Justina Miles just opened up about her Super Bowl 2023 playbook for the first time since her American Sign Language interpretation of Rihanna‘s halftime show on Feb. 5 went mega viral. In a candid interview with Gayle King on CBS Mornings on Friday (Feb. 17), the performer shared details about how she prepped for game day and revealed what Ri said in a DM to her afterward.
Given how perfectly Miles nailed each and every lyric of the pop star’s halftime show medley of hits — as demonstrated in dozens of TikToks with millions of views and likes — you might be surprised to learn that she only received Ri’s setlist five days before the show. “I was nervous before getting [the setlist], like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s she gonna do?’” Miles confessed.
“I got it and I’m like, I know all the songs,” she continued. “I was confident. I looked over the lyrics, made sure I got all the meanings right … I memorized the lyrics and the beat, so that way I can sign the lyrics and move to the beat so [viewers] can see the beat rather than hear the beat.”
A nursing student from Maryland, Miles explained that there are different levels of deafness. While she herself can hear to an extent, she is still considered deaf, which makes her the first deaf woman to serve as an interpreter for the Super Bowl. After their performance, she said Ri messaged her directly to congratulate her on the feat.
“I did not get a chance to meet her, but she did DM me,” Miles said. “She was like, ‘Black queen, you’re amazing. We’re BFFs in my head, you were amazing!’ It was beautiful.”
“We practiced in the same vicinity — she did not look pregnant!” she added, referencing the “Lift Me Up” singer’s surprising pregnancy reveal during the show. “I found out after.”
Watch Justina Miles recap her viral Super Bowl performance below: