Year in school: Senior.
Where from: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Major/occupational goals: Simons, who was born in Okinawa, Japan, is majoring in business marketing and minoring in recreation and leisure. She plans on traveling to Africa or Panama after graduating in December to help in children’s development. After that she wants to help out with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, set to open in 2015. As far as a career, Simons says “something to do with event planning services or marketing for large-scale events such as award shows or Vegas-style conventions.”
Why she chose UNLV: Wanting to get out of Colorado, Simons’ choices were UNLV or San Diego State. She made the Rebels cheer squad first and thought “it would be pretty cool to have a house in Vegas at 17.”
How she got into dancing: She practiced gymnastics from 6 to 10, before quitting for basketball. The guard’s sport of choice changed again when she tore an ACL during her junior year at Sand Creek High School in Colorado Springs. “By the time I was healed, the only sport I could try out for was cheerleading. It kind of started like a joke, but I turned out being pretty good at it.”
Outside interests: A member of Delta Sigma Theta, she “performs community service in the African-American community.” When not cheering, or step-dancing, Simons can be found playing with her 2-year-old brother, Kobe.
Favorite Rebel: Mike Moser. “He works his ass off on the court. Also last year during the Rebel Kids Club event, he was the student-athlete who really engaged with the kids the most. He wasn’t shy or standoffish. He jumped right in the bounce house with the kids and was talking to them. I admired that.”
Favorite moment during a UNLV sporting event: Simons, who readily admits to her own clumsiness, was the first one on the mat during a competition at the MGM Grand her freshman year—but not for long. “I ran out there and tripped right on my pom-poms and face-planted. I tried to get up, but slipped again. The first 30 seconds of the routine we were all cracking up.” Even worse, during the first football game of her freshman year, Simons was run over by the cart Hey Reb was driving and had to be carried off the field. “I still say it was his fault.”
Favorite song to dance to: “Viva Las Vegas”
Best way to get the crowd going: “It’s a trickle-down effect. Every time a player scores the cheerleaders do a little half turn and cheer, and I think our cheering then help gets the crowd going.”
Bet you didn’t know this: Perhaps part of the reason behind Simons’ cheering failures is her “eyesight irresponsibility.” “I’m blind. A lot of the games I don’t have my contacts in, or I might just have one because I didn’t have any solution to clean them. A lot of times I can’t really see what’s going on with the crowd. But I do have glasses in my car for driving.”