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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Ali Landry talks Doritos, Super Bowl fame

By Bill Speros
Special to

Former Miss USA Ali Landry got her big break as an actress thanks to her role as “The Doritos Girl” in a 30-second spot that aired during Super Bowl XXXII.

Her replacement should be ready in time for Super Bowl LXV.

Even Estela got in on the Doritos action!!!…

— ali landry (@alilandry) January 4, 2013

Landry’s daughter, Estela Ines, 5, got her first taste of Doritos while her mom was filming the spot that announced this year’s five “Crash The Super Bowl” crowd-sourced finalists, which was taped at Our Beautiful Laundrette in Los Angeles last month and posted on YouTube on Friday.

Young Estela was hooked.

“She went with me when we shot the video. It was great because my first video took place in a Laundromat setting 15 years ago and now I was back with my daughter,” Landry told Playbook. “I let her have Doritos for the first time and that was it. By the end of the day, she had run around giving chips to everyone and was covered head-to-toe in nacho cheese. She’ll be doing the next commercial for Doritos. She fell in love with the chips.”

When she’s not being “The Doritos Girl,” a wife (to director Alejandro Monteverde), a mom (to Estela Ines and Marcelo Alejandro) or working on her acting and her child-fashion line, Landry, 39, is an avid runner. She ran her first marathon in Boston several years ago.

“I did it for the Boys & Girls Clubs. The people of Boston got me through it. During the race, I had to stop and use the restroom. Someone invited me inside her house. She wouldn’t let me use the Porta Potty. When I was done, she gave me a doughnut," she said. "I ended up finishing with the stragglers in the back and was exhausted. But I ran wearing a Red Sox jersey so a lot of people cheered me on.”

She also anchored an all-female triathlon team that finished first in its division in the Malibu (Calif.) Triathlon in September.

Landry has been an athlete since she played volleyball, performed gymnastics and was a cheerleader at Cecilia (La.) High School.

“I’ve always been very active and very competitive,” she said. Landry has climbed Mount Fuji in Japan, was a participant in “The Superstars” and even scaled a building on “Fear Factor.”

It was that athleticism that helped her land the role as the “The Doritos Girl” during her infamous “Laundromat” spot that aired in 1998.

That spot also featured Sean Hayes before his “Will & Grace” and “Up All Night” days. There was another ad shot in that series featuring Landry on a tennis court. During that shoot, a chip was glued to her forehead then ripped off using wire, with the action shown in reverse during the commercial. The process left her with a permanent scar.

No one was seriously injured while shooting this year’s five “Crash the Super Bowl” finalist commercials, two of which will air during Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, 2013, on CBS. Voters will choose one via the Doritos Facebook page and Doritos representatives will pick the other. Fan voting ends Jan. 29.

The finalist whose ad scores highest on the USA Today Ad Meter Rankings will win the chance to work with director Michael Bay on the next “Transformers” movie.

If the ad scores No. 1 overall in the ad rankings, the filmmaker gets a $1 million bonus, second place is worth $600,000 and third $500,000. That would only be fitting since Landry’s career hit a jackpot of sorts after her spot appeared.

“A million dollars, can you imagine that?” she said. “My life changed overnight after my commercial aired. I bought my first house with Doritos. I worked for 10 straight years, non-stop before I stopped with the birth of my daughter. When I shot the commercial, I had no idea it would be in the Super Bowl or that people watched the Super Bowl for the commercials. I got a phone call right away offering me a record deal and thought it was hilarious that this was really happening.”

The five homemade “Crash the Super Bowl” finalist ads are (in alphabetical order by finalist last name):
• “Goat 4 Sale” by Ben Callner
• “Road Chip” by Tyler Dixon
• “Fashionista Daddy” by Mark Freiburger
• “Express Checkout” by Sasha Shemirani
• “Fetch” by Joe Taranto

“The first time I watched them, they were laugh-out-loud hilarious," she said. "I’m curious to see where the fans are going with this. They’re funny, witty and get to the point.”