Monday, May 25, 2015

K Club Special (Part 18) Kay Campbell - Smile Girl

Wow, have I been on a very interesting historical search over the last several months.  Apparently, early on in her career, Kay (one of our favorite 70s catalog models) was a "Smile Girl" for Jantzen. They had an advertising theme called "Just wear a smile and a Jantzen."  And as part of that campaign, they had these "Smile Girls" as company ambassadors.

What exactly was a "Smile Girl?"

Well, they were gals with great smiles (duh).  Here is Kay along with two other smile girls, Karol Kelly and Wendy Walters.

I got onto this era of Kay's career when Blue Senshi sent me the following little snippet.......

"A friend of my mother's entered my picture in Jantzen's first Smile Girl contest."  That is one really good friend.  Naturally I had to find out more which started a multi-month search that led to some real treasures.  So sit back and enjoy!!

Apparently there was a national contest to find these Smile Girls.  I assume that was to try and generate interest and find that "all American" look.  Here is newspaper clip about the local contest that Kay participated.  So how did she do?

Yep she won (are you surprised?) Now it was on to the national competition.

Yes, Kay in this pic.  But this was just the beginning....

The Smile Girls at the New York World's Fair.  This pic just drips of 60s uber-coolness.  Of course that was when the World's Fair was a Big Deal.

But wait, there's more for the Smile Girls.  They got to go on a big tour of Europe.  Note that Kay mentioned that she wasn't interested in pursuing a modeling career.  I guess she changed her mind?

The Smile Girls arrive in London.  Note that Kay always seems to be positioned in the center of these pictures - like in the first pic (just an observation.)  Rights for this photo are reserved.  Please contact me for permission if you wish to re-publish.

And when in London, what does one do?  Well you have tea of course!!  Rights for this photo are reserved.  Please contact me for permission if you wish to re-publish.

So now we know how Kay started her career, and what a career that was.  And to think it all began when a friend of her mom entered her pic in a local contest!  Go back to the first newspaper clip and you'll see that Kay was heading off to great things!!


  1. She was very, VERY prolific in the catalogs. I've heard her referred to as the "The Queen of the Catalogs". LOL Catalog work is the most lucrative. She must have made a ton of money. But I don't remember ever seeing her as an editorial model for Seventeen.

    1. That title is most appropriate. She started to appear in the catalogs in the late 60s. She must have had that look that everyone was looking for. I also haven't seen her in Seventeen.

  2. Wendy Walters in the top photo and in the photo with car full of girls at the World Fair is my mother in-law. I can't tell if her photo is among the individual photos in the picture where you say, "but this was just the beginning..." Unfortunately, we lost Wendy this past March due to illness. Wendy had fond memories of being a Jantzen Smile Girl and modeling. She was always a beautiful woman. She kept many of her photos. I remember an advertisement Wendy kept that featured her and was in Seventeen Magazine. Wouldn't be surprised if there was an ad with Kay that also ran in Seventeen at some point. I bet Wendy knew Kay. She stayed in touch with a few of the girls over all these years. Wendy stopped modeling after she got married and had my husband. Happen to see her picture here and thought I'd comment.

    1. Just looked closer and I believe Wendy is among the many individual photos of the Smile Girls. She's on the bottom row left of center of page in what looks like blue and white bikini with red hat on. At least looks like her. Would love to get a good copy of this photo with all the girls. Haven't seen it before.

    2. Hi Smile Girl! That's really interesting. Thanks for the feedback. I'm sorry that your mother-in-law passed away recently. It's always interesting to hear from people that knew these models from back then. Unfortunately the pic with all the individual smile girls I got off the internet. I don't have a hard copy. If I get it, I'll let you know. I'll also go through my collection and see if I have any other pics of Wendy. Nice to hear from you!

    3. If you know what issue that two page Seventeen ad is from, there's a good chance I might have it.

    4. If you know what issue that two page Seventeen ad is from, there's a good chance I might have it.

    5. I don't know the exact issue, but I think it is from 1966.