Camila Cabello Named New Face of Bacardí: Behind the Scenes at Her First Commercial (Exclusive)

First Look: Camila Cabello in her new Bacardí commercial. PHOTO: RAHUL BHATT/BACARDI

Cheers are in order: Camila Cabello has a new gig.

The pop star is the new global face of Bacardí, the brand announced on Tuesday — and her first commercial for the rum empire just dropped.

In the commercial, which is dubbed a “Do What Moves You” production and directed by Nicolás Méndez, Cabello’s new hyper-pop-inspired single “I Luv It” plays, making waves around a Caribbean city, from a bar and a strip mall to the beach and a rooftop party.

Cabello shot the new campaign in February in the Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo. PEOPLE was invited to be on the ground for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look as the commercial came together at multiple locations.

After a long shoot day, Cabello sat down with PEOPLE in her trailer, where she opened up about why becoming the new face of Bacardí “feels amazing”— and teased her next musical era.

Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Cabello, 27, felt an affinity for Bacardí because “they have a very closely linked Caribbean background,” says Cabello, who collaborated with the brand on a signature cocktail (recipe below). “My grandma’s favorite drink is the cuba libre — a rum and coke — and growing up in Miami, you just are surrounded by Bacardí, so I was just super excited to collaborate with them. And also I feel like Bacardí has such party energy — I feel like their vibe is always about partying and having fun and music, so it just feels like the vibe.”

Camila Cabello filming her Bacardí commercial. RAHUL BHATT/BACARDI

Since Cabello carved her path as a solo artist, her music has been informed by her Latin heritage, so this latest move is in sync with her personal brand.

“I think where I’m from just influences me a lot,” she says. “I’ve also never really left Miami. I’ve kind of always been surrounded by that culture out there, which is its own kind of little, unique microcosm. It’s Latin but also Latin immigrants but also a melting pot of different cultures. I think that’s just influenced me, and it’s influenced my music, too. It kind of just comes out of me.”

Camila Cabello filming a Bacardí commercial in the Dominican Republic. MATTHEW CANALS/BACARDI

Though she’s from Cuba, filming in the Dominican Republic felt familiar to Cabello.

“My best friends are actually Dominican, so I told them hearing the Dominican accents and everything really feels like I’m home,” she says.

When it came time to film for the commercial, Cabello was prepped because the work is similar to performing onstage or shooting a music video.

“It’s just less time. This was just kind of a day, a few hours, of learning choreo,” says Cabello. “But it’s fun to be moving.”

Camila Cabello getting touched up during a Bacardí commercial shoot. MATTHEW CANALS/BACARDI

Because “I Luv It” had yet to be released when they shot, the track wasn’t played on set as Cabello and performers from La(Horde) dance collective filmed.

“Nobody’s heard the song yet, so we’re not playing it out loud, so it’s all to count,” Cabello said at the time. “So it’s, like, very mysterious.”

Indeed, locals were likely left wondering what was happening in the city, as Cabello quite literally stopped traffic as she shot scenes in downtown Santo Domingo and off the DR-2 highway, overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Camila Cabello filming a Bacardí commercial. RAHUL BHATT/BACARDI

Earlier in the day, Cabello shot multiple takes as she strut down a shut-down city street, whipping her newly platinum tresses around with ease. After the shoot wrapped for the day, the Grammy-nominated star joked she “might honestly” need a chiropractic adjustment from the “hair-ographry.”

“I’m feeling the soreness come on for sure,” she said at the time. “I definitely will take a hot bath or something. I feel like the adrenaline of being on camera numbs out pain; during it, I was like, ‘This is fine,’ and right now, I’m like, ‘I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow with some limited movement.’ But it’s all part of the job.”

Camila Cabello in a Bacardí commercial. RAHUL BHATT/BACARDI

And the job comes with some risks. At one point, as the crew was racing against the clock to shoot Cabello in front of a seaside high-rise apartment during the “blue hour” (which is just after sunset), the singer-songwriter experienced a near-accident during a choreographed fall with the dance troupe — but Cabello brushed it off like a pro, of course.

“I wasn’t terrified until one time, where I felt like I came really close [to falling]. Then I was scared for, I think, six takes after, I was kind of like, ‘Okay, I’m feeling some fear!’ But that’s one of those things, you’ve got to just kind of be confident, or else it’s worse,” Cabello says. “So I just was like, ‘Go for it, and focus.’ And I’m still here, not a scratch on me.”

Cabello’s glam squad was also along for the ride to achieve the perfect look on set.

Camila Cabello filming a Bacardí commercial. RAHUL BHATT/BACARDI

On the beauty end, “we really wanted the look to embody a street grunge vibe, with a sexed-up edge to it,” says makeup artist Ash K Holm, who gave Cabello a smoky eye and over-lined lip and worked with cool, matte shades.

Cabello’s longtime hairstylist Dimitris Giannetos says, “we wanted her hair to be a little more edgy and cool — and effortless at the same time,” which he executed by giving her a locks a wet look all day.

Camila Cabello getting touched up by Ash K Holm. RAHUL BHATT/BACARDI

And celebrity stylist Jared Ellner dressed Cabello in a knit and crocheted top with a denim skirt and black boots. “Camila right now wants everything to be a little bit mismatched, a little bit chaotic, in a fun, sexy way,” he says, adding that the look of the day was “unified but still hit a few different vibes all at once.”

Camila Cabello getting touched up by her glam squad at a Bacardí commercial shoot. RAHUL BHATT/BACARDI

As for the vibe of her new era, Cabello kept mum, other than to say “it definitely feels like… ‘signed by me.’”

But her new ’do may hold a clue, too.

Camila Cabello in a Bacardí commercial. RAHUL BHATT/BACARDI

“I just feel like this next chapter for me is so different, and I just like the idea of shedding your identity,” she says. “I feel like my dark hair was such a part of how I saw myself and how other people saw me, so it’s kind of nice to be like: palate cleanser.”

Camila Cabello’s I Luv It Punch

2 oz. rum

1 oz. coconut water

1/2 oz. elderflower liqueur

1/2 oz. passion fruit nectar

1/2 oz. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)

1 lime wheel, for garnish

Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

Add rum, coconut water, elderflower liqueur, passion fruit nectar and lime juice to an ice-filled rocks glass; stir to combine. Garnish with a lime wheel and coconut flakes; serve immediately.

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