Quinton Peron is a trailblazer and Super Bowl champion. Five years ago, the Los Angeles Rams hired him as one of the first two male cheerleaders in modern NFL history, and he’s used his platform as a launching pad towards stardom ever since.
Peron has worked two Super Bowls–he was one of five out gay male Rams cheerleaders who joined the team last year for their win over the Cincinnati Bengals–and just finished a stint on CBS’ “Amazing Race.” While Peron is now retired from the sidelines, he works as a choreographer for at least 12 NFL and NBA teams, including the Rams and NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Today, there are dozens of male cheerleaders across the NFL, and an out transgender cheerleader as well. It’s fair to say that Peron started a movement.
We caught up with Peron for our Time Out interview series, and talked about his passion for dance, favorite memories from the NFL and where he’s heading next.
Here’s what he had to say…
QUEERTY: How did it feel to suit up every Sunday and cheer for the Rams?
QUINTON PERON: It’s something I’m so proud of. I went into every game and practice with my all. Naturally, I miss it right now. I’m not performing as often. I’m choreographing, but I’m not the one on the field doing the routine. But it was an honor, and it’s crazy to know that something I did on a whim four years ago, now there’s like 45+ men across the league. We just had our first Pro Bowl male cheerleader, which was awesome. It’s crazy all these doors opened off of a freak audition. It’s cool to see the tide change, and a lot of teams go the co-ed route.
I didn’t know there were that many male cheerleaders in the NFL now. That’s insane. Do you have relationships with them?
I still keep in touch with everybody that I was on the [Rams] with. For the longest time, we had “NFL gogo boys” group Snapchats and Facebook messages and groups and everything. I think that’s the blessing of Instagram: people are able to reach out to you, and it’s kind of awesome. I haven’t been on an NBA stage yet, but the fact that people are coming to me based off of any pro male dancing experience is awesome. They are coming strong. The fellas are not playing!
I’m happy just to see these teams and leagues step out of the box. For the longest time, they couldn’t even put the “Laker Girls” Instagrams public. They had to be private. The fact that not only are you allowing males on the team, but you’re allowing people to be engaged. I have a friend named Danielle [Bush] who dances for the Utah Jazz, and she had a viral engagement moment. Her husband surprised her. They were doing a dance on the court, and she turned around, and her husband was there: “Will you marry me?” That was pretty cool, and something you wouldn’t have seen a couple of years ago.
What were your favorite parts about cheering in two Super Bowls?
I guess we can talk about the last one. I woke up that morning, knowing it was my last game, and I think it was the weirdest feeling. I woke up crying and it’s like, “What’s wrong?” I didn’t have any discussions about it, coming back next year. I thought I was, but at that moment I was taking my morning shower, and getting ready, and was like, “I think this is it. So let’s end with a bang.”
I walked in and did all my promos that week —Super Bowl Week is exhausting. But taking that field, the national anthem always gets me for some reason. It’s always when they say, “And the rockets red glare!,” and the airplanes shoot over everything. It’s always a tear-jerker. But that game was awesome, and being able to perform and lead and be present. I was also able to have my family with me. I get them tickets to the game. Being on your home field, it couldn’t have gone any better, honestly. I got the ring over there in the corner.
How are the Super Bowl parties?
AH!! It’s better when you win, because they’re gonna go on regardless, win or lose. This was just the biggest celebration. That year was sooo stressful. Every playoff game was a nail-biter. And of course, it’s LA. It’s glamorous, the ice sculptures, the bartenders. Everybody is hot! I almost forgot it, because it was that much fun. But I took a lot of pictures, a lot of memories!
How did you get involved with “Amazing Race?”
They’ve reached out ever since I made the Rams. It was always a different email from a different person, so I thought it was spam—not gonna lie. But it wasn’t until after the Super Bowl where I was like, “You know what? I don’t think I’m coming back, so let me reach out.” I was like, “Hi, not sure if this is real, but I would love to set up a chat.” Then we did it, and it took off.
Would you be open to doing more reality TV?
I love it. I love being on camera. I hope that doesn’t sound vain, but I love it. I’m a performer. Whether that’s me in a commercial, or me choreographing a music video, I just like being on camera. I had the best time. It’s hard, because I have to toy between the ones I can and cannot do, because I’m a dance teacher as well. So it’s like, “Oh, I can’t go on Bad Girls Club.” So I’m trying to find shows that are semi-positive. But I’m still an adult, I’m still gay and I still want to live. I want to show what I got—haha!
What’s on your workout playlist these days?
Oh! Today, my trainer had on a random mix of 2000s R&B and 2000s pop. It was like Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and Akon. “Bartender” came on and I lost it. I had to stop, because I was dancing too much. Kind of all over the place. You would be surprised, I don’t really listen to fast-paced music when I work out. It’s more like Amy Winehouse, something very dramatic.
Would you call Amy Winehouse a gay icon?
She’s a Quinton icon. She’s in my top three.
Who are some of your favorite gay pop icons?
Beyoncé. That’s a given. I’m still debating whether I want to see her in London. The overseas shows are always more dramatic. I don’t know if it’s me, but I see her stuff online and I’m like, “Why was that one so much more dramatic than what I saw in Vegas?” But I’m gonna make a weekend out of it.
But Beyoncé, Gaga, Rihanna: the normals. I’m really becoming a fan of Kim Petras. But I like her more subtle songs. “Malibu” is my favorite song. But I’m gonna put everybody on: They’re an artist, but I’m not sure what to call them, they’re like a robot. They’re called Only Fire. It sounds like, to me, somebody is typing the craziest, most raunchy things you can type and having Siri read it out loud to a beat. But I’m gonna put it out there, Only Fire. She has good trappy music, she has good pop songs. They’re kind of dope, not gonna lie. Only Fire is fuego!
Dating apps: yay or nay?
It depends. I’m such an outgoing person, I feel like I only meet people in person. There’s been times even when I have notifications on, I miss the 10-day “you’ve matched.” But I’ve never hung out or dated anybody from those apps. They’re fun when you’re going to a foreign city and see what’s out there, but never really take them seriously. I get scared, especially with all of this creepiness going on. I’m like, “Ahh!” Just meet me at Trunks in WeHo, and we’ll have a good time.