The woman who hugs lottery winners for a living is possibly the most photographed presenter in the world


For nearly 30 years, Yolanda Vega has appeared in countless news photos hugging millionaires.

Her broad infectious smile is instantly recognizable to both lottery winners and tv audiences alike.

And it’s because since 1990 she has been the television face of the New York Lottery.


And it's also her job to present the oversize cardboard checks to lottery winners.

But there's an art to the woman many call 'The Lottery Queen,' and her people skills are what makes her excel at her job in making winners comfortable in front of the cameras.


"I find out how they feel about winning, what led up to the winning. I find out details about them and it makes them feel comfortable because they’re looking at me," the 62-year-old told FOX40 last year.


"Don't look at the audience, don't look at the camera, just talk to me," Vega explained.


According to the New York Lottery, the Red Hook, Brooklyn-born Vega excelled in math at John Jay High School in Park Slope.

She earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Hunter College in 1977, becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college.


When she first hit the airwaves in February 1990, her distinctive delivery and unique style turned her into a lottery icon.

Watch Yolanda Vega at The Depot in Jamesville introduce Colton Harrison who won a $1 million Jumbo Bucks scratch-off jackpot.

In addition to calling the winning numbers, Yolanda presents winners at press conferences and makes appearances at events from the Special Olympics to county fairs.

A younger Yolanda Vega is the guest announcer in a 1999 “I want to be Yolanda Vega” contest.

Despite her devotion, she says that family is her top priority, and she's humble about her high profile.