‘Cheer’ Coach Monica Aldama Says People View Her Differently Since the Netflix Series

The mega-hit Netflix show Cheer shows the Navarro College cheerleading team work their way to the national championships. Coached by Monica Aldama, the cheerleaders from the documentary series have become mini-celebrities. Ellen Degeneres invited the cast onto her daytime talk show, and Oprah had the cheerleaders join her onstage on her live Vision tour. Aldama recently revealed how Cheer has changed her life–and how others see her as a coach and human being.

The ‘Cheer’ cast, including Lexi, Morgan, and Jerry has become incredibly popular since the series aired

Cheer cast on Oprah
Oprah Winfrey with the cast of Netflix’s Cheer | Omar Vega/Getty Images

Monica Aldama, the tough-but-motherly Navarro Cheer coach, was recently interviewed by CNN Sport. As CNN pointed out, the popularity of the series influenced the way people look at cheerleading.

Mapping the season of Navarro College’s dominant cheer squad, the viral sensation has changed the way thousands of people view the sport. Dedication, sacrifice and hours of practice are laid bare as young athletes from across the US find sanctuary in the most unlikely of places.

But aside from the show itself, the personalities of the cheerleaders–and the coach–have shined through. It’s gotten the Cheer cast a lot of attention from other media outlets.

Jerry Harris, one of the most lovable cheerleaders from the Netflix show, even got to talk to movie stars on the red carpet at the Oscars.

“Appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Oprah’s live tour catapulted the entire team to stardom and shone a bright light on Aldama’s unrivaled success and methods,” CNN wrote.

Aldama responds to criticism of ‘Cheer’ related to the frequent injuries

But not all of the attention geared towards Cheer has been positive. Many viewers took issue with the high number of injuries shown in the docuseries.

“Viewers see multiple concussions and other head injuries,” Amanda Mull wrote in The Atlantic. “… It’s unclear whether any of them ever [see a doctor].” Mull blamed much of the lack of care for injuries on Aldama–and her role in these young adults’ lives.

“If Aldama understands that her motherlike role in her cheerleaders’ lives encourages them to sacrifice their safety for her—or if she disapproves of their tendency to do so—she never mentions it,” Mull argued.

The cast of Cheer
Aldama, Jerry Harris, Gabi Butler, and La’Darius Marshall on Today | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Aldama said that editing had a lot to do with the focus on injuries.

“They showed every time we fell,” Aldama said of the Netflix show, “but they didn’t show the one thousand times that we did it right or the progressions that we did to build up to the harder skills.” Aldama did acknowledge the inherent danger of the sport.

“We definitely are very safe, but it is cheerleading,” the Cheer star said. “It’s a risky sport that we’re doing but we do take precautions and I think that it was just a little heavy on the injuries.”

Cheerleading coach Monica Aldama says the reactions to the Netflix series have been overwhelming

“I’m very competitive and I want to be successful but I also want to be that person that leads by example. I really set a high standard for myself,” Aldama told CNN. But since the show has gone viral, the reactions to her coaching style–and her as a person–have been all over the place.

“It’s very strange, because I’ve had so many people view me in different ways after watching this show,” Aldama said. “Some people love me, some people don’t.”

The cheer coach who has led several teams to championship titles says it doesn’t affect the way she sees herself.

“I know where my heart is and I know what happened the other four months that were not in those six hours,” Aldama said of the Cheer series. “I would not change anything.”