Reba McEntire is your new Colonel Sanders, and maybe 2018 won't be so bad.

Fast food fried chicken juggernaut KFC has cast a new actor to play Colonel Sanders: Reba McEntire.

Yeah, this Reba McEntire.

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night.


Only for this role, she looks a little more like this.

Image via KFC/YouTube.

McEntire donned the signature white suit and string tie to perform a tongue in cheek song as everyone's second ,favorite fried chicken purveyor. (I'm an Annie from Popeye's stan, now and forever.)

"I’m Colonel Sanders, the same as always,” she sings. "I swear I'm not a famous woman!”

Several male actors have portrayed the Colonel, including Rob Lowe, Norm MacDonald, Ray Liotta, and Jim Gaffigan. But this is the first time the company's founder has been portrayed by a woman or a musician. McEntire was chosen specifically for the role because of her Southern roots (she's from Oklahoma) and legend status in country music. She'll appear in television spots for the chain's Smoky Mountain BBQ chicken through April.

So the internet had absolutely nothing to say about all of this and that's the end of this charming and delightful story, right?

Hold on to your biscuits, folks.

Loyal Colonel Sanders supporters, confused followers, and former fans of KFC voiced their displeasure at the decision on social media.

Who knew people were invested in which actors are selected to portray this Southern icon? But apparently, they are.

Some were turned off by the idea of a woman playing a man.

Others were skeptical, but open to change.

But for the most part, people had some fun with it. After all, we're talking about fast food chicken, here.

For instance: What might a woman playing Colonel Sanders have to put up with?

And then there's this tweet, which is funny (and a little bit sad) because it's true.

Others, particularly fans of McEntire, were pretty pleased with the decision. Who wouldn't want to see one of their faves break the dredged and breaded ceiling?

While this a very small, silly thing to choose to complain or cheer about, it's not completely insignificant.

In 2018, women are still breaking barriers, both large and important and small and crispy. This week alone, Rachel Morrison became the first woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in cinematography. Sen. Tammi Duckworth announced her pregnancy and will be the first senator to give birth in office. And on Sunday at the Grammy's, we may see Cardi B become first woman ever to earn the award for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.

And yeah, people like Hec have a point.

A female Colonel Sanders probably wasn't the first thing people participating in the Women's March had in mind. Women have made some serious moves, but when it comes to improving representation, earning equal wages, confronting gender based violence, or sexual misconduct, we have a long way to go.

Then again, every first, even a seemingly silly one, is a chicken-fried step in the right direction.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."