Remember the Teletubbies (everybody say “Eh-oh!”)? Hard to believe it’s been almost 18 years since the show first aired on British TV. Even harder to believe is the fact that the cute baby who was the face of the “Smiling Sun” is now an adult woman who can vote and drink!
That smiling sun baby is Jess Smith, and until today, that’s all we knew about her – her name. And since “Jess” is not an uncommon girl’s name in England, and “Smith” in not an uncommon last name in England, there could be several dozen young women in England approximately 18-21 years old, who could have claimed to be the Teletubbies Smiling Sun baby.
In fact, a rumor went around a few years ago that the Jessica Smith who appeared on MTV’s Laguna Beach (who isn’t even British – she’s American) was the same Jess Smith in the Teletubbies sun. Not so, says 19-year-old Canterbury Christ Church University student Jess Smith, via the Daily Mail.
“I’m not sure why the actress is claiming to be the face or why people think she is. She would have been 10 at the time of filming – and she doesn’t even look like the baby.”
The real Teletubbies Smiling Sun baby kept her identity a secret until now – only her family knew. But now that she’s in university and making new friends, Jess decided it’s time to “come out,” so to speak. She did so via a Facebook post, according to Refinery 29.
“So I’ve recently celebrated my 19th birthday and after a lot of thought, I’ve decided it’s time to tell everyone. I used to hide it, but after a lot of encouragement from my friends at university, I’ve gained the confidence to come out with it. I am the sun from Teletubbies. There has been quite a few people pretending to be ‘the sun,’ but only I could tell you the real story. Everyone says they can see the likeness between my face now and me as a baby. I still have a baby face. I haven’t changed much either. I am still giggly.”
To back up her claim, Jess posted a picture of the letter her parents received from Courtyard Productions in Four Elms, Kent, on June 17, 1996, after she was selected for the Smiling Sun role. For her trouble (sitting in a high chair while her dad made her laugh), Baby Jess was “paid” £250 (about $387 at today’s exchange rates) and a box of toys.
“I am sure I loved the box of toys.”
The BBC plans to make 60 new episodes of Teletubbies, according to the Daily Mail, but there was no word on whether they’ll be casting a new Smiling Sun baby, or if Baby Jess’ giggles will light up TV screens once again.
[Image courtesy of: The Mirror]