A set of Corona del Mar triplets who are frequently seen about town in matching outfits with matching long blonde hair are the stars of a runaway hit "Swagger Wagon" series of advertisements.
Sienna, Jaden and Tegan Brown, 4 1/2 years old, star in the Toyota spots that have gone viral with more than 5 million views on one YouTube clip. That clip features a suburban family of four, the parents rapping about parenthood and the joys of owning the Sienna minivan.
The music video is a black-and-white clip that's a cross between Flight of the Conchord's "Hiphop-Potamus" and the television hit show "Modern Family." The logo is a necklace bling with a pacifier dangling from it, and lyrics include the father singing: "I roll hard through the streets and the cul-de-sacs/Proud parent of an honor roll student, Jack/I got a swing in the front, a tree house in the back/My number one dad mug says, 'Yeah, I'm the mack.'"
Throughout, the Brown girls take turns sipping tea, asking to go potty and busting moves. Jaden's dance was impromptu after watching the adults dance, but it looked so great that the director cleared the set and filmed her moves.
"Everybody was just floored," said Brittany Mason, the girls' mom. "She hasn't had dance lessons. We couldn't believe it. She was just in her element, having a blast."
The girls began modeling shortly after their last birthday, Mason said. Two of her older sons had been modeling for years after being spotted around town, and their agent, Paloma Jackson of the Jet Set agency, said to let him know when the girls were ready.
Their first job was for Dunkin' Donuts late in 2008, then a year later they filmed a commercial for H&R Block.
"We go there, and there was a giant sprinkler system hooked up to a fire hydrant," Mason said. "The girls were going to run through a downpour of rain. I thought, 'Are you kidding me?' But they had little raincoats, little umbrellas, little boots, and they ran through the rain for two and a half hours and they loved it."
The Toyota audition was a week later, and the girls were called back and used during the auditions for the parent characters. The filming took two weeks, and based on the ad's success, they returned for more filming in March, Mason said.
Triplets work well on long shoots because they can give the children regulated breaks and not interrupt filming, Mason said. The boy in the ads also was triplets, she said.
The girls love modeling. "They love wardrobe, they love hair and makeup — what little girl doesn't love hair and makeup?" Mason said.
All the money the children earn goes straight to a college fund, which Mason said will be helpful with six kids in the family.
Smoking ban could include parks — but not sidewalks, for now
Newport Beach soon could see a smoking ban at public parks and other outdoor recreational areas, but plans to ban smoking outside restaurants and bars or on public sidewalks will likely not be part of any near-term proposal.
At the Monday meeting of the Environmental Quality Affairs Committee, the group discussed its ongoing efforts to expand the city's smoking ban. Currently, smoking is not permitted on beaches, piers, public floats, public wharfs, or at Inspiration and Lookout points.
But, as City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said, "You can smoke any time, any place in any park that you want."
Some committee members said that adding the parks ban made sense.
"It protects kids and it doesn't have an economic impact," said Vincent Lepore. "It's a no-brainer."
City staff will now work on language for such additions, which could go beyond parks and trails and possibly include farmers markets, open spaces and other recreational areas. The committee members will review those staff proposals and eventually make a report to the City Council, who will have to vote to approve any changes.
Earlier plans to expand the smoking ban to restaurant patios and sidewalks met with some concern from business owners who worried such plans would cause financial harm.