Ettinger is notable for portraying Obama Girl in Barely Political's June 2007 Internet video "I Got a Crush... on Obama", in which she expressed her admiration of then-U.S.Senator Barack Obama. The video led to numerous sketch comedy appearances and interviews, including Saturday Night Live, Geraldo at Large, The O'Reilly Factor, andHannity.
Ettinger is a native of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, of German, Italian, Swedish and Irish ancestry. She has an older brother and two younger sisters. Her interest in entertainment began at an early age. She participated in beauty pageants, dance recitals, theater, cheerleading competitions, and more.
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. She is currently a designer alongside her mother Roseann Ettinger, together they have created the "Inspired by Amber" jewelry line.
Ettinger was crowned Miss NYC and Miss Alpine New Jersey in the 2003-2004 Miss Hawaiian Tropic pageant, later augmenting that title with a nod as Howard Stern's Miss Howard TV in June 2007. Ettinger wasHooters Miss Manhattan, representing them in the 2003 International Swimsuit Pageant.
Ettinger appeared in commercials for VH1's Pepsi Smash, Bikini Zone, and Certain Dri. She has also appeared in a video for The Onion. She was featured in music videos for Thalía, The John Popper Project,"and Styles P.
Ettinger has traveled around the world modeling for swimsuit, lingerie and fashion companies such as Ujena, Born, Baby Phat, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. Ettinger has been featured in many publications such as Maxim, FHM, and Elle. She has graced the cover of Wired and Steppin Out magazine.
Ettinger appeared in the "I Got a Crush... on Obama" viral video, which was posted by Barely Political to YouTube in June 2007. Later, she appeared in a new video called "Hillary! Stop the attacks! Love, Obama Girl" released on March 25, 2008. On May 7, 2008, Barely Political posted a YouTube video with Ettinger and former Democratic and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Mike Gravel, entitled "Mike Gravel Lobbies for the Obama Girl Vote." In the video, Gravel tries to persuade her to switch her support from Obama to him.
In late September 2008 Ettinger made a YouTube video with Independent candidate Ralph Nader in which he argues that he should be included in the debates. The video was a spoof of conventional sitcoms and was called "The Obama Girl and Ralph Nader Show." Also featuring former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura, the video followed what would happen if Obama Girl and Ralph Nader shared an office.
In the Fall of 2008, Ettinger starred in a parody of "I Got a Crush on Obama" with a promotional video for EA's Red Alert 3. In it, she professes her allegiance to Howard Ackerman, a fictional presidential candidate played by actor J.K. Simmons. Since then she has been featured in multiple videos by Barely Political, including parodies of Jennifer Lopez, Fergie and Catwoman.
In February of the election year 2012, Ettinger collaborated with Obama impressionist Iman Crosson (Alphacat) in the PoliPop video "Glease" which was a spoof of the song "You're the One That I Want" from the filmGrease and television series Glee, in which "a smitten Obama seeks the affection (read: vote) of the Obama Girl." A related music single was also released. In April 2012, "Glease" was included as part of the in-flight entertainment line-up for Virgin America airline.
As the 2012 election approached, news organizations mentioned and interviewed Ettinger as a barometer of whether Obama would be re-elected. More than a year before the 2012 election, CNN Newsroom's Brooke Baldwin had remarked, jokingly, that "obviously, the Obama girl is the litmus test for who will win in 2012." In 2012, Ettinger declined to state who she was supporting for President. Sean Hannity interviewed Ettinger on Fox News Channel's Hannity about her level of support for Obama; Ettinger explained that her 2007 Crush on Obama video "encompassed what a lot of Americans were feeling the excitement for hope and change" and that now (June 2012) she hadn't given up on Obama, but added that her options (for voting in November 2012) were open. In a Fox News Channel opinion piece, J.D. Gordon used Ettinger's indecision in 2012 as a specific example of Obama's waning support.
Ettinger released her own music EP titled Queen of the Web (October 29, 2008; Silver Curve Records), the EP including three tracks:
- "Second Time"
- "Second Time Remix"
In an August 2008 interview, Wired magazine asked Ettinger about "her double life as an online sensation and actual person," with Ettinger describing her background in fashion design, modeling and acting.Ettinger said that she was not singing about Obama in the EP's songs, and staking out her own musical identity after lip-synching the 2007 "I've Got a Crush" video, Ettinger explained that "Obama Girl’s going to sing about Obama, but Amber Lee Ettinger’s going to sing about other things that are going on in her life."
On March 10, 2010, she appeared on Shear Genius as one of the models to be styled for headshots. In mid 2010, Ettinger became a correspondent on fashion for the network WPIX in NYC. On December 17, 2012, she appeared on the game show Take It All hosted by Howie Mandel making it to the final round. She chose "Keep Mine" while her opponent chose "Take It All" and took everything winning in excess of $500k.