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How Well Do You Really Know Flo, The Progressive Girl?

You may know her best as the excessively enthusiastic saleswoman for Progressive Insurance, but how well do you really know the woman behind the crisp white apron?

You’ve heard her tagline “Now that’s Progressive” during many a commercial break.

1. But who is that perennially perky character who’s “got you covered?”

Stephanie Courtney, an actress and comedian born on February 8, 1970 in Stony Point, New York.

A former Bearcat, she is one of Binghamton University’s claims to fame.

Stephanie Courtney is featured on Binghamton University’s admissions website as an example of post-collegiate success. Despite full intentions to pursue acting, she graduated with a degree in criminology.

While studying at New York City’s Neighborhood Playhouse, she moonlighted as a Smith Barney evening secretary to pay the bills.

FUN FACT: While living in New York City, Stephanie Courtney lived with Meghan Daum, the now-famous op-ed columnist at the L.A. Times.

Hollywood looked more promising, and in 2004 she joined the respected Groundlings sketch and improv company.

The Groundlings rock out in celebration of lunch breaks.

Famous alumni of the Groundlings include Will Ferrell, Kristin Wiig and Lisa Kudrow.

Courtney made her TV debut as a nurse and waitress in HBO’s “Mr. Show with Bob and David.”

The episode, which first aired December 7, 1998, was called “Eat Rotten Fruit From a Shitty Tree.” Yummmmm.

2. Buffy loyalists may remember her as Gwen, the “Files and Records” secretary-savant at Wolfram & Hart on Angel.

Stephanie Courtney found time to teach married Christians about the birds and the bees.

Stephanie Courtney appeared in “The Second Coming” Groundlings’ skit — a parody sketch mocking Christian infomercials.

She also played Marge in the first season of Mad Men (2007). Retro looks good on her!

AMC / Via ugo.com

Marge keeps Sterling Cooper scandal on the DL as one of three switchboard operators.

Famous line: After witnessing a secretary be pummeled to the ground at the holiday party, Marge laments “I used to think I’d find a husband here.”

Marge may have lucked out in office love, but the real Stephanie Courtney found her husband in the Groundlings Theater lighting booth.

In 2008, Courtney married The Groundlings Theater’s lighting and sound director, Scott Kolanach.

Acting with the enemy? Just before landing her gig as Flo, Stephanie appeared in the short-lived ABC comedy “Cavemen” — a spinoff of Geico Cavemen commercials.

ABC / Via sodahead.com

She’s no movie star, but Flo makes bank.

Sources estimate that Stephanie Courtney makes $500,000 per year for her work as Flo. Not bad for a commercial gig, but chump change compared to the quarter billion dollars Progressive reportedly spends annually to produce Flo ads.

The only thing more extreme than Flo’s boundless joy is her rabid fandom.

She inspires craft idolatry.

Crafter and Flo-fanatic Bobby Doran plans to annually embellish this knit ode to Flo. Oh, the possibilities.

Imitation = Best Form of Flattery

After Halloween 2011 inspired countless homemade Flo costumes, Progressive capitalized on the Flo frenzy by selling an official costume through Amazon, which became the third top selling costume in 2012. For thrifty Flo fans, Progressive’s “Dress Like Flo” page outlines how to DIY the Flo allure, right down to the correct shade of MAC lipstick (Lady Bug) and downloadable name tag and autobox.

And like so many once-wholesome things on the interwebs, Flo fandom gets a little…kinky.

The shippers chant “Flayhem!”

and…Flake?

Even Hustler couldn’t help but include “Ho of Aggressive Insurance” in “America’s Favorite Commercials Gone Porn”

And she has quite a Facebook following — 4,846,446 to date.

(FOR REFERENCE: GEICO Gecko has a measly 298,710 likes, the Aflac Duck is slumming it with 346,948, and when compared by a curious fan on August 15, 2012, Flo was beating Mitt Romney in Facebook fans 4,332,097 to 4,213,885!

Thanks to her many admirers (and to Progressive, of course), Flo is always having…

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