Celebrities

Coast natives appear in commercials filmed for Super Bowl play. But will you see them?

A commercial actress known as the Cootie Queen and a former Ole Miss football player from Waveland had high hopes of being seen on TV ads during the Super Bowl.

Both appear in commercials produced by companies who also had high hopes of their commercials being picked for TV play in Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.

But it is not certain if the commercials, both filled with humor, will air during the big game.

Former Gulfport resident Jesse Meriwether — also known as the lint-licker lady from an Orbit gum commercial — said she’s now been told her commercial for Lexus aired during the Pro Bowl.

The commercial, “Lexus Quarterback Safety System+: Next-generation QB Protection,” was filmed with former Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback Matt Leinart, who was a member of the USC Trojans in two national championships.

“They told us it was a spot for the Super Bowl,” Meriwether said. “But it is a football spot and they’re running it online and will be running it on ESPN and stuff.”

Frigo had not been notified as of Friday of an air time for his commercial, filmed for DraftKings, a daily online provider of fantasy sports contests, and Sam Adams beer.

The commercial, “Victor Cruz Flips The Script On Some Fans In a Commercial Gone Wrong,” features the former Giants wide-receiver, who was part of the 2011 championship team that beat the Patriots in 2011. Cruz is now an ESPN analyst.

Their commercials could air at other times.

But Meriwether (a staunch Saints fan) and Frigo said they won’t be terribly disappointed if their commercials are not picked for Super Bowl Sunday or the hours in advance.

The commercials and long-version videos are making waves on the internet.

Frigo’s determination

Frigo was an offensive lineman for the Rochachaws at St. Stanislaus High School in Bay St. Louis. From there, he played for Mississippi Coast Community College for two years and moved on to Ole Miss, were he majored in broadcast communication at the University of Mississippi.

Frigo later moved to New York, hoping to learn more about the film industry. He began as an intern with a Paramount-affiliated office.

“An internship is a job given to those looking to build up experience, so many students will find internships to form their resume,” Frigo said.

“I found an internship that showed promise and I immediately took advantage of the opportunity.”

Frigo, who lives in Manhattan, has since signed with a talent agency. He also is a personal trainer and has a podcast for people in New York City who want to meet other people.

The commercial he filmed with Victor Cruz was intended to prank unsuspecting fans filmed in a question-and-answer session. The director warned the fans to not talk about certain subjects. But the director feeds cues to the fans once they are on the set, putting them in the hot seat as Cruz goes off script.

Cruz is known for his salsa dance on the field after making touchdowns, and for a 99-yard catch-and-run against the New York Jets, which some say led the Giants to their Super Bowl championship game against the Patriots in 2011.

Cruz retired in 2018 and now works for ESPN as an NFL analyst.

Meriwether’s humor

Meriwether, who now lives in Los Angeles, is a 2000 graduate of Gulfport High School and the GHS Admirals Theatre 2000 Hall of Fame.

She has credits in several movies, and her commercials have aired in at least three Super Bowls.

Who hasn’t seen the 2007 Orbit gum commercial that went viral? The one with the wife who bashes her husband and his secretary-mistress with euphemisms? And called the other woman a “little doo doo head cootie queen?”

jesse meriwether lint licker gif.gif
Jesse Meriwether as the Cootie Queen and lint licker lady in an Orbit gum commercial Courtesy of Orbit

Meriwether was the other woman, who replied by saying, “Who are YOU calling a cootie queen, you lint licker?” Meriwether then smacked her gum and the Orbit girl appears, saying, “New Orbit’s Raspberry Mint cleans another dirty mouth. For a good clean feeling, no matter what.”

The video became a national sensation, garnering millions of views.

And remember the Bridgestone tires commercial with the squirrel during the 2009 Super Bowl? The one where a squirrel runs in front of a car and the squirrel and the driver scream before the car stops just in time? That was Meriwether too.

Her commercial for Lexus is tongue-in-cheek. While Leinart practices catching a football, a man tells about Lexus’ new technology for quarterbacks. A 360-degree camera supposedly gives the quarterback an assortment of views and it has anti-heckling boo technology to drown out the noise of haters. And under-the-uniform wear is air bags that deploy to soften the blow as quarterbacks fall.

While Leinart practices, Meriwether hurls smack, including a profane word, and Leinart doesn’t hear her.

She’s proud of her quirky commercial roles, and says she is proud to be a “dork.”

Robin Fitzgerald covers real-time news, such as crime, public safety and trending stories. In nearly 40 years as a journalist, her highest honors include investigative awards for covering the aftermath of the fatal beating of a Harrison County jail inmate in 2006 and related civil rights violations. She is a Troy University graduate.
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