Steve Schofield
August 11, 2016
In The Mix

Go with the Flo

Jon Matsumoto

When Stephanie Courtney landed the part of Flo, she had no expectations that the Progressive Insurance commercial in 2008 would amount to anything long-lasting,

As a character actor who had auditioned for countless TV, film and commercial parts, she was simply hoping the spot would air "at least once."

Today, after more than 100 commercials, the perky, quirky and omnipresent Flo is practically interchangeable with the Progressive brand — so much so that Ad Age placed Flo on a list with Rosie the Riveter and Betty Crocker as one of the top female ad icons of all time.

"She genuinely likes people, but she's also imperfect," Courtney says of her character's continuing appeal. "Like, she thinks she's perfect because her lipstick looks pretty! She's not a model who's talking about how this product is going to make your life great. She's just a regular human being with faults and good points."

The Stony Point, New York, native — a longtime improv and sketch-comedy performer at L.A.'s esteemed Groundlings theater — is grateful that many of the commercials have allowed her to tap into her gifts as a comedic actress. So it's no surprise that her favorite Progressive commercial featured Courtney humorously playing Flo and five of Flo's male and female family members.

"That was such a gift," she says of that clever spot. "Commercial actors don't often get those types of opportunities."

Courtney says she doesn't get recognized very often in public as the spunky Progressive rep, who is also featured in numerous print, internet and radio ads.

"When you take off all of Flo's crazy makeup, I don't really look like her," she notes. "The recognition has increased a little bit. But it's not uncomfortable. It's just enough to enjoy it."

This article was originally published in emmy magazine, Issue No. 7, 2016

Browser Requirements
The sites look and perform best when using a modern browser.

We suggest you use the latest version of any of these browsers:


Visiting the site with Internet Explorer or other browsers may not provide the best viewing experience.

Close Window