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Reba McEntire is the First Woman to Play Colonel Sanders Skip to content

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Reba McEntire Is the First Female Colonel Sanders

Singer slips into the iconic suit in cheeky new ads

Reba McEntire performing and as Colonel Sanders

Jason Davis/WireImage; Courtesy KFC

Reba McEntire is the latest celebrity — and the first woman — to play Colonel Sanders in the KFC ad campaign that started in 2015.

There’s a new colonel in town — and she’s not like any other before her. Say hello to Colonel Reba.

Reba McEntire, the multitalented singer and actor who's conquered country and pop music, starred in television and movies, and danced on Broadway, yesterday became the latest to don the iconic white suit of KFC’s Colonel Sanders in the fast-food chain’s long-running ad campaign. McEntire, 62, is the 11th actor to take on the role since the ads started airing in 2015 — and the first woman.

The first 60-second spot debuted Thursday on social media. In it, McEntire sports a bedazzled version of the spokesman’s famous all-white getup and plugs a new variety of fried chicken (Smoky Mountain barbecue flavor) via a tune that winkingly assures viewers “absolutely nothing’s changed” about the Kentucky colonel, who founded the chain in 1952 and served as its brand ambassador until his death in 1980.

“Please ignore any likeness to famous country singers,” belts out McEntire, in full Colonel Sanders regalia right down to the famous goatee. “I’m definitely not a woman.”

McEntire follows a gaggle of famous actors and comedians in the role, most recently filled by Rob Lowe and Ray Liotta, and by Jim Gaffigan, Darrell Hammond and George Hamilton before that.

In all, KFC has produced four ads featuring McEntire. The first 30-second TV spot is set to debut during Sunday night’s Grammy Awards telecast.

And though the company tends to replace its colonel impersonators at a finger-lickety-split pace, KFC's U.S. chief marketing officer Andrea Zahumensky told industry website MediaPost that she thinks McEntire could turn out to be the campaign’s “most-loved colonel yet.”

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