Abigail Klein is quite literally the face of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Even though it’s been more than 10 years since she cheered as one of America’s Sweethearts, it’s her photo that accompanies the cheer team’s Wikipedia page.
“I mean, what an honor,” she says, laughing. “It’s pretty cool. Obviously, you don’t think about that while you’re there, but gosh, it’s been 10 years now, so that’s kind of crazy.”
Since dancing on the sidelines and appearing on a few seasons of CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team, Klein’s starred in a Taco Bell commercial as the bubbly girlfriend always taking Instagrams, played a showgirl in an episode of GLOW (she says her cheer background helped her land that part), and in a few days, she will star in Lifetime’s Christmas on Ice, a made-for-TV movie part of the network’s holiday film rotation. Klein plays Courtney Bennett, a former ice-skating champion who now runs the small town’s outdoor public ice skating rink. When the mayor announces his plan to close it, Courtney hatches a plan to save the day, and because it’s a Lifetime movie, she also happens to catch a dude while she’s at it. While Klein has acted in other movies, this is her first leading role.
“It feels amazing,” she says. “I’m really excited to lead this sweet movie. When I read the script, I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, this is exactly the type of film that I want to watch,' and so to audition and book it and be the lead of it was really special, and I was so pumped, and I also was so ready for it.”
It’s not a spoiler to write that Christmas on Ice ends happily, and with Klein’s bright smile and upbeat attitude, it’s no surprise Klein says she’s a fan of these types of movies.
“It’s really telling that we all gravitate toward that happy ending and we all want that and I think that’s a really pure thing and so I’m happy to literally play a part in that pure entertainment,” she says. “I think it’s great.”
Acting was always Klein’s end goal, she says. After she retired from professional dancing, she moved to Los Angeles and put all her energy into taking acting classes and auditioning. Klein’s dance background helped her secure the role of the ice-skater, but she thanks her stunt double for the intricate tricks.
“Anytime that you see me talking on the ice, that’s me,” she says. “When I’m skating with the girls out on the ice, that’s me. But then there’s some solo shots and whenever you see beautiful, fluid tricks and jumps and turns, that is not me.”
Klein and the rest of the cast filmed Christmas on Ice in Boston in February right before the country went into lockdown. But when it came time to complete, Christmas on Ice’s director had to send Klein an at-home kit to re-record her lines and direct her over Zoom.
“We had to become sound engineers pretty quickly,” she says, laughing.
During quarantine, Klein says she’s been writing and pitching her own projects — one, a TV series and the other a comedy series she created with three friends.
“I feel empowered having creative control from behind the camera as well as learning this side of the business,” Klein says.
Without an end in sight to the pandemic, Klein says she’s grateful for this movie.
“The fact that we filmed a movie in 2020 and it’s coming out in 2020 is crazy to me,” Klein says. “I will never forget this year because it was such a special year for me in the beginning and then to see it come to life is like, ‘Wow, this is really quite a feat that we filmed, sold and aired a movie in the year 2020.’”
Christmas on Ice premieres at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, on Lifetime.
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