Commercials are normally a stepping stone for actors, but if you’re Flo from Progressive, commercial acting might just be the right niche. Playing the insurance giant’s iconic spokesperson has been a boon for one talented comedian whose name you may not recognize. It’s also kept her gainfully employed for 13 years and counting. Learn about Flo from Progressive’s net worth and the story behind the iconic commercial character.
What Is Flo From Progressive’s Real Name?
For starters, Flo from Progressive is a fictional person. The character is played by the 51-year-old New York native, Stephanie Courtney. Courtney has been acting since her days as an English major at Binghamton University.
“I was never tortured over whether I wanted to become an actor,” Courtney told the school’s magazine in 2009. “There was never another option in my mind.”
After spending time in New York City, she relocated to Los Angeles and joined the improv troupe The Groundlings. Courtney honed her comedic chops and scored an array of bit parts, like in Mr. Show, Blades of Glory, and Mad Men. She also collaborated with her sister Jennifer on “Those Courtney Girls,” a sketch show they performed at the famed Aspen Comedy Festival.
Most recently, she appeared in three seasons of NBC’s The Goldbergs. She also did voice parts for Green Eggs and Ham on Netflix and Adult Swim’s Mike Tyson Mysteries. When it comes to work, it seems that comedy is her genre of choice.
“When I first moved to Los Angeles, I saw an improv show at The Groundlings and … couldn’t believe the actors were building scenes virtually out of thin air,” said Courtney. “I love doing a nice, juicy, dramatic role when I get the chance, but I feel most at home when there’s some sort of comedic angle.”
Flo From Progressive Was An Accidental Success In 2008
From an ad executive’s standpoint, Flo from Progressive is a remarkable success story. A 2018 Fast Company story revealed that in the decade since Flo’s 2008 debut, Progressive’s business jumped from $13.6 billion to almost $30 billion. It also spawned a number of imitators, like Lily from AT&T.
“Flo humanizes insurance, something that can feel pretty impersonal,” VCU Brandcenter professor Caley Cantrell explained Fast Company. “We are paying for something we hope we never need and if we do need it we want to believe that it will be easy and human. Flo seems like the kind of person we would hope to get on the other end of the line to help us through an unpleasant situation.”
Courtney earned the part after her second audition. She discovered that by channeling her mother, she would be a perfect fit for the role.
“What they were looking for was basically a friendly neighborhood waitress,” the actress told lohud.com in 2016. “She is super friendly and nice, almost to the point of madness. I was like, ‘I can do that.’ I went straight to my mom and I credit her with Flo’s personality. “I said, ‘Yes, I can become Jane Courtney!’”
Flo’s role has seen some tweaks over the years. For instance, she’s no longer confined to the fictional superstore where she meets prospective customers. Based on stats, the changes have paid off.
“If you see Flo 15 to 20 times a month, multiply that by 10 years–I don’t care if you’re Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Ellen DeGeneres–whoever it is, if they’re trying to sell you something, you’d probably get tired of that person,” Progressive CMO Jeff Charney told Fast Company. “The data is showing us the opposite about Flo. That’s a very difficult thing to achieve.”
For an in-depth look at Flo from Progressive’s birth and evolution, check out this 10th-anniversary documentary.
How Much Money Does Flo Make From The Progressive Commercials?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Courtney earns $2 million per year for playing Flo from Progressive. The site also speculates that she could make as much as $2 million, due to residuals and options in her contract. It’s a huge payday for someone whose best-known work is in commercials. It’s also a huge leap from her days as a starving artist.
“Making money was always tough,” Courtney told Cosmopolitan in 2015. “And commercials are hard. You make a lot of money at once, but [residuals] depend on how they play. I would book maybe under one commercial a year, just enough that I would keep auditioning. So I had a lot of day jobs…”
Her first national advertisement came in 1999 with a Bud Light commercial. “They played it during the Super Bowl. I had a little part in it, but when I got paid, I thought I had made it. I quit all my day jobs, and then six months later I was like, ‘I need my job back, please.’”
What Is Flo From Progressive’s Net Worth?
Courtney’s entire net worth is estimated at $6 million. This includes her Progressive salary, TV show appearances, and voice acting work. She also appeared in tons of commercials for major brands before she signed on with the insurance company, such as McDonald’s, Quaker Oats, Skittles, and Toyota.
The actress told Cosmo that the timing of her big payday worked out in her favor.
“I booked Flo when I was just about to turn 38,” said Courtney. “I got married at 35. I had my kid at 40. I’m a late bloomer. But it tastes just as sweet when it’s late. I definitely was a calmer person getting these things later in life. It allowed me to have a more sane approach to a good job with a good paycheck. In my 20s, I would have spent it all on sweater capes and mid-sized winter boots — and I live in L.A.”