An interview with a Britney video extra

A little while ago I was at a gig with a friend who happened at the time to be a PR. Or she was a PR first and then a friend. Either way, she is a friend and there was a gig. The gig bit isn’t important actually. The important bit was that after a few drinks had been drunk she told me she’d been in a Britney Spears video when she was a teenager! Amazing. I then proceeded to ask her about it in minute detail, carried on drinking and forgot everything she told me.

While writing about Britney’s ‘(You Drive Me) Crazy’ – the song/video in question¬†– ¬†a memory of this conversation happening bubbled up. So I contacted said friend, the inimitable Briana Dougherty Chester, to ask her some questions and this time write down her answers…

So you were in the ‘(You Drive Me) Crazy’ video weren’t you? I didn’t just imagine that.
I mean, I was an extra. Not sure if that’s considered being in the video. Basically my best friend in High School had moved to LA to pursue the acting thing and she was in Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ video, dancing directly underneath the silver sparkly lady who was the main love interest. Anyway, she called me and said ‘hey, do you want to be in a Britney Spears video?’ and I was like ‘hells yeah!’. It was filmed in this power station, I think in Redondo Beach. It was meant to be sort of industrial vibes and it was dirty and dusty and rank. Anyway we got there at the crack of dawn and when Britney showed up everyone was like ‘oooh Britney’. She was practicing her dance moves and I remember her choreographer was trying to change the moves and she was like ‘why can’t we just do it the way it was!’.

Oh poor Britney.
(Laughs) She was just like F this. Anywho, I also remember that they tried to make out in the video that her and Sabrina The Teenage Witch were super tight but they were basically in separate trailers and I never saw them hang out once. Adrian Grenier or whatever the fuck his name is was in that video too.

So where are you in the video?
Okay, you can see it but it’s like I’m visible in the bit with the crazy DJ, standing right next to him, and then there’s another moment where she’s walking down a tunnel with her girls and Wade [one of Britney’s dancers] is walking down the tunnel with his guys and then it pans and you can see the whole room – I’m like in the back leaning against a bar or some shit.


How long were you there for?
I was there all good damn day and night. I got there at the crack and then I don’t think we got out until after midnight. It was so boring. It was just hearing that song over and over and over.

Did they supply that lovely outfit?
Yes. It was 90s sporty vibes, you know. Crop tops everywhere. There were extras there who thought they were more special than others, it was pretty funny.

Did you get to chat to Britney at all?
So I was exhausted and bored from doing all the background dancing I had to do and I was sat on the floor with my head in my hands at one point. I guess someone had given Britney a box of chocolates and she went around the room giving them out to everyone. My friend saw Britney trying to give me some chocolate but I didn’t see her so it looked like I dissed Britney!! I don’t remember hearing her ask me if I wanted one, but I guess she just walked past.

Did you get paid?
It was jack shit, about $100. Considering I’d been there from 6am until midnight or whatever. I remember the next morning we got a call to be in the 98 Degrees ‘I Do (Cherish You)’ video, the wedding one that Screech was in. We were going to be one of the bridesmaids so we were going to be more than just extras. It could have been the start of a glorious career for both us as video extras but we both said no because we were too tired. That was the beginning and end of my video career.

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