At first, it’s hard not to smile.
The cheerleaders sit in the stands, grinning ear-to-ear. They’re wearing identical outfits. They clap, they chant, they sway. And they’re doing so with complete symmetry.
“How sweet,” you might find yourself thinking, instantly transfixed.
And you wouldn’t be alone in doing so. That is basically how the world reacted at the sight of North Korea’s cheer squad – a team of 229 women, deployed to the Winter Olympics by the world’s most tyrannical regime.
Members of the team – dubbed the “army of beauties” – must meet strict criteria in order to be drafted.
Their physical attractiveness, family backgrounds, and loyalty to Kim Jong-un’s ruling Workers’ Party are all closely examined, according to The Straits Times. They must be taller than 1.65m – with exceptions only made for those with “very good looks”.
The routines we’ve seen orchestrated from the Olympic stands are mesmerising.
Here they are singing and dancing, without missing a beat.
— Thomas Schuurman (@ThomasSchuurman) February 10, 2018
Sometimes they sport identical masks.
Wait for it…. one of the stranger moments of the night… North Korean Cheerleaders holding masks as they sing “Whistle” one of North Korea’s most popular songs. #Olympics2018 (Via @Kubik_Kamera) pic.twitter.com/BXACRt27nZ
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) February 10, 2018