Who Was the Original Ivory Snow Baby?

Although the identity of the baby pictured on the original 1970s Ivory Snow laundry detergent box is not known, it is commonly (though incorrectly) believed to be the famous porn actress, Marilyn Chambers. In fact, Marilyn Chambers was featured on the box as the young mother holding the baby.

The iconic picture on the laundry detergent box was integral to the brand image of purity that the product’s manufacturers, Procter & Gamble, were hoping to cultivate. They famously declared, for instance, that their product was 99 44/100 percent pure. It was, therefore, an embarrassment to the company when Marilyn Chambers began to star in porn films, especially when she became well-known for them. One of her films, “Behind the Green Door” (1972), premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was well-received.

It has been suggested that Chambers is so often mistaken for the “Ivory Snow” baby because such a transformation is more symbolic of a fall from innocence. By contrast, a young female model featured in an advertising campaign for laundry detergent turning to modeling in adult films makes for far less of a scandal.

Another common misconception is that Brooke Shields was the Ivory Snow baby. While she did in fact appear in Ivory Snow advertisements, she was never featured on the product’s packaging.