Cheer star Gabi Butler has hinted that a second season of the hit Netflix show may well be in the works, urging fans of the show to ‘stay tuned’ for news about its return.
The 22-year-old cheerleading phenom, from Boca Raton, Florida, spoke to DailyMail.com about the ways in which her life was changed by the hit reality series, which focused on the Navarro College Cheer Team and their quest for a national championship title.
But while Gabi seemingly bid farewell to the Corsicana, Texas-based college at the end of the show, she has now suggested that she may well return for another series – and perhaps another shot at a national title.
Ready to return? Cheer star Gabi Butler has hinted that she may return for a second season of the hit Netflix series while discussing a new initiative with Playtex Sport
Positivity: The 22-year-old Florida native starred in the first season of the series, which followed the Navarro College Cheer Team and their quest for a national championship title
Remaining incredibly coy about the possibility of a second season, Gabi simply said: ‘I can’t really say much, but stay tuned.’
Gabi admitted that she is still flying high – both literally and figuratively – after the success of the first season of Cheer, which quickly became one of the most-watched shows on Netflix when it premiered in January.
One of the main benefits for the reality star has been the increased awareness about the sport of cheerleading and the incredible physical demands placed on athletes who compete at the highest levels.
‘I am so happy with the Cheer series and the spotlight it has put on the sport,’ she said.
‘It’s been incredible to have so many new opportunities since Cheer premiered, and I’ve loved seeing how people now understand that cheerleading isn’t just dancing around with pom poms.
‘It’s a serious sport that requires so much training and conditioning.’
Starring in the series did have a few drawbacks however – namely the increased scrutiny that Gabi and her co-stars faced on social media.
A few weeks after Cheer premiered, the Florida native spoke out to defend her parents, who were accused by some viewers of putting too much pressure on their daughter and pushing her to take on jobs that would make money.
End of an era… or not: Gabi left Navarro College at the end of the series, but she has now suggested that she may return to compete for the college again
Spotlight: The cheerleader was arguably the most famous face to appear on the series, having shot to fame in the cheer world with her YouTube channel and Instagram account
Difficulty: After Cheer premiered in January, Gabi’s parents faced backlash online from some viewers who accused them of pressuring their daughter
‘I want to clear something up. My parents are amazing and have always been there for me,’ she wrote in a statement shared on social media.
Accusations included people saying Butler’s parents were using her success in cheerleading to make their own money, but the cheerleader said none of her earned income went to them.
One month later, Cheer creator Greg Whiteley admitted in an interview with KCRW that he ‘owed them an apology’, confessing that he regrets the fact that his ‘true feelings for them as people didn’t come out in three dimensions in our telling of their story’.
Criticism on social media is certainly not something that is new to Gabi however – in fact it’s something that was hinted at on the show, when she is seen opening up about her struggle to deal with negativity online.
Before Cheer even premiered, Gabi – who started cheering at the age of eight – had carved out a reputation as one of cheerleading’s brightest stars, having rose to prominence on YouTube at an early age when she started posting instructional videos for fellow cheerleaders.
Having already amassed hundreds of thousands of followers online, Gabi was undoubtedly the most famous face to appear on the show, and with that came a heightened level of scrutiny and criticism.
But Gabi insists that the show actually helped her to love herself, although she noted that self love and self confidence are things she continues to focus her energies on even now.
‘It’s really important to love yourself,’ she explained. ‘I’m glad Cheer helped me with that and it’s something I’ll continue to work on.’
Superstar: Despite dealing with social media backlash, Gabi says being a part of Cheer was an incredible experience – and one that helped her learn to love herself
New reality: Gabi admits that she never planned to compete in college cheer, and only ended up joining Navarro after she had moved to Texas to join another team
Taking time: The cheerleading star says she is still continuing to work on self love and self confidence, and she urged others so do the same
Her experience at Navarro also provided her with something else important: Coach Monica Aldama, the ferocious but fantastic ‘queen of cheer’ who led Gabi and her team to a national championship title at the end of the series.
Although Gabi has left Navarro and moved onto another team – Top Gun OO in Miami – she still carries Coach Monica’s words of wisdom with her, something that she regularly shares with anyone else who is going through a struggle with their self confidence.
‘I would share a piece of advice that Coach Monica gave me – be better than you were yesterday,’ she said. ‘If you don’t have a great day, there will be more days to try to better yourself. This reminder helps me stay positive.’
Interestingly, Gabi never planned to go to college. Having been homeschooled for much of her life so that she could be free to travel for cheerleading and various jobs, the 22-year-old said she only decided to attend Navarro after moving to Texas to join another team.
‘I was apprehensive about starting college because college cheer was something I never anticipated doing,’ she said.
‘When I moved to Texas it was to cheer on another team, but my friend cheering on Navarro told me how incredible it was and that I had to join – it ended up being the best thing I could’ve done.’
Her time at Navarro gave Gabi a glimpse at what a ‘normal’ college experience might look like – albeit under the watchful eye of Cheer producers and crew members – and she urges any high school seniors out there to be ‘open’ to all of the new opportunities that lie ahead of them.
‘My advice to seniors heading off to college is be open to new experiences and whatever life throws your way!’ she said.
Heartbreak: Gabi is set to host an online senior night with Playtex Sport on Thursday to give high schoolers a chance to celebrate their sports season amid the coronavirus pandemic
Despite not attending high school in the traditional sense, Gabi will get the chance to celebrate with a host of seniors on Thursday evening when she’ll host an online senior night with Playtex Sport in honor of all those student athletes who had their seasons cut short as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Finding a way to mark such an important night in spite of the COVID-19 outbreak couldn’t be more important to Gabi, who says such events were an essential part of her experience at Navarro, and as a cheerleader.
The cheerleading star knows how bitterly disappointing it is to have a season cut short, having seen her own hopes of attending another national championship competition in Daytona, Florida, dashed when group gatherings and sporting events across the country were banned.
‘As an athlete, we work so hard all season and look forward to these events as a way to celebrate,’ she explained.
‘I feel like all the athletes this year kinda got cheated because they got robbed of their senior seasons and championships.
‘For me, I was heartbroken when Daytona was cancelled just two weeks before we were supposed to compete after so many months of training. With #VirtualSeniorNight, we’re recreating that special celebration to pay tribute to 2020’s graduating athletes, and I’m so thrilled that we can bring some light during this challenging time.
‘The event will be on Playtex Sport’s Instagram live on Thursday 5/21 at 7PM ET.
‘Coaches nominated their student athletes to be honored, and I’m going to be paying tribute to them with speeches that celebrate their accomplishments and all their hard work. I love Playtex Sport because they always encourage women to play on, and that’s going to be the spirit of the event.