America's Girls

America's Girls

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders squad burst onto the field back in 1972—the same year Title IX passed, the same year Deep Throat came out, and a year before Roe v. Wade. Sarah Hepola digs into the untold stories behind the global pop culture phenomenon, from the stripper who allegedly inspired the squad's creation, to a scandalous Playboy cover shoot that was actually a battle over fair wages, to the ongoing debate about sexuality and women’s bodies in a post-#MeToo world. The result is a vibrant mix of history, cultural criticism, and storytelling, featuring interviews with New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino, award-winning novelist Ben Fountain, Oscar-nominated director Dana Adam Shapiro, local television sports legend Dale Hansen, folk-writing hero Joe Nick Patoski, and a whole bunch of cheerleaders whose names you don’t know yet—but should.


November 29, 2021 3 mins
Coming December 7th. For 50 years, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have been a global phenomenon, endlessly photographed, televised and commercialized. They began as an experiment and became America’s sweethearts, a very Texas hybrid of pageant beauty, good-girl etiquette, and come-hither slink. But what’s always been missing from their story is the voices of the cheerleaders themselves—until now. Bestselling author Sarah Hepola ho...
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The modern Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders launch in 1972 and rocket to national fame. For more on this and other episodes, visit
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December 7, 2021 35 mins
The cheerleaders enjoy the glamor of sudden fame, while grappling with low pay and the dangers of celebrity. For more on this and all episodes, go to
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December 14, 2021 38 mins
A group of former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders pose topless in Playboy, and the Cowboys go to court to protect their brand. For more on this and every episode of America's Girls, visit
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December 21, 2021 41 mins
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders uniform is iconic, a symbol of Texas culture for half a century. But its origin story remains remarkably unsettled. For more on this and other episodes, visit
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December 28, 2021 49 mins
No appearances near alcohol. No fraternizing with players. Being a Cowboys cheerleader has always meant living by a long list of rules. But do those rules help protect the cheerleaders, or control them? For more on this and every episode of America's Girls, visit
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January 4, 2022 43 mins
It’s not just about being the right weight. It’s about having the right hair, the right skin, the right boobs, the right legs. Only a very particular kind of beautiful woman gets to wear that uniform. More on this and all episodes at
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January 11, 2022 43 mins
From honey shots to swimsuit calendars, sex has long been part of the cheerleaders’ brand. But is the provocative tease a relic of another era? For more on this and every episode, visit
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January 18, 2022 53 mins
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have navigated scandals and cultural shifts in the last few years. What is their future in this new world? For more on this and every episode, visit
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