Reba McEntire Is KFC's First-Ever Female Colonel Sanders

The country singer was selected for her charming Southern flair

KFC recently revealed its latest menu item — Smoky Mountain BBQ fried chicken, which hits restaurants nationwide January 29. To get folks fired up for the sweet and smoky snack, the chain has selected a brand new spokesperson to play Colonel Harland Sanders in the brand’s celebrity advertising campaign: Reba McEntire.

The country superstar is the first female to play the Colonel, following a long line of male actors including Rob Lowe, Ray Liotta, and Billy Zane. KFC says the 62-year-old “Queen of Country” was chosen for her love of fried chicken and alluring Southern charm — making her the perfect person to promote the newest crispy addition to the chain’s “Taste of the South” fried chicken lineup.

“Reba’s charismatic personality, connections to the South and country music, and impressive career make her the ideal fit for our Smoky Mountain BBQ Colonel,” a KFC spokesperson told The Daily Meal in an email.

reba mcentire

Courtesy of KFC

The multiple Grammy Award-winning artist is set to appear in television ads nationwide beginning January 28. But she’s no stranger to the small screen — in 1988 she appeared in commercials for the Beef Industry Council, and in 1995 she represented Frito-Lay in a famous convenience store commercial. More recently, she starred as the lead in namesake sitcom, Reba.

reba mcentire

Courtesy of KFC

“I grew up with Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s part of my story, and I’m so excited to now be part of theirs,” the Oklahoma native said in a press release. “I’ve held a lot of roles in my life — sort of like the Colonel himself — but this is certainly the most unique one yet.”

In this just-released KFC ad, the country star takes to the stage as Colonel Sanders and plays herself in the audience as well:

The founder of the fast-food chicken chain was a small-town Kentucky restaurateur when the governor bestowed upon him the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel. Harland Sanders took the honor very seriously, and even dressed the part, and an icon now known the world over was born. For more finger-lickin’-good fast food trivia, here are 15 more things you didn’t know about Kentucky Fried Chicken.