Lainey Wilson on Yellowstone kiss Give people their money’s worth

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As a high school student in Baskin, Louisiana, Lainey Wilson made her show business debut as TV’s Hannah Montana on the stage of a flatbed trailer.

The 30-year-old country singer-songwriter recalls the surreal feeling of performing her song “Watermelon Moonshine” years later for a scene in Paramount’s “Yellowstone” — on a trailer in Montana.

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“I’m on this flat stage and I’m singing one more time, but not in a Hannah Montana wig. And I was like, damn, this is a full-circle moment for me,” Wilson says. “And I sing ‘Watermelon Moonshine,’ a song about young, wild and crazy love.”

Love just gets wilder and crazier for Wilson, who debuted as free-spirited musician Abby last month on the Season 5 premiere of “Yellowstone.”

Sunday’s episode of TV’s No. 1 show featured a performance of “Moonshine” before Abby stepped off the platform to spark a passionate romance with burly ranch hand Ryan (Ian Bohen), who works for Kevin Costner’s John Dutton, now the governor of Montana.

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What Wilson lacked in experience for her first on-screen kiss, she made up for with the same determination and enthusiasm that made country music the breakout star of 2022. She’s smoking hot from the scene.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing, but go head over heels. I wanted to give people their money’s worth,” says Wilson. “I told my mom and dad, ‘You might not want to watch this show.’ I don’t want to be on their prayer list.”

Wilson sends high praise to “Yellowstone” creator and executive producer Taylor Sheridan, a longtime supporter who placed her song “Working Overtime” in the first episode of Season 2 before the up-and-comer even had a record deal.

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Her music was frequently featured on the Paramount series before Sheridan took up her work. In February, he told Wilson he wanted to create the character Abby specifically for the bell-bottoms-loving artist.

he said he wanted me to pretty much be myself, which is a dream come true, especially when you’re trying to introduce yourself to people,” says Wilson. “At the time, all I got from him was that I would play a musician who would fall in love with one of the boys. He didn’t even tell me which one.”

A devastating family health saga nearly derailed her dream career: Wilson nearly canceled when her father, Brian, was placed in intensive care with a yeast infection. From his hospital bed, her father urged Wilson to start working.

“He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s my funeral. If you’ve got a job to do, you better go. And don’t come back until it’s done,'” Wilson says. “I packed my bags. That gave me the strength to do it. But I’m not going to lie, I’d do my scene and go to bed and cry a little bit.”

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Wilson’s first “Yellowstone” scene was opposite the combative Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly), which only added to the pressure. But Reilly, a fan of Wilson’s music, was supportive.

“I told (Reilly) when I met her, ‘I thought you were going to hit me in the head,'” Wilson says. “But we got along great. She even gave me some handmade bath salts.”

During this friendly scene, Abby vows to never date a cowboy. But in the last episodes, there were sparks and a dance full of smiles between Abby and the resident Ryan, flirting anyway, which turned into flames on Sunday.

Wilson won’t say how long the love will last, but admits she had to learn to kiss despite the obstacles of wide-brimmed cowboy hats. “It’s definitely about tilting your head to one side; the angles are so important,” says Wilson. “And there comes another kiss where I tip my hat. That’s when you know you’re going to go for it.”

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The country star is still busy with her skyrocketing music career. Four days before the “Yellowstone” season premiere, Wilson brought her then-recovered father as her date to the Nov. 9 CMA Awards, where she took home the trophies for best new artist and female vocalist.

“Yellowstone” is a nearly weekly preview of her new album, “Bell Bottom Country,” released Oct. 28. Wilson has announced a 27-city tour that will begin on January 4.

“The crazy thing is, we’re just getting started. We’re working hard to work harder. Now’s the time to roll up our sleeves,” says Wilson. “I’m trying all these new things, even ‘Yellowstone,’ my first acting gig. I’m excited to see what the next step is.”

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