Seven-month-old Grace, from East Petersburg, Pennsylvania, is the 2015 Gerber Baby.
With her blue eyes crinkling in happiness, rounded face sweetly dimpled, and her tiny hands clasped under her chin as she smiles at the camera, it’s easy to see how little Grace managed to beat out the more than 180,000 other contestants, who were surely adorable, as well.
Gabrielle, Grace’s mother, who asked that Gerber keep her family’s last name out of the press because of privacy concerns, explained in a press release how the moment was captured on camera.
“The photo that won was taken only five photos from when I started taking pictures of her that day. She must have taken her hands out of her mouth and posed them like that for a split second because I didn’t even realize how cute she was posing until after I was completely done taking pictures and looking back at what I had just taken!”
The Gerber Baby photo search is in its fifth year, and the recipients — Grace and her parents — will receive a $50,000 cash prize, a year’s worth of Gerber baby food, and the opportunity for little Grace to appear in a Gerber ad.
Although this contest is relatively new, the original contest to find the so-called “face of Gerber” was held in 1928. Dorothy Hope Smith was the artist who entered the winning sketch of the now iconic wide-eyed, open-mouthed baby who became what we all know as the Gerber baby. It wasn’t until 1978, though, that the identity of the baby behind that sketch was revealed to be that of Ann Turner Cook, a retired teacher who had been Smith’s neighbor in 1928, when she drew the sketch in charcoal.
Cook was only a few months old when the sketch that would ultimately become so famous was drawn and was three years old when she found out that it was her own face on all the Gerber packaging.
Cook, who is now an 87-year-old great grandmother, told CBS Sunday Morning that she loves being part of such a famous image.
“I can’t think of anything nicer than to be a symbol for babies. It reminds people of their own babies. Everybody says, ‘my baby or my grandchild looks like the Gerber baby.’ And it doesn’t matter the ethnicity. And I say, ‘Yes, I’m sure they do!'”
There is certainly something reminiscent of the “original” Gerber baby in Grace’s own wide-eyed look of delight.
The photo contest for the new Gerber baby is held every year, and as Gerber Marketing Specialist Cassie Savage said, “At Gerber, we are passionate about our annual Photo Search and recognize that every baby entered is a Gerber baby.”
Although this will no doubt be a wonderful experience for Grace and her family, some children who begin modelling careers at a young age are often a source of concern and scrutiny. Click here to read about the child who has been named “the most beautiful girl in the world” before even turning 10-years-old.
[Images via Yahoo!]