The elusive smiling woman who was the face of Healthcare.gov in the initial weeks of its disastrous rollout has revealed herself to ABC News:
Adriana, who asked that only her first name be used, said she was speaking out now to defend herself after weeks of enduring online lampooning.
“They have nothing else to do but hide behind the computer. They’re cyberbullying,” Adriana told ABC News’ Amy Robach.
“I’m here to stand up for myself and defend myself and let people know the truth,” she said.
Adriana is Colombian, a permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen, the mother of a 21-month-old son, and not a professional model, she says.
It was her idea to volunteer to pose for promotional photos to advertise the law:
Seeking free family photographs, Adriana emailed a contact 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 in exchange for allowing the photos to be used to market the new health care law. She was never paid.
Adriana told ABC that though she is eligible for health care on the exchange, she hasn’t signed up, and neither favors nor opposes the law. She is relieved to no longer be its poster girl, though. “They took the picture down. I wanted the picture down, and they wanted the picture down. I don’t think anybody wanted to focus on the picture,” she said.
An HHS spokesman told ABC that Adriana’s picture was removed because “Healthcare.gov is a dynamic website.”