“It was a simple oversight,” explains actress and comedian Stephanie Courtney, known to millions as the quirky Progressive Insurance spokesperson ‘Flo.’”
The actress’ insurance policy, covered under SAG-AFTRA, the radio and television artist’s union, lapsed last month. Courtney, looking much older and more fatigued than her character ‘Flo,’ answered questions asked by Hunt Brickbacher of Entertainment Tonight.
“I belong to the actor’s union,” said the actress between yawns. “No, Progressive does not pay my insurance. No, my real name isn’t Flo. No, I don’t own a car. People forget, you know? I just forgot. The dues, I just … (yawn) forgot. Does that cover it?” asked a visibly perturbed Courtney. “Can I go home now?”
“I guess you’ve had to answer a lot of these questions,” asked Brickbacher. “Your fans seem to find the irony kind of hilarious. Progressive’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments.”
“Look, Progressive has me making around 350 commercial spots for tv and radio a year,” Courtney said. That’s like, 30 every month. Oh, dear God, that’s almost one a day! I rehearse one spot while shooting another. I’m exhausted. That wig I wear weighs a ton, and the makeup has made my face looking like a damn sea sponge. I bought some of that Proactiv Acne Solution for my skin, and they asked me if I wanted to be their spokesperson. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t do it. There’s just no time — I don’t have the time — I don’t have time to do anything!”
Trade publication Variety, as well as other gossip sites and blogs recently reported that a “rather odd insurance company spokesperson” had requested a hefty raise in salary, which was turned down. Courtney refused to acknowledge whether the item was about her contract with Progressive, replying only cryptically, “Yeah, that was … no, I don’t — it wasn’t — I … I read about that and my agent said … she (yawn) said … no, it’s not about me and Progressive, I’m very happy with our arrangement so I’d have to comment ‘no say’ – I mean I’d have to say ‘no comment.’ More than likely it was the Geico gecko. He’s a real piece of work, you know?”
Many actors fear that being identified with one role would lead to typecasting — locking them into one role which would prove detrimental to their careers. Courtney was realistic about the subject. “I knew what I was getting into when I signed that contract. Except maybe for the length of time that I would be bound to it and by all the extra extensions that I didn’t know about. I was so happy to sign at first, I didn’t read the fine print. I needed the job. Many actors would kill for this kind of exposure. Kill.”
When asked how many more commercial spots were planned for the ‘Flo’ character, the actress replied, “Oh, Christ on the sticks, I don’t know. I just need some sleep. Where’s my – where did I put my phone? Have you tried our new ‘Snapshot’ option?” Courtney laughed uncontrollably for several moments before sighing heavily.
The actress then leaned forward, put her head down in her lap, and promptly fell asleep. Brickbacher ended the interview by whispering, “So, that’s the story from Flo. Reporting from the Progressive Insurance Theater in Hollywood, California, this is Hunt Brickbacher for ET. Back to you in the studio!”