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RYAN BAKKEN: Insurance agent returns to TV and to Internet adulation

MAYVILLE, N.D. -- In high school back home in Saskatchewan, Jessica DeClercq signed up for the school play. But she didn't want to be on stage. Instead, she opted for hair and makeup duty. "I wasn't interested in an acting role," she said. "I wan...

Jessica DeClercq
Jessica DeClercq

MAYVILLE, N.D. -- In high school back home in Saskatchewan, Jessica DeClercq signed up for the school play.

But she didn't want to be on stage. Instead, she opted for hair and makeup duty.

"I wasn't interested in an acting role," she said. "I wanted to be behind the scenes."

Now, at age 30, she's front and center. Last week, she made her second appearance in a national television commercial, playing a State Farm Insurance agent.

It wasn't a stretch for her because she is a State Farm Insurance agent, with an office in Mayville since January of 2010. She plays herself -- with her nameplate on the desk.

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The second commercial was first aired Monday. Her first commercial had its debut on June 13. Both were shot in Hollywood.

The encore is similar to the first commercial. In the spot, a professional actor plays Jerry Neumann, who telephones her to lament that he has switched insurance companies and has been in an accident. In the first commercial, his car is vertical, leaning against a pole.

"This time, his car is stuck in a wall of a building," she said. "He wants to come back to us again.

"I hope this commercial goes over as well as the first one."

Because of her nameplate and probably because she's a looker, she has received extensive feedback on email, Facebook and in person.

Lori Baldock, a State Farm agent who works with DeClercq, tells of a West Virginia man "about 90" who stopped in one day. "He said he just wanted to meet her," Baldock said.

DeClercq said the commercial hasn't spawned any stalkers or creepers, but "it's created quite a following. It's also driven business. More people are calling us and other State Farm agents in general to get cost comparisons on insurance."

That's important because DeClercq isn't interested in changing her career to pitchwoman, actress or anything else.

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"I enjoy being in the insurance industry," she said. "I have no intention of moving to Hollywood."

She has spent almost 10 years with State Farm, a place that we all know is "like a good neighbor."

She's been a good neighbor in Mayville, too, becoming active in community events and being on the county's economic development board.

It's probably only a matter of time before the community theater group calls. She is a proven sensation -- at least when she's playing herself.

Go to GrandForksHerald.com to watch DeClercq's first commercial for State Farm Insurance. The second one does not appear online.

Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send e-mail to rbakken@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: MAYVILLE
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