The Coppertone Girl has her whole head back.
With a face-lift, to boot.
This week, the MiMo Biscayne Association announced on Facebook that the iconic “Coppertone Cutie,” a fixture in the city since 1959, has “fully recovered from her Hurricane Irma injuries and is safely back home at 7300 Biscayne Boulevard.”
After Hurricane Irma battered the sign in September, the historic preservation association sent out a call for help to find a missing piece that had snapped off her head during the storm.
“We are hoping — though it’s a long shot — that the panel will turn up in someone’s backyard and will miraculously be identified and returned,” MiMo Biscayne Association president Debby Stander told the Miami Herald in September.
Turns out the non-profit didn’t have to look too far to find the Coppertone Cutie’s head. It was there all along.
The piece was found lodged behind the sign, which otherwise withstood Irma’s winds. But that bit of her blond head was hidden from view.
Alas, that original piece was damaged beyond repair, the group said. A temporary patch only revealed that even more extensive repair work was required to restore a look that dates back to a 1953 sketch by an art director at the Coral Gables advertising agency, Tally Embry.
According to MiMo, Jerry Bengis, who has a lifelong association with the Coppertone Girl — his father’s sign company created the 35-foot sign in 1959 — called in Neon Sign Solutions to restore her face.
The sign company, with art director Liessel Ferrer, gave her a much-needed face-lift by eliminating a former unattractive seam beneath her nose. The sign unveiled on Monday is now “all of a piece,” MiMo said, and she’s back at the location from which she’s greeted drivers and pedestrians along Biscayne since her move there in 2008.
The sign, formerly part of the “Tan don’t burn” suntan lotion ad on a downtown Miami building, now has a historic designation.
“The MiMo Biscayne Association is deeply relieved to have been able to save this beloved sign from becoming a victim of Irma’s destruction,” Stander said.