Whether you love her or hate her, Flo, the Progressive Insurance company girl is an icon of popular culture. Who is she? Where did she come from? How is it that she can be so annoying, yet so compelling? I had to find out more about her, so here are five things you may not have known about this perky, upbeat sales woman:
Who is Flo?
Meet Stephanie Courtney. She’s a forty year old American actress and comedienne who is a senior member of The Groundlings – an improvisational theater troupe in Los Angeles, California. She has provided the voices of Renee the Receptionist and Joy Peters in the Adult Swim comedy, Tom Goes To The Mayor (2004-2006). You might also have seen her in AMC’s Mad Men in the first season (2007). She’s married (sorry folks) to the lighting director for her theater troupe, Scott Kolanach. Incidentally, you might have heard of some others who have been in her group. Their names are Lisa Kudrow (Friends), Kathy Griffin (Seinfeld), and Will Ferrell (SNL).
How Long Has She Been Around?
The Progressive commercials seem to have been around forever, but Flo has been showing up in them since only 2008. While some polls find her extremely annoying, she is the reason for one of the most popular commercial campaigns in insurance history. She is now on par with the Geico gecko (of which the actor who does the voice of the gecko was recently let go for his political views) and the Verizon guy who wants to know if we can “hear him now.” She’s been placed on contract for more commercials, so can be assumed that she’s here to stay for quite some time.
Is She Really Like Her Character?
Well, not really. For her to get that hairstyle and makeup takes about two hours of work. According to People Magazine, Courtney says of herself, “I’m sort of East Coast so I like the off-white and the navy blues and the low-key preppy kind of thing.” In fact, she says that she barely gets recognized in public because she isn’t the type of person to wear all of that makeup and her hair isn’t done up in that rockabilly, retro-fashion. It’s all hairspray and heavy makeup.
Was she an overnight success?
Most people don’t become popular overnight and Courtney was not the exception. Although she wanted to be an actress almost her entire life, she didn’t start out in front of the camera. Theater was her original calling and she started when she was in first grade. From then on, she had a goal. However, she had a problem getting work in New York City and it wasn’t until she moved to California did she start making the contacts that got her into comedy and her career finally took off. Progressive Insurance, based out of Mayfield Village, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) picked her to be their spokesperson after a standard audition.
Flo Hits Social Media
You can always find out more about Flo from her social media sites like Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flo-the-Progressive-Girl/32433693228) – where she currently has over 477,000 fans or through Twitter. Progressive Insurance has a total of 71 videos of Flo on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/progressive). She has also become a popular Halloween costume for people, in which her likeness is replicated on Facebook fan pages and on Flickr. In fact, just about anywhere you go, you can find fans that love Flo.