You've probably seen her before. Shimmying in your Christmas stocking, getting down in the grocery store checkout line, or leaping in a bus stop billboard -- she's the most ubiquitous iTunes dancing silhouette. Contrary to what you might think, she's not a drawing or a computer generated image. The anonymous figure is actually Stephanie Ortiz, a 25-year old first generation Dominican American actress and model who decided on a whim to try out for the now-iconic Apple ad campaign.
A native of Washington Heights in New York City, Ortiz, says she's always enjoyed dancing, but has never had any formal training. The ambitious actress has done some producing, and even hosted TV and radio shows. But she says her iTunes photoshoot is the funniest thing she's done in her career, because no one can tell its her.
"I think it's funny anytime I'm checking out at a store and I see myself on the iTunes cards," Ortiz said. "No one around me would ever know it's me. I still get a trip every time I see it."
She can't even include it in her modeling portfolio, she says, because it doesn't show her face. Once in an Apple store, Ortiz tried to point out her image to a skeptical Apple employee.
"When I told him 'That's me,' he was just like 'Yeah, right. Show me that pose, then.'"
She and the other dancers were wearing wigs during the shoot, which makes it even more difficult to prove that it's her. But for Ortiz and her close friends and family, spotting the image of her dancing has become a game. "Once the ad came out we all celebrated, and my friends would take pictures every time they ran into the image" Ortiz said. Her mother even keeps the iTunes cards in her wallet to show friends.
Ortiz says she was surprised to land the position in the first place, because when she showed up for the audition, she found herself surrounded by professional dancers who were "stretching and pop-locking." She worried that she was way out of her league.
"I've never had any actual training," she said. "But I've never been the type to just walk away from an opportunity."
With stiff competition, Ortiz knew she'd have to let loose. "I pulled out every move I've done in front of a mirror and out dancing with friends," she said. "It must have looked crazy."
Apparently, it worked.
At the photoshoot, as the only non-professional dancer who got the job, she had to really "step up her game." She did, and then she tripped. "I was thinking, now I know why they hired professional dancers," she said.
Despite falling, she nailed it. Ortiz's blue-and-pink iTunes image is still one of the most common dancer photos used by Apple, five years later, she said. Apple declined to comment for this story.
"It's an amazing opportunity that they gave me," Ortiz said. "And it's nice to know that it's me -- even if no one else can tell."