‘Isla’ Is 2016’s Gerber Baby, And She Is Absolutely Adorable!

The Gerber baby has a new face, and her name is Isla Welch! The seven-month-old baby from Troy, Michigan, is the winner of the 6th annual Gerber Baby Photo Search 2015.

There were more than 170,000 cute baby pictures submitted, but Isla’s sweet photograph stood out and caught the attention of the judges. The new Gerber baby will be featured in 2016 Gerber ads. Her parents will receive a $50,000 grand prize, and Isla will receive $1,500 worth of Gerber children’s apparel.

“Isla is always happy,” her mom, Rachael, shared with Today. “She’s always smiling and giggling and on the move. Her favorite thing to do is dance to music and play with her big sister, Nora.”

“It’s very exciting,” Grayson, Isla’s father, told Yahoo Parenting. “It still hasn’t sunk in that she’s the one.” Grayson was scrolling through the photos of his two daughters when he came across a cute shot of his seven-month-old baby with her “crazy” hair sticking up. Isla’s mom said strangers would often comment on her baby’s chubby cheeks and full head of hair.

Isla’s Parents Talk About Winning the Gerber Baby Photo Contest 2016

“I had been taking photos of the kids that day and snapped Isla in a perfect pose while she was horsing around on the living room couch,” her father recalled. He immediately submitted Isla’s photo to Gerber.

A few months had passed since sending Isla’s snapshot when Grayson received an email from Gerber. He and his wife Rachael could not believe their youngest had won the Gerber baby competition.

“We still can’t believe we won because there were so many gorgeous entries, but we are so excited and grateful to see what the rest of the year holds as the 2015 Photo Search winners!” Rachael said.

Senior marketing Manager for Nestle Infant Nutrition, Bernadette Tortorella, explained in a press release why they chose Isla among the thousands of cute candidates.

“While we received so many incredible entries, the judges all fell in love with Isla’s cheeky smile and awesome hair. We are so thrilled to be celebrating our sixth annual Photo Search winner!”

In a separate interview with Yahoo Parenting, Tortorella noted that while the new Gerber baby is really charming, the photo search is not a “beauty contest,” as the picture should grab the attention of the panelists. According to her, they are searching for “happy and healthy babies who are judged on their visual appeal and expressiveness.” Every year, the judges gather thousands of photos of babies from birth to 48 months to look for the Gerber baby who will represent the leading baby food brand.

Isla will replace last year’s Gerber photo contest winner, Grace, from East Petersburg, Pennsylvania.

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The search for Gerber baby may have started in 2010, but the original Gerber baby was discovered in 1928. The iconic drawing was submitted by a woman named Dorothy Hope Smith, hoping it would get chosen by the company for their logo. It was a charcoal sketch of her neighbor’s baby, Ann Turner Cook. Cook, now 89, is a retired teacher.

Check Out the Original Gerber Baby

“I always had that expression with my mouth hanging open. Kind of a quizzical expression.” Cook told CBS. She continued, “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!'”

As for Isla’s parents, the couple is thrilled to be part of the leading food brand for babies. “We’re very excited to join the Gerber family,” Isla’s mom said. “We know it will be a fun year filled with lots of great opportunities.”

[Image via Twitter]