New KFC colonel is a woman - country singer Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire is the first woman picked by KFC to portray the mascot who honours the chain's founder, Harland Sanders. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - KFC, the fried-chicken chain, has picked country singer Reba McEntire to appear as Colonel Sanders in its latest marketing campaign.

This is the first time a woman is portraying the mascot who honours the restaurant's founder, Harland Sanders.

In recent years, KFC has tapped on various male actors, including Ray Liotta and Rob Lowe, for the role. Now, with a debate about gender diversity touching industries from Wall Street to Hollywood, it has shifted course as it rolls out ads touting its new smoky mountain barbecue chicken.

The company said it picked McEntire because she "embodies the brand".

"We've been publicly talking for a while about the fact that anyone who embodies the spirit of the colonel is qualified to play this role," said the chain's chief marketing officer Andrea Zahumensky.

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