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Super Bowl LVI: Megan Thee Stallion on Sampling “OG Hot Girls” Salt-N-Pepa for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Ad


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Megan Thee Stallion says she’s been eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos “since birth,” so when Frito Lay approached the Grammy-winning MC about appearing in the brand’s new Super Bowl campaign, she didn’t hesitate. To make things extra spicy, the rapper appears opposite pop star Charlie Puth in the first combined Flamin’ Hot spot featuring both Doritos and Cheetos, debuting a sample of the classic Salt-N-Pepa track “Push It.” The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Megan via Zoom ahead of the Super Bowl to talk about the benefits of being in a Super Bowl spot (“I’m going to need a Cheetos closet”), her Hollywood aspirations (“I also really want to be a director”) and what she learned about herself during the pandemic (“I had to reflect”).

Of all your accomplishments — Billboard chart rankings, a Grammy win with Beyoncé, headlining concerts, Coachella, etc. — where does having a Super Bowl commercial rank? It’s a big deal.

When people ask me, “Megan, when do you feel like you really made it?”, I feel like this is one of those times. I have to say, “You know what? I have a Super Bowl commercial with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. I’m probably a little famous. I probably made it a little bit.”

I can confirm. To top it off, you’re doing it with a brand that you said you’ve enjoyed your whole life. Are you a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or a Doritos person?

I’ve definitely been eating Hot Cheetos since birth, but definitely as I got older and I started discovering the Flamin’ Hot world, now I make my nachos with Flamin’ Hot Doritos. I really can’t pick or choose between the two. You got to eat one and then the other. The Flamin’ Hot Doritos you can dip into anything. It’s really up in the air.

With brand deals like this, I always wonder if they’ve stacked your cupboards with bags upon bags …

I already had my stock of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos at home but since I’ve been working with them, it’s definitely growing a little bit more. There’s an overflow. I’m going to need a Cheetos closet.

Speaking of bags, when you posted the Flamin’ Hot image on Instagram, one of your followers wrote, “If getting a bag was a person,” referencing the success you’ve had with brand deals. When you are approached by brands, what criteria do you look for before signing on?

I don’t agree to things that don’t feel authentic to me, things that don’t really move me or things that don’t feel real to me. With Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, it was a no-brainer. I can talk about this for days. Ask me anything about Hot Cheetos, I’ll tell you. I really eat it; I really enjoy it. But definitely, when I am considering brand deals, it has to be something that makes me happy and something that I can sell you on.

One of the things you really sold in the spot is your acting. I know you’ve had some opportunities come your way — there’s a film you are attached to called Best Man Wedding — but what can you tell me about your aspirations on that front?

I definitely want to be an actress, but I also really want to be a director. For me, I love movies. I’m just definitely like a film buff. And I don’t feel like acting should look like acting. Any time I get the opportunity to act, I just behave like myself. I feel like that’s what makes it come across so naturally. Definitely, we will see some acting from Megan Thee Stallion this year.

Why directing?

Because I like to create. Not only do I like to write music, I like to write stories. I definitely want to see these stories come to life.

Back to Super Bowl weekend. Where will you be when your commercial debuts?

I am going to be at the Super Bowl, and it’s my first time. I’m so excited. I’m so excited for the halftime show and just the whole experience in general. It’s about to be a movie.

It’s about to be the most star-studded Super Bowl ever, too. The Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show lineup features legendary MCs, and your commercial samples Salt-N-Pepa, two more legendary MCs. What does this moment for hip-hop mean to you?

It just makes me know that hip-hop is bigger than ever. It’s always been so big, but I’m just so happy that it’s so appreciated, and I’m so happy to be a part of something that touches everybody in the world. Everybody is watching the Super Bowl. These artists have been breaking ground for years, and to have this hip hop-themed halftime show, it’s such a big deal. Me being there as a part of it, doing a remake of a Salt-N-Pepa song — the OG hot girls — I just feel like, yes, I am doing the right thing. Yes, I am a hot girl coach. Look at me making my mark in hip-hop.

Speaking of making your mark, I wanted to ask about Coachella. It’s a stacked lineup that you are featured on. If you had a chance, is there another artist’s set that you want to sneak away and see?

First of all, I’ve never been to Coachella, so I’m sneaking off, and I’m seeing everybody because I need this full experience. I wish I could have saw Beyoncé live at Coachella, though, but hopefully one day again, I will. As soon as I get done performing and probably even before I perform, I’m definitely going to watch everybody that I can.

Lastly, I’m curious what the pandemic was like for you. Did you learn anything new about yourself during the quiet times?

Being in that house by myself and with my dogs and one other person, I definitely found that it is OK to be by yourself. It is okay to take that mental break. You don’t need to be around everybody and their energy 24/7. I just definitely had to recharge during that time. I had to reflect. I had to become this Megan Thee Stallion that I am right now. When you can’t do something, you have to figure out. Well, what can I do now? How can I improve, and I really can’t make a move?

I had to figure out new ways to be creative. I had to figure out new ways to get inspiration other than being out and about. I would go outside. I would take walks. I’m doing things by myself now. I’m really just figuring out, well, what’s going on in this head? I was really able to write some amazing things, and not only was I writing music, I was writing stories. Having that time to myself, it definitely put me in a good space.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

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