Since debuting on Netflix at the beginning of January, Cheer has quickly become a must-see. As fans of the addictive docuseries know, the cameras followed Navarro College’s competitive cheerleading squad as they trained for and competed at the 2019 NCA & NDA Collegiate National Championship in Daytona, Florida, with hopes of taking home another title.
Led by coach Monica Aldama, the squad from the junior college in Corsicana, Texas, not only is one of the best in the country (with 14 titles since 2000), but is also filled with fascinating personalities that made Cheer worth watching. Among those featured on camera were team outsider and seemingly alternative Lexi Brumback, shy newcomer Morgan Simianer, in-demand social media star Gabi Butler, the proud and sassy La’Darius Marshall and the happy-go-lucky Jerry Harris.
While the team ended their competitive season on a high note, winning the 2019 National Championship, fans have been clamoring to know where some of their favorites ended up. ET sat down with Gabi, Jerry and Lexi to find out what members of the squad are up to now and if there’s going to be a season two.
At the end of the competitive season, Lexi was kicked off the squad after illegal substances were found in a car she was in with friends. “She just said she had gotten in trouble and that she can’t be a cheerleader there anymore,” her grandmother, Frances, revealed in the final episode. In one of her final interviews, the athlete said, “Even though I’m not necessarily a Navarro cheerleader anymore, I still feel like I’m a reflection of that program.”
Despite being away, she didn’t let go of her Navarro spirit. “It’s Navarro college day! I had to show some appreciation for the place and people that helped set my life in the right direction,” she wrote in September, at the start of the school’s fall semester.
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'Cheer': Lexi Explains How She Returned to Navarro After Coach Monica Kicked Her Off (Exclusive)
Shortly after the series debuted, the platinum-blonde tumbler took to Instagram to announce her return from Houston to Corsicana and to her former team. “Honey, I’m home,” she captioned a photo of her with Harris and other team members, TT Barker and Dillon Brandt. She even confirmed she was back on the squad by responding to a fan’s question -- “Are you back?!?” -- with a resounding “yes.” And despite months of not training, she posted a video of her tumbling during practice -- and clearly she’s still got it!
“In the past, she’s given second chances. She knew my intentions weren’t bad and that I did really want to prove myself,” Lexi tells ET, revealing that the series partly inspired her return to Navarro Cheer. “Watching it put me on such an emotional roller coaster because last year really was an incredible year.”
As noted on the series, Navarro College is a two-year program, meaning most of the cheerleaders either graduate or move onto a four-year university for further education and the opportunity to continue cheering. In the finale, Jerry received a Regional Scholars Award from the University of Louisville, in recognition for his good grades.
After spending the fall semester at the Kentucky school, where he was also a member of the Cardinals’ cheerleading squad, Jerry returned to Navarro in January. “Back and better than ever,” he captioned one post, while writing on another that he was ready “for round 3 with my family.”
“It was my dream school,” Jerry says of Louisville. “I was there and it wasn’t all I expected it to be, so I wanted to go back to that family aspect at Navarro.” And when it comes to his unstoppable positive energy, he says “it really just comes from my mom. Like, growing up with her, she just always taught me to be positive and always try to do the right thing. I just take that with me every single day and live vicariously through her.”
Jerry also posted a lengthy, heartfelt thanks to all the fans for their love and support. “I never in a million years thought that I would get this kind of attention, especially from people outside the cheer world! It is crazy! I have been blessed to have some kind and loving people in my life,” he wrote, opening up about the loss of his mother and the GoFundMe his “cheer moms” created in order to fund his education and let him continue to cheer.
“Since CHEER came out, several people have reached out asking how they could help me. In response my cheer moms reactivated the Gofundme that they set up for me four years ago. I am overwhelmed at the response and generosity. I don’t really have the words to express how thankful I am for all of this and all of you. I have been so blessed in life and I’m so grateful for all of this love! Thank you all so much! I love you all so much!”
Jerry also tells ET that “you don’t have to [donate], but it’s just for the people that were really moved by my story and want to help me out.”
“I feel like I’ve been away from home for so long,” Butler said in the finale, as she talked about returning to Boca Raton, Florida, after moving on from Navarro. “It's so weird that I'm officially a Navarro 'alumni' now. I will always love this program and everything it has taught me,” she later wrote on Instagram after the season was over.
