Hi everyone! Since the NBA (National Basketball Association) Playoffs are underway, I’m sharing an interview I did with my sister, Victoria Rivera aka Tory Riv a few months back. Victoria participates in the Houston Rockets Launch Crew. She’s also a model and elementary school teacher in Houston. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, I also interviewed her when she was cheering for the MLS (Major League Soccer) team, Houston Dynamo. In case you missed it, you can check it out here. All photos in this post were taken by Quy Ngo.
Me: Tell us about your experience in acting and dance. When did you first become passionate about them?
Victoria: I have always been doing something that had to do with the performing arts. I started in gymnastics and got up to competition level and then ended up transitioning into competitive cheerleading. I did cheerleading for a couple of years and got to travel to many different places to compete! The All-Star squad that I was on decided to add an all-star dance team as well and I did that for a little while. That’s when I got my first taste of dance and I loved it! I also have loved theater since middle school. We had an option of electives to take and I really enjoyed it. I really became serious in theater and dance in my sophomore year of high school. I did track and volleyball in my freshmen year. I always found myself watching the dancers practice in the middle of the gym when we were practicing volleyball at the same time. I was more interested in their practice then my volleyball practice so that is when I decided that I would try out for the dance team the following year. I also began taking theater classes and joined the drama club. The passion came at an early age. The feeling that you get when you’re on the competition mat, the field and the stage is indescribable. The hard work and dedication that it takes also contributes to the passion and respect that I have for the arts and everyone who does it.
Me: What’s been one of your favorite acting or dance acts in life so far? Why?
Victoria: Viva! El Paso was a big part of my life because that was actually when I went from just a performer to becoming a professional. Performing in community theatre shows in San Antonio was fun too! Also, my first professional dance team in Houston, The Dynamo Girls was great. I have a favorite memory for everything that I’ve gotten the opportunity to be involved in.
Me: Who would you say has inspired you in life and why?
Victoria: My teachers are a big part of why I became so passionate about the arts. Mr. Jaime Barba and Mrs. Beth Leffler, along with Mrs. Margie Dykes were the best teachers that I could have asked for earlier on. They are my inspiration. As far as just everyday life, my husband inspires me in every way imaginable and always will.
Me: How and when did you become part of the Houston Rockets dance/cheer team? Explain the long process and what it took to become part of the team.
Victoria: I became part of the Houston Rockets Launch crew in July 2016. The Launch Crew is an interactive performance group made up of unique and powerful performers. More specifically, tumblers, pop and lockers, break dancers, and cheer stunters. I tumble and am part of a few of us they like to call the “chancers” or cheerleader dancers.
The tryout process was extremely challenging due to the amount of raw talent that is in the room. You either have it or you don’t. We specialize in something and need to be able to execute it on the NBA court.
Me: Have you ever met any of the Houston Rocket players and/or any A-list celebrities at the games? If so, what were they like?
Victoria: We are not able to interact with the players. We should be focusing on our responsibilities at the game as should the players. We sometimes catch them warming up. We make the tunnel for them when (they’re) getting announced so that’s fun! I like to compare their height to mine as they are running through. We’ve seen a lot of people courtside. My favorites are (singer) Ashanti and Simone Biles (Olympic gymnast). We’ve also been able to be on the court while the 69 Boyz and Quad City DJs performed (Me: OMG, the “Tootsee Roll” guys). They performed during the halftime shows for our Throwback Thursday games! I can’t wait to see who performs during our playoff games!
Me: Just for fun and because I’m a big fan, tell us about that time you saw or met rapper Paul Wall at a Houston nightclub a couple of years back.
Victoria: Yes, it was at my Bachlorette Party and it actually wasn’t planned at all. Living in Houston, you just run in to the coolest people unexpectedly. He also performed. That was a ton of fun! I got to show some of my friends from El Paso what H-Town was all about! (Me: Thanks for the invite! ;))
Me: So what happens after the Houston Rockets? You said you wanted to retire from dancing on Thanksgiving.
Victoria: Being an NBA or NFL cheerleader was my ultimate goal in this part of my life and it was accomplished and thoroughly enjoyed so we shall see.
Me: When you aren’t teaching or dancing, where can people usually find you?
Victoria: At the gym, shopping, or hanging out with my husband, dog, and/or friends.
Me: I have plenty of guilty pleasures like eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos with nacho cheese. Tell us about one or some of yours.
Victoria: I love CHEESE anything with CHEESE on it or in it or heck just CHEESE on its own. I also love ice cream.
Me: What’s your favorite quote that you live by in life?
Victoria: “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” -unknown “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible.” -Audrey Hepburn
Me: What are some of your favorite things you can only get in El Paso?
Victoria: Chicos Tacos, my mom and grandma’s food, the culture.
Me: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Victoria: After being involved in the performing arts in El Paso, San Antonio and Houston, I’d like to offer my help and/or advice to break into pro cheerleading or any other area of the performing arts. I will do my best to advise! Please feel free to leave comments in the blog!
One more! BTW, what happened to Mike Jones??