It all started in 1944 when Miss Chiquita was created to put a face on one of the world's first brands of bananas. She was drawn by artist Dik Browne, who also drew her cousins, the Campbell Soup "kids" and "Hagar the Horrible."
In her early years, Miss Chiquita appeared as an animated banana, helping to teach consumers about the great nutritional value of bananas and how to ripen them. She was a big celebrity, making guest appearances in top radio shows including those of Fred Allen and Alec Templeton. Other broadcast personalities inviting Miss Chiquita to be on the air were Charlie McCarthy and Bert Lahr.
Live models and personalities were hired to bring the "First Lady of Fruit" to life, beginning with Patty Clayton in 1944. Puerto Rico-born Elsa Miranda (no relation to movie star Carmen) was the most famous Miss Chiquita. In 1945 and 1946, she was active in numerous personal appearances. Miss Chiquita made many guest appearances in the movies, in commercials and even with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra.
A likeness of Miss Chiquita has appeared on the labels that identify Chiquita bananas and other products since 1963. She was depicted as a banana until 1987, when artist Oscar Grillo, creator of the Pink Panther, transformed her into a woman. The change reflected the image the public had of Miss Chiquita as a real person.
Jenny has been the public face of Chiquita since 2003 when she was chosen to be the legendary Miss Chiquita from a National search. Jenny is no stranger to being in the public eye. She was raised in an outgoing, musical family where she is the third of seven children, and the oldest of 4 girls. With so many siblings, Jenny never lacked for an audience or additional cast members. She soon joined an International Children's Choir, sang with Michael Jackson at the 1993 Superbowl Half-time Show and began appearing in National commercials.
Jenny launched her duties as Miss Chiquita by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Chiquita Brands International's listing on the NYSE. In 2004, Miss Chiquita hit the road to help get the ball rolling on the Chiquita Health Kick Tour. She was joined by U.S. Soccer stars Landon Donovan and Shannon MacMillan, in an effort to encourage kids and parents to lead more active, healthy, enjoyable lives. Miss Chiquita appeared on local morning news shows making delicious Chiquita Smoothies - a fast way for kids to get some good nutrition. In 2005 and 2006, Jenny traveled to Japan to film two commercials & print ads introducing Miss Chiquita to Asia. She also shot a US National commercial introducing consumers to Chiquita’s fresh cut fruit. In 2008, Miss Chiquita was invited to throw the first pitch at a Cincinnati Reds game and was later invited back to sing the National Anthem during the Red’s Hispanic Heritage month.
In addition to raising brand awareness, Miss Chiquita also teaches both kids and adults about the importance of good nutrition. In recent years, she has appeared on the Dr. Oz show to help prevent childhood obesity during a teen weight loss challenge. Jenny also greets the public and appears at numerous trade shows promoting Chiquita's role in living a healthy lifestyle. In 2011, Jenny continued as brand ambassador at both the Fresh Express Classic and the Chiquita classic PGA golf tournaments. Jenny has also introduced Chiquita's own CEO & Chairman, Fernando Aguirre, during the unveiling portion of the hit CBS TV show, Undercover Boss. Fernando and Miss Chiquita were also given the honor of ringing the closing bell at the NYSE to commemorate Undercover Boss, making Jenny one of few people in history to ring both the opening and closing bells. As Miss Chiquita, Jenny has enjoyed entertaining people with the famous Chiquita jingle for the last eight years.
Apart from her accomplishments as Miss Chiquita, Jenny is an actor in Los Angeles and has appeared in over 500 national commercials. She has traveled to over twenty countries and spends her time singing and training athletes as an indoor cycling and yoga instructor.
As Miss Chiquita, Jenny has enjoyed entertaining people with the famous Chiquita jingle for the last eight years.
One of America's most famous and beloved icons, Miss Chiquita celebrated her 50th birthday in 1994. It was a proud moment. Testa of New York was selected from a national talent search for this landmark occasion. That year, she made numerous broadcast and personal appearances as part of her nationwide “Good Will, Good Nutrition” Tour, with a mission of giving every person she met a Chiquita banana and educating them on healthy eating.
In 2000, Angela Lanza of New York took on the role of Miss Chiquita. Her activities included the Chiquita Perfect For Life Tour in 2001 during which she visited with the media, school children and the public in many cities across the country.
The latest in a series of women handpicked to portray the number one ambassador of fruit is Jenny Canales of Los Angeles. In 2003, she launched her duties as Miss Chiquita by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Chiquita Brands International's listing on the NYSE. She also made a national cameo on the CBS hit reality television show Undercover Boss in 2010. Jenny enjoys greeting the public, entertaining people with her famous Chiquita jingle and teaching both kids and adults about the importance of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
Miss Chiquita continues to reign supreme as the indisputable first lady of fruit. And who knows, she may be at a nearby grocery store waiting to meet you right now!
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