Everyone knows Flo, the Progressive Girl, who is in the Progressive insurance commercials. Her perky and funny demeanor gives people laughs. Flo goes by the name of Stephanie Courtney, a real life actress and comedian. Stephanie was born in New York in 1970 and began her career in 1998.
Courtney landed a commercial with Bug Light and in that same year, she picked up a small role on Mr. Show. Other commercials she appeared in include one for Weinerschnitzel, Skittles, and General Mills products.
Stephanie Courtney has worked steadily over the last decade, appearing in shows like ER, The Man Show, and Cavemen. She was also in Without a Trace and Mad Men. She appeared in films like Blades of Glory, along with Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, and The Heartbreak Kid, with Ben Stiller and Danny McBride. Courtney also appeared in The Brothers Solomon with Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig and Will Forte from Saturday Night Live.
In 2010, Mrs. Courtney was given the role to play Flo, in the Progressive commercials because she was a light and funny person who could make the product stick out. Courtney’s career has remained steady over her career, and will surely continue.
People.Com posted 5 things you may not know about Flo
1. She’s not like her character, Flo.
Transforming into the perky insurance expert is no small task for Courtney, who says she barely gets recognized in public. “They don’t use any tricks or anything,” Courtney says of Flo’s big hair. “That’s all [the stylist] teasing it and shaping it and spraying it. That’s like one hour in her chair. And then the makeup is like another hour.” Instead of Flo’s thick eye makeup and bright red lipstick, Courtney says she’s more of a J.Crew kind of girl when it comes to her personal style. “I’m sort of East Coast so I like the off-white and the navy blues and the low-key preppy kind of thing,” she says.
2. She always wanted to be an actor.
Courtney grew up in Stony Point, N.Y., where she started doing plays “every year since the first grade,” she says. “I just loved it. Even if I wasn’t due for rehearsal that day, I’d just sit and watch. It just didn’t feel like work to me.” After some “hard going” in New York City, where she did mostly free theatre, Courtney decided to move to L.A. when her now-manager discovered her six months after giving stand-up comedy a try.
3. She played a switchboard operator on Mad Men.
“The amount of work in L.A. as opposed to New York just kind of blew my mind,” Courtney says of her decision to relocate. Since then, she’s appeared in movies and on TV shows, including three of her favorites: HBO’s canceled comedy The Comeback, Adult Swim favorite Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job and Mad Men. “It was just magical. I love that era,” she says of playing switchboard operator Marge on the AMC hit. “I absolutely jumped on that opportunity. It’s so much fun. It’s smoky, ’50s debauchery. It’s just wonderful.”
4. She married the lighting director.
After moving to L.A., Courtney started at The Groundlings, a sketch comedy and improv theatre company that counts Cheryl Hines, Kristen Wiig, Jennifer Coolidge, Will Forte, Will Ferrell, Kathy Griffin and Lisa Kudrow as alumni. It was there that she met her husband Scott Kolanach, who is a lighting director for the theatre. “Every crazy old lady character I ever walked out as on that stage had beautiful, peachy gem lighting because he liked me,” she says.
5. She admires Steve Carrel and Amy Adams.
“I love how [Carrel] can marry absolute humanity and hilarity. He can walk that tightrope. He pulls it off,” she says. “Amy Adams has the same thing where she’s skirting the edge. It’s amazing. She’s bigger than life but it’s very grounded. It’s really heartwarming. These guys take risks I think that are really cool.”
5 Things to Know About TV’s Progressive Insurance Lady