The enigmatic woman who became the focal point for the US’s controversial healthcare.gov website is a Colombian citizen called Adriana, ABC Television revealed on Wednesday.
The US permanent resident and mother of a US-born baby son, revealed only her first name and told the US TV news service that she was speaking out now to defend herself after weeks of enduring online lampooning.
Enigmatic Mona Lisa
She was dubbed the “enigmatic Mona Lisa of health care,” after the dysfunctional website for the Affordable Care Act, as ObamaCare is officially known, left thousands of people wanting to use the site being able to only see a picture of the smiling Colombian.
According to ABC, it all began when Adriana responded to an email from someone at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for the Affordable Care Act’s rollout, about having photos of her and her family taken for free in exchange for allowing the photos to be used to market the new health care law.
Her face quickly became nationally recognized and before long she was the subject of internet memes, late-night talk show jokes, political partisan hatred and intense speculation as to her identity.
No reason to hate
“I mean, I don’t know why people should hate me because it’s just a photo. I didn’t design the website. I didn’t make it fail, so I don’t think they should have any reasons to hate me,” Adriana told ABC News.
“They have nothing else to do but hide behind the computer. They’re cyberbullying,” she said.
Though she is eligible for healthcare through the ACA, Adriana said she hasn’t signed up for it, and is neither in favor nor against it.
She was never promised or had received payment for her image.