Remember the smiling woman that greeted you at the HealthCare.gov home page just weeks ago? She has finally come forward -- and says she is a victim of cyberbullying.
It didn't take long before her smiling face was mocked and she was associated with the many bugs that have plagued the government website.
"They have nothing else to do but hide behind the computer. They're cyberbullying," she told ABC News in an exclusive interview.
She wasn't paid for photo
Adriana found herself at the center of negative attention after she sought free photos of her family. The catch was that she'd have to give permission for those photos to be used to promote Obamacare. This past summer, she learned that HealthCare.gov would be using her photo right on its home page. She wasn't paid a dime.
The Colombian wife and mother's eligibility for the health insurance exchanges was challenged. She says she is a legal resident of the U.S., which would make her eligible to purchase insurance on the exchanges, but she has not signed up for coverage and doesn't have a position either way about health care reform, according to ABC News.
"I'm here to stand up for myself and defend myself and let people know the truth," Adriana said.
Advice for Adriana
Christopher Johnson, CEO of New York-based brand strategy firm Whitehorn Group, says it's possible to move forward after widespread negative publicity.
"The way to do it is to fully embrace the situation, to tell the truth about your own feelings personally, to share those, which it seems she's doing," he says. "While no one welcomes negative publicity or being painted a color that they did not choose, a savvy individual … can practice damage control and over time the fact that they have become, briefly, a household name can eventually turn into other opportunities, which can be positive."
Adriana's smiling face was removed from the website home page and replaced by multiple icons about two weeks ago, not because she requested it but because the graphics "provide a better way to visually reinforce key information to users about options for applying at this point in time," a Department of Health and Human Services representative told ABC News.
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