Kelli Stavast is the NBC News sports reporter who is behind the viral let’s go Brandon trend.
In case you missed it, the phrase has taken off among Joe Biden critics, who say the tamer line instead of the saltier “f*** Joe Biden” chant that has erupted among fans at sporting events all over the country.
It all started with an interview Stavast conducted on October 2, 2021, with NASCAR star Brandon Brown in which she mistakenly thought the crowd was saying “let’s go Brandon,” when they were really chanting “f*** Joe Biden.”
[There’s a new trend: People are posting “I did that” Biden stickers on gas pumps to mock the president over rising prices. See videos.]
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Stavast Has Worked as a ‘Pit Reporter’ for NASCAR Races
According to Front Stretch, Stavast has worked as a pit reporter.
“The first time I saw Stavast working on race broadcasts was back prior to the unification of Grand-AM and the American Le Mans Series into the current form of IMSA,” the author wrote. “Stavast worked as a pit reporter on both SPEED and ESPN broadcasts at that time. In addition, Stavast has worked on broadcasts for SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks, the Red Bull Air Race and the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series.”
She later became a pit reporter for NBC Sports in the IndyCar series, according to Front Stretch.com. “When I started here [in 2015], I was a little bit more shy [about] just walking into someone’s hauler,” Stavast explained to Frontstretch. “That’s their office, while this is mine. Now, the teams all know me and they’ll open the door before I can get there half the time…”
2. Stavast Grew Up in Colorado & Went to College in Southern California
According to NBC Sports, Stavast grew up in Denver and went to college in Southern California. She became a freelance sports reporter first.
“If you think you know nothing about racing, the idea of off-road racing, I had no idea,” Stavast told NBC.
“She worked as part of an on-air team with NBC NASCAR veterans Marty Snider, Dave Burns, Bill Weber and Wally Dallenbach Jr., leading to more work with the network. After a season of covering motocross, she was asked to cover IndyCar and NASCAR and make a move to Charlotte,” the network reported.
3. Stavast Moved to Nevada to Be With Her Fiancee
Stavast moved to Las Vegas to be with her fiancee, a man named Gavin, according to NBC.
She spent two years in North Carolina first. The network says that she met Gavin through Kurt Busch, his friend.
“I’ve loved NASCAR, and for whatever reason I’ve felt comfortable from the get-go,” she told NBC in the bio podcast. You can see her Instagram page here.
4. Stavast Mistakenly Thought the Crowd Was Chanting ‘Let’s Go Brandon’
The viral trend is based on a mistake made while interviewing Brown.
“Thank you to all of our partners. Oh my god it’s just such an unbelievable moment,” Brown said in the interview.
“You can hear the chants from the crowd. Let’s go Brandon,” Stavast says in the video.
Brown later weighed in, tweeting, “To all the other Brandons out there, You’re welcome! Let’s go us.”
According to Fox News, NASCAR deleted the video when it became clear what the crowd was really chanting.
The phrase has since popped up throughout pop culture, especially at sporting events and a Trump rally.
According to Fox News, the chant has also surfaced at college football games in the fall of 2021. According to Yahoo.com, the “f*** Joe Biden” chant was also heard at an Arkansas-Ole Miss game and a Trump rally in Iowa.
5. Stavast Covered the Olympics in South Korea
Stavast has been assigned to cover big stories, most notably the Olympics.
Chapman University wrote about this assignment in a PR post about Stavast. “Stavast’s assignment is freestyle skiing. She is not in a rink or a booth. Part of her role is essentially sideline reporter, out in the elements, and she has to be cogent and not visibly shivering,” it reads. “A couple of prep assignments at U.S. ski venues helped her understand what she could face in Pyeongchang, South Korea.”
“I went to go do an interview — and it was on tape, so I could start over — but it was like my lips were too cold to talk. I couldn’t form words,” said Stavast to the university, which described her as “an alumna of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.”
At first, she covered other spots. “I started taking any job I could find. I covered tennis, boxing, high school football, college football, baseball, I mean truly anything, and making pennies doing it,” she said to Chapman University. “But I took everything that came my way.”