For decades, "Gerber Baby" has been synonymous with chubby cheeks and bright eyes. In short, a darn cute baby. The original Gerber Baby, 85-year-old Ann Turner Cook, stopped by the "Today" show to help introduce the world to 8-month-old Mary Jane Montoya, winner of the baby food company’s new Gerber Baby contest (see her photo above, far right).
Montoya won $50,000, which her parents, Sara and Billy, plan to invest in her college fund. "It's so exciting -- you're just bursting at the seams with pride for your daughter," said her father on NBC’s morning show.
The parents submitted a photo that clearly won over the judges, including Cook. However, like all good models, young Mary Jane wasn’t exactly an easy subject. “It took a little while to get that picture," her mom said, "because she would not stop looking at the grass and looking at the birds."
As for Cook, she lives in Florida and is the proud mother of four grown children. She explained, "The original drawing was sold to Gerber in 1928, so ever since then, I've been the face of every product Gerber has ever made. It's been wonderful for me to be the symbol worldwide for babies."
Cook is clearly a fan of Mary Jane. "She is just adorable," she said. "And she is a delightful little person." Cook's image won't be replaced. For the next year, she and little Mary Jane will share modeling duties.
- Ann Turner Cook
- Gerber Baby