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Britney Spears Opens Up On Dancing With A Snake In Memoir ‘The Woman In Me’

Home / Stars / Britney Spears Opens Up On Dancing With A Snake In Memoir ‘The Woman In Me’

By Kristin Myers on September 6, 2023 at 6:45 PM EDT

Pop star Britney Spears is opening up on dancing with a giant albino snake in her new memoir, "The Woman In Me."

The Princess of Pop famously danced with a giant albino snake around her shoulders at the 2001 Video Music Awards during a performance of “I’m A Slave 4 U.”

The viral moment has become enmeshed in pop culture history and will be discussed in her new memoir, “The Woman In Me,” which hits bookshelves in October.

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Britney Spears Will Discuss 2001's VMAs Snake Performance In Upcoming Memoir 'The Woman In Me'

On Wednesday night, the pop star shared a video of her dancing with a large snake from the 2001 VMA's performance of "I'm A Slave 4 U." In the caption, she wrote, "One of my favorite performances was with an albino python … I still remember how scared I felt when I was handed this snake and took the stage !!! I talked more about this performance and other favorites in my book #TheWomanInMe."

"I can't wait for you to read it on October 24," she added, although the book is currently available for pre-order. Many fans expressed their excitement to learn about such an important moment in pop culture.

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Snake Handler Reveals That It's NOT Actually An Albino Python

In 2021, just in time for the performance’s twentieth anniversary, the snake handler, Michael Hano, confessed that he “barely knew who Britney Spears was” in an interview with the TODAY show. “I’m not really up on pop culture and stuff at all. I mean, I've worked with some of the most famous models or people in the world and I didn't know who the hell they were until afterwards.”

“I had sort of heard of her because you go to supermarkets back in those days, and you're waiting in the checkout line and they have all those tabloid magazines,” he said. “This was before the internet really was around, so I knew that she was like a teen pop star or something, but like I said, I wouldn't have known any of her songs or anything.”

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He was hired for the event by an agent and clarified that he did not actually own the question that Britney was holding on stage that night. Although fans have frequently heard that Britney was holding an albino Burmese python with the name Banana, Hano insists that neither of those things is true.

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Britney Spears at GLAAD Media Awards 2018
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“It's an amelanistic Burmese python, not albino, because albino is lacking all pigments and that type is lacking only the black pigments, so it's amelanistic,” Hano explained. “Totally albino would be the all white." He also doesn’t remember the snake’s name, but confessed that people “love to make stuff up.”

“All these people are sitting in their cars, they're reading the newspaper and I see on the front page they got pictures of Britney Spears with the d*mn snake,” he said. “So like, I'm looking, I was saying, holy s---, you know, this is on the front page of a couple of different important newspapers. Wow. And then, I guess for a few days there was a big buzz about this and then 9/11 hit just a few days later.”

Snake Handler Said It Was 'Very Good' Working With Britney Spears

Britney Spears at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Once Upon a Time In Hollywood'

When asked what it was like to work with the pop star, he said that it was “very good,” adding, “She was very focused and initially she was scared of the snake, but you could see that she was able to focus and kind of push yourself to be able to work with the thing and look comfortable doing it.”

He also revealed that he had to convince producers that he needed time to work with Britney one-on-one to help her become more comfortable with the snake.

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“After a couple of little missteps because these people in television ... sometimes they just don't want to listen, then they realize that they better listen to the guy with the snake,” he said. “I finally got to just be alone with her for a few minutes so she gets it. At one point, she said, ‘He’s not gonna bite me, right?’ And my answer is always, and my agent hates me for this, ‘Probably not.’”

“You're freakin' Britney Spears, you know, if this thing bites you, I think my career is over,’” he joked, saying that it helped her become more comfortable with the snake, which can weigh up to 200 pounds and grow to be 20 feet long.

Britney Spears wearing Giuseppe Zanotti Harmony Sandals arrives at the 4th Annual Hollywood Beauty Awards
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“She realized that I was being completely honest with her, which is the route that I like to take with these celebrities,” he added, noting a time when he realized that Britney wasn’t just any celebrity, but a hard worker who wanted to make sure to perfect her craft as well.

“This was onstage at the Metropolitan Opera House and when I first showed up, they had me sitting in the audience area while the group was rehearsing their choreography,” he said. “I was sitting there for quite a while until they were ready for the snake to be brought in. All the dancers and Britney were rehearsing and even when the director was like, ‘OK, take five,’ and everyone was walking off the stage to take a break, she kept practicing."

"There was no music playing and you can see she was counting, you know, 2, 3, 4 or whatever, and practicing her dance steps on her own. I said, ‘Oh wow. Look at this. She is really a hard worker. Same thing with the snake. At first, she was scared and uncomfortable with it, but she pushed herself with it and did really well, I gotta say.”

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