Amber Lee Ettinger, aka Obama Girl, on Finding Fame Online

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 or something like that.  That was one thing I used.  And then, I used sites like, 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, Obama Girl has harnessed technology to achieve a global celebrity.

This series brought to you by Dell and

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less