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Reba’s Wardrobe, Including That Red Dress, Tells Her Story in Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit

Reba McEntire arriving at 30th Annual People's Choice Awards
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Reba changed costumes more than 15 times during her big concerts in the mid-’90s. So, it’s no surprise her eye-popping outfits make up the bulk of the new Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit, Reba: All the Women I Am, now open in Nashville. Fans will want to check out the turquoise dress Johnny Cash gave her in 1981 that she wore on her first Tonight Show appearance, and one of her costumes from Broadway’s Annie Get Your Gun is there too. Of course, the main attraction is the shockingly low-cut red dress she wore to sing “Does He Love You” on the 1993 CMA Awards.

Reba didn’t set out to wear the most famous dress of her career that night. In fact, she’d only tried it on once before the night of the show. Her stylist, Sandi, was still sewing beads on it backstage in their dressing room at the Grand Ole Opry House just before Reba put it on to dash out for her CMA performance.

Reba says, “The dressing room lighting wasn’t the greatest in the world. And so, I looked in the mirror. I thought, ‘Must be the lighting.'” Fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson exclaimed “Holy cow!” when he saw Reba in the dress backstage, and then the audience audibly gasped when she took the stage. Reba just thought everyone was amazed at how great she looked.

“I had no idea you were almost seeing the ladies,” she adds.

Nearly 20 years later, Reba has no regrets about wearing that dress, and that’s the way she feels about everything visitors will see at the Country Music Hall of Fame. From the perfect attendance certifications from her elementary school days to the bag of Frito’s chips with her face on the bag from 1994, Reba feels this exhibit captures the curiosity and drive that has carried her throughout her life.

“The curiosity has been there from the very beginning to now,” she explains, “and it’s still a very curious person that I am, wanting to know, ‘What’s next? What you got planned for me next? What’s in store?'” Reba admits she cried several times seeing this display for the first time. There will be other items rotated in and out during the exhibit’s 10-month run, too. She adds, “I’m still finding stuff in the garage. In closets. I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh. Might need that at the Hall.'”

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