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Glendale resident behind online hoax talks about her newfound fame

August 18, 2010|By Melanie Hicken, melanie.hicken@latimes.com
(Raul Roa/News-Press )

CENTRAL GLENDALE — The past week has been a whirlwind for 22-year-old Glendale resident Elyse Porterfield, who became an Internet sensation after starring in an online hoax about "Jenny," a disgruntled assistant who quit her job via a dry erase board.

Since Porterfield was revealed as the actress behind the famous photos, she's been spoofed by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, given dozens of interviews to media outlets and received hundreds of marriage proposals from love-struck men across the nation.

A week later, Porterfield — who moved to Glendale in June to pursue an acting career after graduating from the University of Northern Colorado — said she is still amazed by the attention.

"It's crazy," she said Wednesday. "Every day I feel like I'm going to wake up, and it's going to slow down, but it hasn't yet."

All of the interest came mere days after Porterfield answered an ad seeking a "girl next door type" for a $400 modeling job for theCHIVE.com, a website run by brothers Leo and John Resig, perpetrators of several other famous Web pranks.

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"We couldn't have pulled this one off without the help of this adorable young woman," John Resig said in a post on the website.

Among the board messages was this excerpt in commenting on her boss, Spencer:

"Did you ever wonder…Why everybody in the office called the trash…A garbage diSpencer?"

When the photos were first released on Tuesday, she was hailed as a hero for downtrodden employees everywhere. When they were revealed the next day to be a hoax, the attention only intensified.

"I came home and everyone was wanting to interview her," said Rachel Anderson, the 13-year-old daughter of Porterfield's boyfriend.

Now, Porterfield — who until late was best known for photos of her as an Angelina Jolie lookalike on People.com — is looking to capitalize on the newfound fame.

"I think it's very important to strike while it's hot right now," she said.

She has thousands of fans tracking her every move on Facebook and Twitter, and is fielding offers from agents, managers and other executives, including a potential endorsement deal with dry erase board marker company Expo.

Porterfield says she would love to play another disgruntled employee on NBC's "The Office," one of her favorite shows.

Still, pop culture experts say it will take more than a viral Internet thread to make Porterfield a lasting celebrity.

"These things come and go, and a couple of them every now and again become things that we actually remember," said Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. "This was really kind of amusing to watch, but a month from now we are barely going to remember it."

Porterfield acknowledged the fleeting nature of fame, but said she is hopeful she can prove the naysayers wrong.

"I'm going for longevity in my career," she said. "I know what I want to do, so right now it's about trying to figure out the best moves."

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