Oh baby, baby! Britney Spears’ iconic music video for her first single ever, “…Baby One More Time,” turned 19 years old on Monday, Oct. 23 — and the superstar seemingly celebrated the occasion by rocking a sexy schoolgirl outfit in a recent Instagram post. Watching my beloved Brit-Brit, now 35, strutting her stuff in a white button-down shirt (tied up to show off her washboard abs, of course) and a pleated miniskirt seriously made my nostalgia-loving heart melt. And, naturally, it got me thinking hard about “BOMT”’s timeless visual.
Even if you’re not an active member of the Britney Army, the “Baby” video still probably means something to you. From Britney’s paradoxical, naughty-but-nice image — that launched many young boys and girls into puberty — to her sensational dance moves, the three-minute and 56-second masterpiece is still vividly enticing nearly two decades later. In case you aren’t a living Britney encyclopedia (like myself), please do yourself a favor and brush up on the best little-known facts about “Baby” below.
The video’s concept was all Britney’s idea.
Britney and her label, Jive Records, had originally hired Joseph Kahn to direct “…Baby One More Time.” Joseph — who would later direct outstanding Britney videos, including “Stronger,” “Toxic,” and “Womanizer” — was eventually let go from the project when his 16-year-old client rejected his video concept.
“They had this really bizarre video idea, this animated Power Ranger-y thing. I said, 'This is not right. If you want me to reach four-year-olds, then OK, but if you want me to reach my age group ...' So I had this idea where we're in school and bored out of our minds, and we have Catholic uniforms on,” she told Rolling Stone in 1999. “And I said, 'Why don't we have knee-highs and tie the shirts up to give it a little attitude?' — so it wouldn't be boring and cheesy.”
Director Nigel Dick eventually got the job and brought Britney's schoolgirl dreams to life. He also directed the videos for "Sometimes" and "(You Drive Me) Crazy," the second and third singles from the Mickey Mouse Club alum's debut album, also called ...Baby One More Time.
Britney’s love interest was played by her cousin.
This sounds way worse than it was. Britney’s hot AF cousin, former Abercrombie & Fitch model Chad Spears, was chosen to play the pop princess’ love interest in “Baby.” Aside from a few stolen glances across the gym, Britney and Chad never packed on any PDA for the cameras.
Britney’s teacher was played by her assistant-turned-close pal Felicia Culotta.
Felicia Culotta — or just “Fe” as Britney and her legions of fans know the former dental hygienist — played the chart-topper’s dorky teacher in “Baby.” During a July 2016 interview with Absolute Britney, Fe admitted that the high school-inspired video is her favorite video of Miss Spears’ career. “I’m always drawn back to ‘…Baby One More Time,’ it was such a groundbreaking experience on all levels,” Britney's longtime assistant said, adding that fans shouldn’t expect to see her make anymore cameos in the future. “I never could because I am always so busy!”
The video was filmed at the same high school as Grease.
Turns out, Rydell High was actually Venice High School IRL. The longstanding learning facility in LA’s beachside enclave was also the backdrop for Grease, the 1978 classic starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta as Sandy and Danny.
Britney performed her own stunts.
Right before Britney belts out the bridge on “Baby,” she totally nails a back handspring in the video. Though many haters used to question the authenticity of her tumbling skills, the Louisiana native did, in fact, perform the stunt herself. Prior to falling in love with singing and dancing, Britney spent much of her childhood training to be a gymnast. To this day, she frequently shows off her acrobatic talent on Instagram.
WTF? “…Baby One More Time” lost to Fat Boy Slim’s “Praise You” at the 1999 VMAs.
Britney was robbed of every MTV Video Music Award she was nominated for until 2008, when she won three for “Piece of Me," the second single from her fifth studio album, Blackout (which just marked its 10-year anniversary, BTW). While “Baby” was defeated in many VMA categories in 1999, her most infuriating loss was to Fat Boy Slim’s “Praise You” for Best Choreography. I’m sorry, but Britney is the undisputed Queen of Choreography — and her impassioned hair flips and body rolls were unjustly overlooked!
“…Baby One More Time” was named Total Request Live's most iconic video ever.
Duh. Years after they made the unfortunate and unforgivable mistake of ignoring Britney’s dance mastery, MTV finally got it right in 2008 when they named “Baby” the most iconic video to ever grace the TRL countdown during the show's first 10 years on air. And, in my completely biased opinion, it’s the most iconic video to ever exist. “…Baby One More Time” forever, you guys. 💖