On Monday, the 25th of February, Gerber named its first ever spokesbaby of Hmong descent: Kairi Yang from Hickory, North Carolina
Selected as the winner of Gerber’s 9th annual Photo Search from a record-breaking 544,000 entries on Instagram, one year-old Kairi will appear in promotional posts on Gerber’s social media channels throughout 2019. In addition, her parents will be awarded $50,000
Th panel of judges – including last year’s winner Lucas Warren, Gerber’s first ever spokesbaby born with Down Syndrome – was intrigued by Kairi’s “delicate expression and the look of wonder in her eyes.”
“As soon as we saw her photo, we fell in love with Kairi’s expressive eyes and angelic face, looking toward the future and being excited for all that it holds,” said Bill Partyka, President and CEO, Gerber. “We believe that every baby is a Gerber baby, and this year, are thrilled to recognize Kairi as the new face of Gerber.”
Kairi’s parents, Ying Vue and Peter Yang, are passionate about their Hmong identity. In North Carolina, home to the fourth highest Hmong population in the nation where Hmong is the second-most spoken non-English language (after Spanish), they hope to raise Kairi to be proud of her Hmong heritage, too. The new Hmong-American spokesbaby, an only child, shares a home with her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and her family plans to teach her to read and write in Hmong.
“Hmong in our eyes is all about the close bonds we have with our relatives during life and afterlife,” Kairi’s mother, Ying Vue, told Today. “Being surrounded by all her family has been a very positive influence on Kairi’s life, especially when it comes to preserving our culture and tradition.”
Since 1931, the enduring logo of Gerber has featured a charcoal drawing of the smiling, white baby girl Ann Turner Cook. Over the years, the company, a subsidiary of Nestlé, received a myriad photos from parents who saw their children – racially, culturally, and neurologically diverse – in the iconic image. Responding to the need to evolve its marketing strategy to reflect changing demographics, Gerber launched Photo Search in 2010 to scout for spokesbabies fit for multicultural America. As the global baby food market is set to reach $72.7 billion by 2020, Kairi becomes part of a lucrative legacy.
“When we first found out Kairi won, we were speechless and couldn’t believe it. We are beyond thrilled that our sweet Kairi is Gerber’s 2019 Spokesbaby,” Vue said. “Kairi’s personality is larger than life, and she always maintains a spunky attitude. We hope Kairi’s one-of-a-kind, entertaining personality and vibrant facial expressions radiate positivity around the world, just like she does in our home every single day!”