Mary Jane Montoya is the new Gerber baby! This photogenic 8-month-old from Fresno, California beat out over 300,000 other adorable babies to win the title and represent the brand in 2013. Mary Jane and her proud mom and pop appeared on the TODAY Show Tuesday where her parents discussed their little winner and her impressive photo that took her to the top.
“It took a little while to get that picture, too,” Mary Jane’s mother Sara Montoya recalls, “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,” she added.
“It’s so exciting, you’re just bursting at the seams with pride for your daughter,” dad Billy Montoya added of his eight-month-old daughter, who made a few silly faces during the taping, including the one you see above.
In addition to appearing on television for the first time, little Mary Jane also got to meet her predecessor, original Gerber baby Ann Turner Cook! Here is a side-by-side of the famous portrait of Ann trademarked by Gerber in 1931 after winning a similar contest in 1928, and Ann today at the age of 85:
Mary Jane is the official Gerber baby for 2013, but she will not replace Ann on the brand’s ad campaigns or labels. “It’s been wonderful to me to be the symbol for babies,” Ann said. “I can always be very proud of the product.” Ann is currently living in Tampa, Florida where she is the mother of four grown children.
So, how does Ann feel about Mary Jane? “She is just adorable, and she is a delightful little person.”
For winning the contest, Mary Jane Montoya’s family won $50,000, which they say they plan to put towards Mary Jane’s college fund. (In 17 years that ought to equate to one semester at a private university.)
Here’s the clip of Mary Jane Montoya, her parents, and original Gerber baby Ann Turner Cook on the TODAY Show: