Babies

Gerber babies across the generations: First model meets new winner

Nov. 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM ET

You've come a long way, Gerber baby.

The newest face of Gerber, 8-month-old Mary Jane Montoya, joined the original (and still classic) Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook, now 85, on TODAY this morning.

Mary Jane's parents, Sara and Billy, entered their baby in Gerber's Facebook contest, one of more than 300,000 hopefuls who entered to represent the brand in 2013. Mary Jane is their first child, and the Fresno, Calif. couple plan to put the $50,000 cash prize straight into her college fund.

TODAY /
The new face of Gerber, 2013! Mary Jane Montoya, 8 months, was chosen from more than 300,000 entries to represent Gerber in their new ad campaign.

"It took a little while to get that picture, too, because she would not stop looking at the grass and looking at the birds... of course we think our baby is adorable and beautiful, but every parent sees that in their child," Sara told TODAY's Natalie Morales, as Mary Jane bounced contentedly on her lap.

"It's so exciting, you're just bursting at the seams with pride for your daughter," Billy Montoya said.

Mary Jane won't replace the original Gerber baby: Ann's smiling face still graces the advertising campaign. She got her modeling start in 1927, when family friend and artist Dorothy Hope Smith asked her mother if she could use Ann as a model. Just like this year's search winner, Ann's image was entered into, and won, a nationwide contest. She became the first Gerber baby in 1928; in 1931, the portrait was trademarked, and she's been the face of every Gerber product ever since.

TODAY /
Mary Jane Montoya's parents say the $50,000 in prize money from Gerber will go toward her education.

"It's been wonderful to me to be the symbol for babies," Ann told Natalie. "I can always be very proud of the product."

Ann now lives in Tampa, Fla., and she's the mother of four grown children. And truth be told, she still bears a resemblance to the rosy-cheeked baby on the food jars.

Natalie noted, "You still have those same cheeks and that sparkle in your eye, for sure."

Ann wholeheartedly approved of the new Gerber generation. Sitting next to the Montoyas as Mary Jane made funny faces for the camera, Ann told Natalie, "She is just adorable, and she is a delightful little person."

You want the cute? You can't handle the cute! But if you can, click here for more cute kids on TODAY Moms:

28 photos of your adorably geeky kids

Dad shares secrets of amazing father-daughter photos

Flower girl takes a nap, steals the show, goes viral

Hello princess: Security guard makes Disney dreams come true

 

She's got personality! Mary Jane Montoya makes a funny face while her parents talk to TODAY's Natalie Morales.
TODAY
She's got personality! Mary Jane Montoya makes a funny face while her parents talk to TODAY's Natalie Morales.
TODAY /
Gerber baby contest winner Mary Jane Montoya strikes a pose for her mom and dad.
TODAY /
The original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook, in a 1927 sketch and today.
TOP