Phylicia Rashad is the new Jenny Craig spokeswoman

As the New Year looms and people start thinking about weight-related resolutions, the Jenny Craig weight loss program is taking on a new celebrity spokeswoman -- again. Phylicia Rashad, best known for her role as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show, will take over the reins from Queen Latifah, the latest in a line of celebs who've endorsed Jenny's plan. There's no job security in weight loss endorsements, because once you've lost the weight, you're just not as interesting anymore -- and if you don't lose the weight, or can't keep it off, well, then, that's not the endorsement the company wants. So we expect to keep seeing a lot of turnover in this position.

The Newest Spokesmodel

    As the new spokewoman for Jennie Craig, Phylicia Rashad will become a role model for those trying to lose weight, and the company hopes her popularity will help draw in new customers.

    Noel Vasquez, Getty Images

    Rashad may be setting herself up for a short-term job assignment. If she succeeds, the company will move on most likely, and if she doesn't, she could also lose her job.

    Joe Corrigan, Getty Images

    Rashad has struggled with her weight in the last decade or so. This photo is from a red carpet appearance in 2007, which shows off her figure.

    Mark Mainz, IMG / Getty Images

    Rashad and her husband, sportscaster Ahmad Rashad were the life of the party in the 1980s, when she had a much leaner look at red carpet events.

    David Mcgough, DMI / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images

    At the height of her popularity on the long-running NBC hit 'The Cosby Show,' Rashad was always elegant.


    Rashad takes over for Queen Latifah, who has been extremely successful in keeping off her weight -- so much so that she may not be a great inspiration for new customers.

    April L. Brown, AP

    The same goes for Valerie Bertinelli, who is in the maintenance phase of the program.

    Gregg DeGuire,

    Kirstie Alley ran into trouble as a Jennie Craig celebrity spokeswomen when she regained weight. The company dropped her.

    Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Kirstie Alley was Jenny's first major celebrity spokeswoman, and she was with the company for three years before she "stepped down" in February of this year. At least, that was the official language. Rumors flew, though, that Alley got the boot when she just got too darn fat again. Seesaws like that are an incredibly frustrating part of weight loss attempts, so while Kirstie is refreshingly real, she wasn't inspiring much confidence in the Jenny Craig program.

Valerie Bertinelli was a real Jenny Craig success, losing even more than her original 30-pound goal. She's looking fantastic these days, and she's real proof that the program can work -- but now that she's so skinny, Jenny's target audience can't really relate to her, can they? Next in the spokeswoman role was Queen Latifah, who successfully shed 20 pounds on the program. Latifah and Bertinelli are still featured on the Jenny Craig website, but as they move into weight maintenance, Phylicia Rashad will take over the spotlight as a celebrity actively trying to drop the weight.

Jenny Craig's ad strategy is nice because it takes likable celebrities and makes them relatable. While most of Hollywood's weight issues are about trying to get from stick thin to paper thin, it's nice to see a realistic spin on weight loss and weight struggles. None of Craig's celebrity spokesmodels have been aiming for the size 00's -- they're taking the same steps we normal people would to get down to a normal, healthy weight. And this advertising would work very well for Jenny Craig, if it weren't for the fact that their most famous spokesmodel is most famous these days for being fat. D'oh. But maybe Phylicia Rashad will pick up where Queen Latifah and Valerie Bertinelli left off in distancing Jenny Craig from Kirstie Alley and showing women (and men!) how successful the program can be. Time will tell, but we're rooting for her. Who doesn't love Claire Huxtable?
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