Thanks to her massive social media presence and celebrity within the cheerleading community, her father revealed on the series that she’ll be doing a tour of camps and clinics all around the country. “For the most part, I kind of go wherever life takes me and I feel like it has brought me a lot of great opportunities,” Gabi tells ET, adding that “as of right now, I’m actually cheering at this place called Top Gun All Stars.” While no longer officially with Navarro, Gabi says she put in a word with Monica, telling her “if anything ever happens, just know I’m here. I’m your backup.”
And speaking of her father, Gabi took to social media to defend her parents against critical fans who questioned the way they were portrayed on the series and how they seemingly treat their daughter. “My parents are amazing and have always been there for me,” she wrote in a lengthy statement posted to Twitter. “Every time I have made money from cheer opportunities it has gone into my own account. My father already runs several successful businesses and has showed me how to create my own. They push me to be my best and I am more thankful than ever for their love and support. They have helped shape me into the person, athlete and coach I am today. So please stop with the negativity towards them. They are my biggest support system and have helped me to be on the top of my game.”
Something important that I need to share. If there is anything I want people to take away from this new show, it is my desire to see our cheer family and community be positive with each other, especially on social media. The world has too much hate already. Let's be different!❤ pic.twitter.com/DhhKWUlEXs
While speaking with ET, Gabi says “the show really has brought us closer…. I don’t know, [but] in a way, I feel like all the chaos has brought positivity. And I feel like we’re a lot closer as a family and I feel like we’ve always been super good at communicating, but I feel like it’s even better with my whole entire family.”
Since the series has premiered, Butler has also taken to Instagram to post well wishes and memories about her former teammates, including Lexi, Jerry, La’Darius and Morgan. “Watching this Netflix series made me miss being at Navarro much more than I ever thought I would,” she wrote. “It made me feel like I was reliving everything over again. I would give anything to go back. I am so thankful for the amazing people and friendships I made from the 2 years I was there. All I can say is wow. I will NEVER forget my years as a Navarro cheerleader.”
Despite completing two years at Navarro, Morgan decided to return for another year. “Some of the main points of why I feel like me staying at Navarro is what’s best for me is because I feel like I still have a lot to learn from being at this program. And I just can’t imagine being coached by anyone besides Monica,” she explained.
In November, she revealed that she cheered at her last Navarro football game, but presumably will still be competing with the squad when they vie for the 2020 National Championship, and their 15th title. “It's bittersweet,” she wrote. “Im excited that I still have the rest of the year to make more memories.”
And following the series’ debut on Netflix, Morgan was shocked by all the attention. “Thank you for all the love and unconditional support,” she gushed on Instagram. “I couldn’t have made it this far without any of you. This experience has been amazing and I wouldn’t want change it for the world. Also I want to apologize for not being able to read everyone's messages, but just know that you all mean so much to me. I love y'all”
During the finale, La’Darius was seen spending the summer months in Valparaiso, Florida, where he was coaching pint-sized cheerleaders. “I don’t know what’s next for me,” he said in one of his final interviews, adding that he was thinking about becoming a personal trainer or a choreographer. If those two didn’t work out, he even talked about joining the military.
In December, he looked back on the year and wrote about letting go of his past and moving forward. “2019 thank you for all the lessons, thank you for destroying me and yet strengthening me as well, thank you for bringing me closer to God,” he posted on Instagram. “2020 will be full of blessings in Mississippi and I can’t wait to see where God directs me. I’m on this path alone but I have great people in my life. Letting Go of my past, healing from my past, and building for my future.”
After the series premiered, La’Darius wrote that “there are not enough words to explain how thankful I am for Netflix and Monica Aldama and all of you guys for showering me with so much love. I’m so blessed beyond measures. Nobody but God for helping change and become a better me and a better teammate. I love you guys and will stand up against the silence this world has put onto us. Speak up and speak out. Your voice does matter.”
While Netflix has yet to confirm if Cheer will continue, creator and director Greg Whiteley would love to return for more. “The world of cheer is a big one and there’s lots to cover that we didn’t get to,” he tells ET. “Of course, you got to wait to see how season one does first.”
“The first season obviously is a hit. I think the whole country can agree. I feel like everybody’s talking about it, so of course, I think a season two would be amazing,” Gabi says, adding that there’s no better school to follow. “If we’re going to be super honest, I have cheered at so many places and there is nothing like Navarro.”
In the meantime, Navarro College will be competing at the 2020 National Championship, which takes place on April 8-12, 2020. “We’re there,” Jerry says, while Gabi adds that “they’re ready!”