Get to know Mary Jane Montoya, the Latin baby who recently became the new star of the Gerber The new face of Gerber: Mary Jane MontoyaGeneration campaign.
Entering their daughter, Mary Jane, into the 2012 Gerber Generation Photo Search was almost an afterthought for Latino parents Sara and Billy Montoya of Fresno, California. Thinking that their 8-month old daughter looked just like the baby in the Gerber logo, they went ahead and submitted her picture on the company's Facebook page just as the deadline was ending. To the Montoyas' great surprise, their beautiful baby was chosen as the new face of iconic Gerber last November, beating out over 308,000 photo entries.
"Like parents everywhere, we think our baby is cute, but to have this honor is something we'll cherish for forever," says Sara, who has also won $50,000 for her family in addition to having her daughter become a nationwide recognized baby. And despite the excitement of the moment, Mary Jane's parents are already thinking ahead. "It's going straight to her college fund; education is very important to us," the proud parents told Matt Lauer during an appearance on the Today Show of the winnings.
As her family is concerned, this precious baby girl will not only enjoy the benefits of a higher education, but she will also be raised in a Hispanic household that's proud of its Mexican and Native American heritage. Both Billy and Sara, who speak Spanish fluently, are intent on teaching Mary Jane how to master the language along with their parents and extended family. "We are so proud of being Latino," say the Montoyas, who also claim Latin music is one of Mary Jane's favorite things. "We love salsa, mariachi and banda music…[and] every time she listens to music, she gets so excited. She moves her legs…her little body, and is always happy to dance with Mom."
The Montoyas couldn't contain their excitement as they described their baby's preferences and personality at only 8 ½ months old. "She loves animals, our two dogs and the outdoors," says Billy Montoya of how hard it was to take the baby's picture outside. According to the proud father, the baby enjoys stopping to touch the grass, watching birds fly and trees moving with the breeze. The new Gerber star, whose favorite baby food is squash, carrots and pears, is described as "very alert and very observant" by her parents. She is learning to clap, wave, crawl, and she even took her first steps while waiting to be on the Today Show.
Since Mary Jane's public whirlwind, her parents are back in Fresno where they have resumed their normal lives. Billy is back working as a production designer and studying full-time at a local university, while Sara is a stay-home Mom who gets to spend time with Gerber's new baby face. But as far as they're concerned, Mary Jane is just their baby-- the most beautiful bebé in the world.