Amber Lee Ettinger, aka Obama Girl, on Finding Fame Online
Amber Lee Ettinger is an American actress and model best known as Obama Girl in her on-line video "I Got a Crush... on Obama" -- referring to 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama -- which has earned her scores of media appearances, from a part in a "Saturday Night Live" sketch with Fred Armisen as "Obama" to an interview on "At Large with Geraldo Rivera" with 'Geraldo Rivera'. A native of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Ettinger moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology to study fashion and clothing design, having expressed hopes to create her own clothing line and other business ventures. Early in her career, Ettingter was crowned Miss NYC in the 2003 Miss Hawaiian Tropic pageant, later augmenting that title with a nod as Miss Howard TV in June 2007. She has also appeared in a video for the Onion News Network, as well as the music video for the John Popper song "Lapdance". Amber released a new video called Hillary! Stop the attacks! Love, Obama Girl on March 25th, 2008.
Ettinger: My name is Amber Lee Ettinger, a.k.a. “Obama Girl.”
Question: Before Obama Girl, did you use technology to advance your entertainment career?
Ettinger: I was, what I felt, was an internet model because I’m obviously not 5’10” or 5’11”, tall enough to be a high fashion model, but there is a niche for girls my size to do a lot of swimsuit modeling, which is what I did and I got to travel around extensively, thanks to the internet and thanks to modeling websites and things that I promoted myself on my own websites, and then other websites, and it all turned into this big, big thing. So, I was constantly on the computer, promoting myself.
Question: Did you have your own website?
Ettinger: Yeah. I had my first website. It was called something like amberlee-ny.com or something like that. That was one thing I used. And then, I used sites like onemodelplace.com, which was something that really wasn’t around before and it just had, it gave you the opportunity to interact with other models, you know, across the United States, around the world, other photographers, and if they wanted to book you on something, it was much easier than having to worry about having an agent, because you didn’t need that agent anymore. You were your own agent.
Question: How do you use personal technology?
Ettinger: Yeah. Well, I use it all the time. I’m constantly on my phone. I do Twitter. I have my MySpace pages, and when I say pages, I have a page for, like, everything. I have a page for Obama Girl, I have a page for my music, I have a page for just myself and my modeling, I have a page for my jewelry line that I have with my mom, and I’m constantly updating it because I can’t just let it sit there. If I let it sit there, people are going to get bored and they’re going to go on to the next thing, and I like to keep my fans and my friends interested in what I’m doing and I like them to, I’d like to have that constant interaction and feedback.
Question: How frequently do you dialogue with your fans?
Ettinger: We’re really, really active in the comments section, as far as underneath our YouTube videos, we’ll respond to them or we’ll even make comment videos where we pick out really dumb or really sweet comments and I’ll respond to them, and they’re pretty funny. I think people like that too, ‘cause it gets a good laugh. But, as far as me, on my own, like, on the home front, I just pretty much, I’m constantly posting bulletins and I’m constantly just responding to people via e-mail or via MySpace messages, ‘cause I actually feel guilty when I don’t respond. So, I try my best to respond to everybody, and if I can’t, I’ll send out, like, a mass e-mail, answering certain questions that people want to know. I try my best.
After being discovered by BarelyPoltical.com, Obama Girl has harnessed technology to achieve a global celebrity.
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