The Grown Woman Who Joined a School Cheer Team

Wendy Brown stole her daughter's identity to realize a long-lost dream
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2016 5:49 PM CDT
Updated Jul 10, 2016 9:03 AM CDT
The Grown Woman Who Joined a High School Cheer Team
Wendy Brown   (AP Photo/ Brown County Sheriff's Office/file)

The Atlantic sat down with a woman who, at the age of 33, stole her daughter's identity in order to live out her fantasy of being a high-school cheerleader. Wendy Brown's story made headlines back in 2008; now she explains what she was thinking when she walked into Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay, Wisc., and declared herself a new student from Nevada. During her actual high school career, Brown was jealous of the cheerleaders, including her younger sister. “It just seemed that they had a great life," she tells the Atlantic, which notes it's "disquieting" the way Brown speaks like a teen. Brown's life, on the other hand, was turned upside down when she got pregnant and dropped out of high school. She had an abusive relationship with her mother and another with the man she married.

Brown wanted a high school redo to "fulfill a dream that was crushed many years ago," the Atlantic reports. She immediately tried out for—and made—the cheerleading team, even attending a pool party held by the cheer coach. She says the pool party—eating pizza and practicing routines—was the happiest she'd been in years. That happiness didn't last long. Just 16 days after starting life as a fake high-schooler, Brown was charged with identity theft. Her case perplexed the court, as the only crime she committed in those 16 days was bouncing a check for her cheerleading uniform. Read the full story here. (More identity theft stories.)

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