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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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‘I Was A Rib-Eating Music Video Cheerleader’ [Confessions Of A Former Newspaper Intern]

Posted Jun 21, 2013 by Jeff Houck

Updated Jun 21, 2013 at 03:05 PM

I was cruising through my Facebook feed the other day when I saw a post by Brittany Canasi.

“Welp,” she wrote, “Yours truly is officially in a music video. Pretty sure this is the point where I’m no longer respected for my mind.”

Britney worked briefly at the Tampa Tribune in 2008 after graduating from Florida State University. She grew up in south Tampa. She now lives and works in Los Angeles.

I liked her immensely. She reminded me of comedian Sarah Sillverman, only Italian, prettier, smarter and with slightly less of a potty mouth. And smaller nostrils. Other than that, she’s a total match.

About five years ago, Britney helped me out with a late-night munchies crawl story I did for the Trib’s Friday Extra section. Of the seven places we visited, only five are still in business. (Mema’s Alaska Tacos and Taqueria Quetzalcotl are history.)

I in no way blame her.

But I digress.

Anyway, in the aforementioned video, Brittany portrays a cheerleader in a three-person squad who mows through a table full of ribs.

With gusto.

To say the least.

Brittany Canasi


That’s Brittany on the left.

I don’t know the name of the woman on the right of the photo. Since this was shot in Hollywood, I’m assuming she’s a Kardashian.

Anyway, I’ve never known anyone who was in a music video, much less one who ate barbecue on camera. So I asked her to share the experience in so many words.

“I did it as a favor, and all I could think while we were eating ribs was. ‘My father is going to be so disappointed in me.’”

 

Brittany Canasi with her father


I told her that if he did call her in a fit of pique, she could tell him she was upholding a proud musical tradition - one which includes the goth cheerleaders in Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video.

“We got a free lunch out of it,” she said, “I wish they’d given us sides too. But eating cornbread and okra on camera doesn’t have the same effect.”

I asked her to elaborate.

She jumped at the chance:

* * * * *


It starts out like most terrible ideas do—a friend asked me for a favor.

“My friend’s directing a music video, and he needs girls to be cheerleaders,” she said.

I did the cheerleader thing for a year or two. I can jump, I can convincingly feign excitement, and I can remember about 20% of my college’s fight song.

“I’ll do it as long as the uniform doesn’t make me show my bare stomach,” I said.

I’m already making demands, and I haven’t even stepped on set. I’ll be a great diva one day.

“Don’t worry, they won’t. Oh yeah, and we’ll be eating barbecue on camera.”

I’m really good at eating. This will be great.

Two days later, we’re on set, we’re wearing uniforms that make me feel like a knockoff of Friday Night Lights, and we’re given our instructions.

Eat the ribs. Eat them quickly. Eat them messily. One more thing: the uniforms are rented. Don’t. Get. Them. Dirty.

And then they poured barbecue sauce all over the ribs.

We sat at a table that looked like it had at least 46 types of pathogens on it, were blinded by lights in the middle of a dark, massive sound stage, and the director yelled “ACTION!”

 

Britany ribs 1


Ribs were thrown onto the table by two shirtless men, and we ate. No, we gorged.

“Eat faster!” “Be messier!” “Grab more ribs!”

 

Brittany Canasi eating ribs


I’m biting off more ribs than I’m able to chew and swallow, and I’m really hoping someone yells cut soon. I need time to masticate. Someone, somewhere, yells cut. I chew. I swallow. Someone yells action again.

“Act like you’re mad with power!” “Get messier!”

 

Britany ribs messier


I’m feeling a little embarrassed by now, and I’m really worried about this uniform. But it’s messier they want, so it’s messier we get.

After about four takes of tearing into ribs at speeds faster than is ever advisable (I really hope someone on set knew the Heimlich just in case), we were done. I looked down at the uniform to assess the damage.

 

Britany ribs even messier


They bought all three cheerleader uniforms.

I haven’t eaten ribs since.

 

* * * * *


And now, making it’s Stew debut, is the video for Wavves’ song, “That’s On Me.”

 


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