Rolling Stone

Pom Pom Squad’s Unruly Realness


WHEN MIA BERRIN began performing as Pom Pom Squad around 2017, clad in glitter, wigs, or a cheerleade­r ensemble, audience members would approach her after shows and admit they’d been surprised. “More than once, someone came up to me like, ‘I expected to hate you,’” she says, laughing. “Or the other one, especially from dudes, was often ‘I thought you guys were going to be a cute girl band.’ ”

Instead, Berrin was playing grunge-y punk, and began to understand what the cheerleade­r outfit especially represente­d to others. “This costume is a status symbol,” she says. “I completely changed the way people saw me.”

On Pom Pom Squad’s raw debut, Death of a Cheerleade­r, Berrin, 23, plays with those images of femininity and still-healing adolescent baggage. “The album title was an attempt for me to kill off an idea that I was acting out for other people — the version of the cheerleade­r that was me hiding inside a cloak of convention­al femininity that’s not a one-sizefits-all. It certainly wasn’t a size that fit me.”

As a queer person, Berrin is also fascinated by cheerleade­rs from the perspectiv­e of attraction — the mixed desires to be somebody and to be with them. “It’s always going to be ongoing,” she says of exploring her own identity. “One of the reasons the band matters to me so much is that it became the thing that pushed me to learn more about myself.”

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States