The Untold Truth Of Cheer's Monica Aldama

Whether you're a current or former cheerleader, a sports fan, or just a lover of good reality television, you've likely heard of "Cheer." The Netflix docuseries chronicles the student athletes in the cheer program at Navarro College. The show, created by Greg Whiteley of "Last Chance U" fame, follows the ups and downs of the team as they compete nationally.


While the athletes have become breakout stars in their own right, "Cheer" lovers know the glue that holds the squad together is their head coach Monica Aldama. The legendary coach has led the team to multiple national championships and titles. Known as the "Queen," as her team calls her, Whiteley knew Aldama would be great to spotlight. "It doesn't take very long to search on the Internet to find Monica and Navarro," Whiteley told KWTX. "As soon as I heard her voice, I immediately thought she would be an amazing main subject of a documentary series, she was incredibly passionate and you could hear how much she cared."

While you might know about Aldama on the mat, here are some things you might not get from "Cheer."


She's one of America's most successful coaches

Avid "Cheer" fans witnessed Monica Aldama's great coaching skills, but did you know she's one of the most successful coaches in the U.S.? In her more than two-decade career coaching at Navarro College, Aldama has won 14 National Cheer Association Junior College Division National Championships, according to Navarro College. Additionally, she and her team have won five Grand National Titles and currently hold the record for the highest score in National Cheer Association history.


All of this winning has led to Aldama becoming an acclaimed collegiate coach. In 2020, she told KWTX her goal was to have America's premier cheerleading program. Not only has her team's reputation lived up to that aspiration, but they've also attracted talented prospective athletes. However, despite being renowned for their wins, Aldama believes the true value lies in the team's culture. "We have a lot of kids who could have gone anywhere they wanted," she said to KWTX. "When they see our success — they're interested, but when they come down and see the family aspect of it — it keeps them here."

She became close with her Dancing With the Stars partner

Monica Aldama proved she could compete outside of cheer when she became a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2020. Although many expected her to win because of her background, the "Cheer" coach had no prior dance experience and actually found it hard to learn new body movements.


While Aldama didn't win "Dancing With the Stars," being eliminated during the seventh week of the competition, she didn't go home empty-handed. Instead, she gained a new friendship with her professional dance partner Val Chmerkovskiy. "He's incredible, and he's taught me way more than just dance," Aldama told Entertainment Tonight about her partner after their elimination. "I'll miss him. It'll definitely feel a little weird tomorrow when I get up and I won't be going to meet Val for rehearsals." 

Although they would no longer see each other for practice, Aldama and Chmerkovskiy maintained their friendship by keeping in touch and supporting each other. Chmerkovskiy even met the Navarro College cheer team when he visited Texas, according to Aldama's memoir (via Us Weekly). 


Monica Aldama didn't think she would be a coach

While Monica Aldama has become a very successful coach in her more than two decades working in the field, she didn't know she would be here. In fact, Aldama didn't think she would be coaching at all. According to an interview with The Cut, the "Cheer" star initially thought she'd be working in the financial sector, specifically on Wall Street.


Aldama was working for a computer company after she'd graduated from college when her friend encouraged her to apply to an opening for a coaching position. "I love cheerleading and figured I could do that at least temporarily, until I figured out something else," she told The Cut. However, that didn't happen and Aldama is still coaching at Navarro College. Even though she had thoughts about going back into finance, Aldama stayed at Navaro believing coaching and mentoring are her "purpose in life" and the cheer program was her "baby." "I built it," she said about the program in her interview with The Cut. "How can I ever turn it over to someone else?"

The coach advocates for the LGBTQ+ athletes on her team

Monica Aldama might be a coach, but that's not the only role she plays in her athletes' lives. As "Cheer" fans have seen, she's also a maternal figure and even a friend to the Navarro College cheerleaders. She admitted to Women's Health that she has multiple group chats with past and present team members.


Taking on these roles naturally leads to Aldama being a part of her cheerleader's lives off the competition floor. "This is like actually taking care of these kids, giving them a safe place, giving them someone to talk to," she also told Women's Health. Living in a conservative area, this "safe place" sometimes means standing up for the male LGBTQ+ members on the team, whom she affectionately refers to as her "boys." Not only has Aldama shared tears and words of encouragement with her boys, but she's also been known to speak up for them, according to Oprah Daily.

The harsh treatment Aldama's boys can experience, particularly when the team travels, makes the coach want to shield the athletes even more. "I have relationships with these kids where I feel like a motherly figure, and I want to protect them and I want to take care of them," she told The Cut. "And that's why, in the show, I said I'll fight tooth and nail to protect my boys."


Monica Aldama's a Swiftie

Aside from the cast, competitions, and stunts, "Cheer" is also known and praised for its music. While the show features songs from artists like Megan Thee Stallion and HAIM, Coach Monica Aldama is likely listening to songs like "Love Story" or "Look What You Made Me Do" during her downtime. That's right — Aldama is a big Taylor Swift fan and the musician is a mainstay on her playlists.


With Aldama being a Swiftie (what Swift fans affectionately call themselves), it was only right that Aldama danced to "Shake It Off" during her stint on "Dancing With the Stars." And like many fans, she even stays up to listen to Swift's albums on release days, which she posted about on her Instagram while decked out in a "Taylor Swift" shirt. However, perhaps Aldama's biggest moment as a Swiftie happened when Swift sent her a special gift and note, which Aldama gushed about on Instagram. "Thank you @taylorswift for sending me this beautiful cardigan," Aldama captioned the photo of her sporting a gifted sweater. "'Folklore' is brilliant and I've had it on repeat all day!"

She married her husband twice

Those who watched "Dancing With the Stars" got a glimpse into Monica Aldama's marriage when she shared the story of her relationship with her husband, Chris Aldama, during a candid video package. During the package, as Parade shared, the "Cheer" star took viewers through her and her husband's journey — from meeting in middle school to being a young married couple. Unfortunately, the pair hit a turbulent time in their marriage and got divorced.


"Having babies can be one of the hardest times of your life," Aldama wrote in her memoir "Full Out" (excerpted by Us Weekly). "You don't sleep. You worry. I was working a lot while we were trying to raise these young children. And our marriage suffered." The Aldamas were divorced for one year, according to Parade. After using their separation as a "time to reflect," they eventually remarried. They have now been married for more than 25 years, and their relationship is prospering. Aldama fans can now see the coach posting loving photos of her and her husband, along with their two children, on her social media.

She didn't expect Cheer to be a hit

"Cheer" fans might be surprised to learn coach and star Monica Aldama didn't think the show would be as big as it is. However, from breakout stars to social media conversations, it's clear the show has captured viewers in and out of the cheer community. This was a surprise for Aldama, who thought "Cheer" would be more arcane. "We had no idea that the whole world was gonna watch it," Aldama told Oprah Daily in 2020 about the show's success. "We filmed this last year and we thought we were just filming a cheer documentary and that the cheer community would just want to watch it."


Of course, after watching the series one can see how "Cheer" became a hit. Aldama even admitted to being moved by the stories of her student-athletes when she watched the show, not expecting to become as "emotional" as she did. "Even though I know these kids, I know their stories, it was just told in such a touching way that, I've watched it four times and I've cried every single time," she said to Us Weekly.