Megan Thee Stallion is hotter than ever — with the help of your favorite chip. We caught up with the Grammy-award winning artist, born Megan Pete, to hear about her latest campaign with Cheetos Flamin’ Hots.
“So your girl is the Dean of Admissions at Flamin’ Hot University, which would only be right,” she tells ESSENCE. “Basically, you’re learning about Hot Girl 101 and definitely all of my favorite recipes using Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”
The goal of the initiative, though it sounds lighthearted, is to both give back to students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and encourage people to pursue education. The 28-year-old rapper, who happens to be an HBCU grad herself, collaborated with those behind the popular chips to create digital courses like cooking tutorials, photoshoot tips, advice on content creation, and more. There’s also a merch line comprised of six pieces designed by Melody Ehsani.
Fans who have followed Megan’s journey may recall her oscillating between bars and books in a bid to succeed at both her career and education. Her pull towards school isn’t coincidental as education has always been important to her family. Not only was the rapper’s grandmother a teacher, but her mom, aunt, grandma, and uncle all attended Prairie View A&M University in Texas. Megan also began her education at Prairie View before eventually switching to her alma mater, Texas Southern University.
After changing her major from nursing to business management, the “Savage” rapper finally settled with health administration and graduated in December 2021. The journey to finishing wasn’t easy and there were times she wanted to quit, which is why she’s so passionate about helping other students.
“I just know how hard it is to be a struggling college student,” she says. “And I wanted to create any type of opportunity to give out a scholarship that I could, because I know when you get discouraged the first thing you get discouraged about is how am I gonna pay for this? So it makes me feel really good to be able to help somebody who wants to go to college finish and get their degree.”
Megan’s non-profit, Pete and Thomas Foundation, provides scholarship support, school supplies, and other resources for students in need. It also provides medical care, food security, and housing. Flamin’ Hot plans to contribute $100,000 to the foundation, which launched in 2022. Additionally, money from the merchandise collection will go towards establishing a scholarship fund of up to $150,000 at Texas Southern University (TSU).
When she’s not making cooking tutorials on the best ways to enjoy Flamin’ Hots, she is maintaining a hottie lifestyle, which includes an intense workout routine. The fruit of her labor is evident in her toned glutes, snatched waist and a glow that can only emanate from true inner confidence. While many of us are ogling over her body and glowup, the rapper admits she isn’t completely free of insecurities.
“I think every woman ever at any time period has had something that they’ve been insecure about [with] themselves,” she says. “I love fitness because it helps me with my mental. It’s like my little outlet and I love the fact that I know I can control my body. If I don’t like something, I go to the gym and I’ll fix it. But I feel like there’s always gonna be something every day that you feel about yourself.”
She continues, “I just learned about body neutrality versus body positivity. You’re not gonna feel good every day but you’re gonna feel good some of [those] days. So when I go to the gym, I’m like, ‘at least I’m working on myself.’ And I think the trying is the fun part. The whole journey is the fun part.”
Body neutrality is taking a neutral stance towards your body. This can look like full acceptance of your body and focusing on its functionality versus loving or hating it. Body positivity, on the other hand, encourages people to love their body.
In addition to embracing body neutrality, Pete also embraces being realistic about her body goals and rejecting the microwave fitness culture.
“I feel like social media definitely has people thinking things happen overnight. It has people thinking what you see is really what you’re seeing when it’s really not,” she says. “A lot of people are editing and a lot of people get there however they got there. I don’t like it when I see my friends obsess and like, ‘oh my gosh, I wanna go to the gym ’cause I wanna look like this.’ You’re gonna look like whatever your body wants to look like.”
The star encourages people to pursue fitness for physical and mental health reasons or because they’re passionate about it but not because they want to look like someone else.
“Your body is your body and it’s gonna be uniquely your body. It’s not gonna ever look like somebody else’s” she adds.
Despite having a tough past few years, Megan Thee Stallion is glad to be able to give back, to love on herself, and to be in a truly joyful place.
“I feel like this is my happy chapter. I feel like this is my fresh chapter. This is like my rebirth chapter,” she says joyfully. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot of lessons and I feel like I’ve come very far and I’m excited this go-around in my life because now with all the lessons that I’ve learned, I know exactly who I want to be. And I’m not forcing it. And I’m so excited to show the hotties my new music and just the way I carry myself. This is my fresh chapter.”