I cheered for Cheer Alliance, Cheer Fusion, and Ultimate Athletics before moving to California where I joined The California All Stars. In my final three years of cheer, I competed at the Cheerleading Worlds in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
After graduating high school, I attended the University of San Diego, and through a twist of fate (and a lot of luck), I was invited to join Cali Coed. I had not planned to cheer in college, but the opportunity to cheer for legendary California All Stars was too good to pass up.
From Cheer Alliance to The California All Stars – I am forever grateful for the programs, coaches, and friends I met as an athlete. You fall in love with cheerleading because of the people around you.
After finishing my super senior year, I hung up my cheer shoes to focus on school. While in college, I interned for several different technology startups. I graduated in 2015 and worked for a startup software company in a social media and content marketing role. I spent a lot of time in college and my first year working thinking about the internet and how people consumed information. Between marketing and technology, I have an obsession with the way people find information.
A Compliment Queen Emerges
I wasn’t actively involved in cheerleading for a few years, but as you well know, you never truly escape this wild world.
In 2016, cheerleading, from an internet perspective, was in a different place. At the time, cheerleading news spread mainly through Twitter, Facebook, and the Fierce Boards. I saw an opportunity to build a website that would organize and share cheerleading results, general information, and the occasional fun blog post. Fun fact – before CheerTheory there was no accurate list of Cheerleading Worlds Medalists. USASF didn’t even have a public-facing list of results back then. In fact, Varsity didn’t have a centralized results website either – let alone anyone else. Wild!
If you were around back in CheerTheory’s first and second season, you know that I tried to share both results and videos. It became nearly impossible to include videos when Varsity implemented their new media policy and live-streaming became the new normal. But, I discovered people were still interested in Cheerleading Worlds bid event results, blogs, rankings, and stats.
As I was trying to grow my following on Twitter, I quickly found out that the easiest way to get peoples’ attention was to live-tweet competition performances with a compliment. A pretty big influencer in the cheer world tried to make fun of CheerTheory by calling me the Compliment Queen. But, that was a perfect way to describe what this website and CT’s Twitter turned into. As it turns out, there’s value in being nice to people!
A Crystal-Encrusted Journey
Fast-forward to 2018, I was offered a marketing manager position at GK Cheer. It felt like the opportunity of a lifetime – they were forming a new team to rebrand GK Cheer into GK All Star and take on the industry with a reimagined flare.
I quickly discovered that taking a job at a major company in the all-star cheer world was going to make more than a few people upset. Before I even started, someone (who I will not name) tried to get my media pass for an upcoming competition revoked. Related to that incident, a high-up Varsity employee told me that taking the job at GK was likely going to limit my opportunities to work with them as it related to CheerTheory. If you had any doubt that all star cheerleading is an insider’s game… I’m here to tell you that there is no doubt.
Beyond that mess, my job at GK offered an insane amount of opportunity. I worked with hundreds of athletes, programs, and companies across the country. A few of my favorite projects included:
- Building one of cheerleading’s largest influencer programs – The ELITES
- GK All Star + Swarovski’s Vibrant Crystal launch commercial
- The Spectator All Stars Skinny Legends uniforms
- And my all-time favorite – F5’s reimagined velvet uniform
Here’s a picture of me wearing the Spectator All Stars uniform on Halloween:
Recently, a few anonymous people have tried to slam me on Twitter for not disclosing my relationship with GK. And they’re probably right. But to be clear, GK didn’t pay me to post a single thing about them on CheerTheory, and they had no control of what I posted otherwise.
I have since left my job at GK. I now work full time as a digital marketing manager at a software company unrelated to cheerleading.
Prepped for the Future
I am not sure if anyone truly cares to know this information about me – but my future plans require people to know who I am.
I believe that the days of anonymity are over if you want to work professionally in cheerleading. For what it’s worth, I’m SafeSport certified, and every job I’ve had required extensive background checks.
Moving forward, if anyone other than myself is working for CheerTheory, they will be background checked, and their identities will be readily available.
A Big Thanks to the Compliment Crew
In February, CheerTheory turns five, which is INSANE. I cannot believe it has been this long. Over the years, countless people have helped grow CheerTheory. From the gym owners and coaches who helped me fall in love with this sport to my cheer friends who step in to help at the big competitions, I am grateful.
2020 was poised to be this silly website’s biggest year ever, but here we are – taking it day by day. I’m confident that we’ll find some normalcy in 2021 and that this compliment crew will be back on the road sooner rather than later.
Thank you for following CheerTheory and for trusting me to share this sport with you.
ANYWAY – hope that was fun.
SEE YA NEXT YEAR 🧡