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Behind the Halftime Show: Meet the Field Dancers

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

By Olivia Madrid

Super Bowl LVII took place in Glendale, Arizona, at State Farm Stadium. For locals, it meant weekend long parties and non-stop NFL themed events.

For Luhnyae Campbell and Laila Hayes, this meant seven hour rehearsals for their halftime show performance alongside superstar Rihanna. 

The pair knew each other from school, where they danced in their free time. A mutual friend of theirs, who is a dance major at Arizona State University, sent them a link to audition for the show. “We were like, no way it’s this easy,” recalls Campbell. “I remember [Hayes] was the most skeptical of it.”

“I was on my phone and I got the email,” says Hayes, “but I ignored it because I get a million spam emails a day. Then the group chat that we made for our friends who all auditioned started going off like out of nowhere. So, I looked at it, and our friend had sent a screenshot of the one that she got. I went back and looked at that email, and I jumped off the couch!” Hayes describes. Campbell and her family were just as ecstatic, as she says, “[My mom] was so happy for me. She was screaming and crying with me too.”

Campbell also said that rehearsals were an average of seven hours per day. Unfortunately for them, that meant drilling the dances in the crisp desert cold, which led to a few of them getting sick. Daily COVID tests were administered and after a week, the dancers moved inside the stadium. “I was way more excited than stressed,” Hayes said. “I was super excited every day, since this was the one time I actually wanted to go to work. It was just a super fun and new opportunity. Even on the day of, I wasn’t nervous. I knew they wouldn’t be focused on us as much. There are over 200 field dancers, and we’re covered head to toe. like and if we get in the camera, no one would even know who we are.”

“They’re one size fits all types of pants and you need to help by stitching them in every joint area. The jacket was so heavy and then it comes with an extra puffy part they have to velcro on.” Hayes said of the infamous wardrobe. 

“I was in shock. That’s such a privilege thing to be able to hear [Rihanna’s] voice in your ear, like her real voice. If she messes up, you’re gonna hear it. She never did.” Hayes said on working with Rihanna

“It was insane. Like, it’s indescribable. It doesn’t feel real. I feel like my brain still hasn’t fully processed,” Campbell also said.

“This big, crazy opportunity came at, like a time where we really needed something like this.” Hayes said, “We’re literally just regular people, and we got an opportunity like this. I feel like people would see our Tik Toks or the news or something and just think we had to do something special to work for it. But we just gave it a try. Like I almost didn’t even turn my audition in, but I was like, eff it. I’m still gonna post it, turn it in, and then, you know, it worked out.”

For the viewers and dreamers, Hayes shared a bit of advice, “Don’t be afraid to try anything. Ever. That’s what I got out of this whole experience. Like, just do it even if you’re scared or even if you’re not confident, because you never know what will happen.”

“The worst someone can say is no,” Campbell said, “Why live with regrets when you could just live with knowing?”


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