Last year, an adorable baby boy named Lucas made history as the first Gerber baby contest winner with Down syndrome. Now, another “spokesbaby” is making history.
On Tuesday, the baby food brand announced the winner of the ninth annual Gerber Baby Photo Search contest: 1-year-old Kairi Yang from Hickory, North Carolina.
Kairi is the first Gerber baby of Hmong descent. The Hmong people are an ethnic group from East and Southeast Asia.
“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. The new spokesbaby shares a home with her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Her family plans to teach her to read and write in the Hmong language.
“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,” added her mom, who is a native of Thailand.
A panel of judges selected Kairi’s photo from a record-breaking pool of more than 544,000 Instagram entries. The panel included 2018 spokesbaby Lucas as an honorary judge.
“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,” Gerber President and CEO Bill Partyka said in a press release. “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 family will receive $50,000, and she will appear in promotional posts on Gerber’s social media throughout 2019.