The Office’s Phyllis Smith used to be a burlesque dancer and NFL cheerleader

The internet has been buzzing over this hot photo of Phyllis Smith, who plays Phyllis Lapin-Vance (of Vance Refrigeration) on NBC’s The Office.

Many people are surprised to find out that Phyllis used to be a NFL cheerleader for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1970s (the photo is of Phyllis during those days,) and followed that up with a short stint as a burlesque dancer (no nudity.)

Last year Phyllis spoke with Slate about her burlesque dancing. She actually traveled the country performing burlesque in her 30s, but had to give it up when she suffered an injury:

Not risqué. No stripping, no nudity. We had feathers that covered everything. But [by doing the vaudeville show] I was able to watch these guys who had honed their craft to the hilt. They had impeccable timing and knew how to work with a live audience. I never knew that any of that would come to pass later on in my life. As I was working with them, I had an injury while I was dancing, and at this point I was in my 30s, and I knew I was gonna have to hang up the shoes sooner or later ’cause there were kids coming along, who I didn’t want to have to compete with.

About cheerleading:

“I was at the height of my glory, because I loved dancing and wearing the boots and the hot pants, the tied up shirts, looking really hot.”

Phyllis later became a casting director, and actually got her role on The Office while she was casting show.

The ninth (and last) season of The Office is returning September 20.