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The Cult of the Progressive Car Insurance Chick

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Am I the only one completely and totally enamored of the woman in the television ads for Progressive car insurance? You know, the ones starring that babelicious brunette named Flo with her “tricked out nametag” and her 60s style eye makeup and her kissable red red lips?

Apparently I’m not the only one, as the Internet is full of people trying to figure out the identity of said girl. Yahoo’s answer service is asking, “Who is the checkout girl in the Progressive Insurance commercials?” while the rambling folks over at Wiki answers are pondering, “Who is the girl with short dark hair checkout girl in the new progressive insurance commercial?” and the people at Answerbag are getting very detailed with their query, wondering, “Who is the woman in the new Progressive Insurance ad? She is the checkout girl who says `Wow, I know, I say it louder.’”

The answer, it turns out, is Stephanie Courtney, a 38-year-old actress whose resume includes an episode of ER as well as a couple of performances on my new favorite show, Mad Men (where I didn’t even recognize her without that make-up and sassy `tude.) According to IMDB, she’s a member of the influential Los Angeles comedy group The Groundlings, and she’s written her own show called “Hooray for America.”

All that’s lovely, but I’m trying to put my finger on what it is about her that has so many people searching to learn more. Is it her fabulous comic timing, her over the top facial expressions, her cute as a button retro flip? Or is it the slight hint of a bad girl that lies just under the surface? The promise of a tattoo under that check out girl uniform? The possibility of a motorcycle parked out back?

Or is it simply the fact that people are enjoying watching a non-Hollywood type (meaning, not 20, not blonde, not stick thin) get the spotlight?

I’m not sure why she’s so popular, but I do have a feeling that Stephanie Courtney is going to get a sitcom deal or a movie out of this buzz. Somehow, I don’t think that that scary tan lady from Auto Insurance Discounters can say the same thing. -- Jennifer Mathieu

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