Former NFL Cheerleader Living In Van Reconnects With CBS2’s Stephanie Simmons

MALIBU (CBSLA.com) — Nicole Barker seemed to be living the dream, a beautiful college graduate who capitalized on her dance talents by becoming an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader.

“Life then was really great,” said Barker. “I mean, you have your whole life ahead of you, so everything was exciting.”

So, how did someone like 35-year-old Barker go from entertaining thousands on the sidelines to living on the streets?

In her 20s, Barker, like so many others, followed her dreams to L.A. to work in entertainment.

But when those dreams fell apart, she was forced to move back home to Indiana, where she fell on hard times.

“I realized my parents weren’t going to help me out at all,” she said. “I had nowhere to go. I had no friends to go stay with.”

Out of money and options, Barker jumped in an old camper van – her only possession – and moved back to Southern California.

In desperation, she begged for money but said no one would help her because she didn’t fit the typical appearance of someone who is homeless.

“I got that at first all the time. ‘You’re too pretty!’ Because I looked way better than I do now,” said Barker. “And then after awhile, it got more derogatory. I got propositioned, solicited for jobs and things; I just was shocked.”

Desperate to restore her life, Barker wants to get out of her current situation: living in a van on a vacant lot in Malibu.

“I’ve been in my van here two and a half years, but without a job for a year, living on the street,” she said. “It has torn me down in every way possible.”

Through social media, Barker told her story and has since reconnected with former teammates like CBS2’s Stephanie Simmons.

And as always, her hope is for a better future.

“It’s not the living in the van so much, it’s to not have employment, it’s to not have friends, to not be treated by society the way that I, who I truly am,” she said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for those interested in helping Barker get back on her feet.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Howard says:

    America sends billions to countries and where are they when there are disasters in America? Do they even send some teams to help? No! I well recall when there was a severe earthquake in Mexico in the 80’s and we asked what was needed we sent money teams of students raised money drove to help,etc. Cost millions. When there was a bad earthquake in Northridge in 1994 where was Mexico or the other countries we have given billions to? Disgusting.
    The liberals are so concerned about illegal immigrants yet people like Nicole can live in a van in a deserted lot!!!

  2. Shaffy Nasser says:

    The Gofundme page for Nicole is not able to accept donations, please correct that problem.

  3. LA Resident says:

    Not sure I understand her ‘strife’; she seems articulate and capable of interacting with people, and thus able to hold a full time job (waitress? Ralph’s cashier? something else?). Has she been unable to find or hold a job? While I don’t know the whole story, it seems as if her ‘homelessness’ is by choice. Her ‘gofundme’ page seems to indicate the same, along with a bit of self-delusion (“1) I’m a singer/rapper/dancer/songwriter…”) and familiar Hollywood aspirations (“I’m also working on writing my first manuscript…”).

  4. mika bonnaoe says:

    Unless she has been very sick.no reason she cant work.Mcdonalds.My nephew did.we took him in when he had no where to go and he was already working at Mcdonalds.sounds like she thinks she might possibly be to good for that? unless there isnt something being said? why would her parents allow her to be homelesswhere are all of her old cheerleader friends? Why does noobe care about her from her past? Curious?

  5. mika bonnaoe says:

    scam possibly??? sorry something isnt right about this story.she doesnt seem unable to work.

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