At the time the Post wrote about Benita Abraham’s tongue-in-cheek, “romantic” Facebook job offer post last week, she’d already spoken to local TV news outlets, The Huffington Post and Good Morning America. Over the weekend, she added On Air with Ryan Seacrest and The New York Times to her list.
It’s safe to say that Abraham, with her viral post, is possibly Long Beach’s most famous recently employed person. And—according to her—she just wanted to amuse a few of her Facebook friends.
Now starting her second official week at her job, Abraham said a few of her coworkers in the healthcare administration field have posted her photo outside her office, and that more of them were becoming aware of her viral post.
The Post sat down with Abraham on Friday evening to discuss her recent fame, and what went into putting together a viral photo shoot.
Editor’s note: Interview has been edited for content and clarity.
Long Beach Post: Tell us a little bit about why you wanted to create this photo shoot, and what you had planned?
Benita Abraham: Well, I was unemployed for seven months—I was laid off in December of last year. Also, I’m single and I don’t have children, so I can be pickier…
In June, I had a phone interview that lasted for about two hours, and I was really excited about it. I really liked my boss and the coworker I talked to.
When I got the job, I really wanted to celebrate it in a way that was true to me and my sense of humor. So last Friday [one week before the Post spoke with Abraham]—it was just one week ago!—I had some pictures in mind.
So what actually went into the photo shoot?
In reality, it only took one hour. With hair and makeup, it probably added 30 minutes. People think it was professional, but I just used my iPhone and a few supplies from The Dollar Tree.
And that was Long Beach in the background of those beach pics?
Yes it was! I love this city. I’ve been in Long Beach for four years—I live in Belmont Shore—and I don’t ever want to leave. It has such a community feel, and you can walk everywhere.
And did you expect the response you got for your post, worldwide?
I will say that we definitely expected a response from my friends. We took a few more pictures on Sunday, and all day Sunday, I was like “Oh my God people are going to die.”
I had posted a teaser post… and my hashtags may have led people to believe that I had found a significant other. We posed it like they were actually going to see who it was for the first time…I was really excited to see their reaction.
I have around 1,000 Facebook friends, and we estimated about 30 percent would like it…my friends were saying “you’re gonna get like 300 likes.”
What was it like, getting the response you got?
Well Monday was my first day. I got to the office really early, and I had turned off the notifications for the posts. I checked and thought “Oh, wow. There are 150 shares.” Then there were 1,500 by the time I was out of work. By Monday afternoon, there were all these messages from reporters and random people…
I got so many great messages from so many wonderful woman. One lady offered to bake me a cake! She offered to bake me a one-year-anniversary smash cake
I heard from women in Slovenia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia…foreign journalists have contacted me too.
I’ve gotten friendship proposals and other proposals… it’s run the gamut. It’s been very interesting.
Did you mean to make a statement on the choice of career as being just as relevant as getting married and having children?
It wasn’t like I was trying to make a statement on marriage, babies or careers. It was unintentional, but I absolutely have embraced it. I’ve always been independent, not of the mold, if you will. The response has been great. I’ve just really been loving the responses I’ve been getting.
The bottom line is you should feel great about everything you want to do. My motto is, “you do you, boo.” At the end of the day, that should be what really matters.