Mary Jane Montoya, 8 months, also gets to meet the original Gerber baby

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 06, 2012 04:10 PM
Amy Sussman /AP Images for Gerber

Let the oohing and awing begin.

Tuesday morning saw the introduction of a new Gerber Baby model – as in the smiling picture associated with the food brand – on the Today show. She is 8-month-old Mary Jane Montoya.

Parents Sara and Billy Montoya, from Fresno, Calif., entered her in Gerber’s Facebook contest, and now that their only child beat out more than 300,000 other contenders, they plan to invest Mary Jane’s $50,000 prize into her college fund.

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

Yet photogenic as little Mary Jane may be, getting her to pose for the pic that sealed the deal was no easy task.

“It took a little while to get that picture,” her mom said on Today, “because she would not stop looking at the grass and looking at the birds.”

As it is, Mary Jane – despite her naturally rosy cheeks – won’t be replacing that iconic Gerber Baby that’s been on every label of the brand for more than 80 years. In fact, the real-life version of that model, the now-85-year-old Ann Turner Cook, her own cheeks as rosy as ever, appeared with the Montoyas on the NBC program Tuesday.

“She is just adorable,” Cook, a Tampa resident with four grown children, said of Mary Jane, “and she is a delightful little person.”