We spoke to Reading’s ‘Ian Beale Girl’ about going viral

‘I had to delete my Tinder’

Last month we revealed how TAEDS student, Amber-May Ellis, got Ian Beale tattooed onto her thigh after losing a drunken bet.

After the article was published things got a little bit crazy as Amber ended up going viral.

What started out as an article in The Tab ended with Amber being covered by all the national papers, talked about by Rylan on This Morning’s Showbiz Section, interviewed by Lad Bible, and culminated in her speaking on Capital Breakfast. She even won The Tab’s Power List, being voted Reading’s most influential student. 

So, behind all the drama, what really happened when Amber went viral? She caught up with us to let us know everything that’s been going down.

Just chilling with Ian

Just chilling with Ian

Speaking to The Tab she said: “I’m just a girl from Norwich who really likes Eastenders and now I’m always going to be known as ‘the girl with the Ian Beale tattoo’,  whenever I meet new people that’s what they always say, and that’s never going to go away, is it?”

Less than 24 hours after the original article was published, Amber was featured in The Mirror, The Sun, Daily Mail, Metro, and Daily Star.

Looking back she says: “How did that even happen, it’s so weird I expected a reaction from people at uni and prepared for that but I never imagined it’d get picked up by anyone else. I really didn’t”.

Amber’s nan, 72-year-old Valerie who lives in Norwich, was unaware of the stamp on her granddaughters thigh until Amber’s mum was forced to break the news to her, just in case she read about it in The Sun. Luckily Nan Valerie wasn’t too shocked and when told about the tattoo she simply replied: “well that’s something Amber would do isn’t it?”

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After Amber was featured in the national press Lad Bible got in touch with her for an interview in an article which has since got a huge 4k shares.

So it’s safe to say it’s been pretty hectic?

“Yeah it was insane, my social media was fucking booming! I’ve now got over 200 followers on facebook, I only had like 10 before, then basically I had to delete Tinder as my super likes were ridiculous. My Snapchat was on fire too. Honestly, I can’t describe to you how many messages from strangers I’ve had”.

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Just your regular weirdos


Amber has experienced a ridiculous amount of attention. “The band The Slaves took a photo of The Sun article I was in and uploaded it to Instagram, that was fucking weird. They said they’d printed it off to stick up on their wall as well”.

Model Jack Guinness (who’s famous for his illustrious facial hair and modelling for Gucci) was also a fan of the Ian Beale etching, Tweeting Amber and calling her a “legend”.

There’s even been people actually tracking her down, she reveals how “the Deirdre Barlow tattoo guy from  tattoo fixers made it his mission to find me, we had a chat and now we follow each other on Twitter”.


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Many people might think an appearance on tattoo fixers would be in the pipeline for Amber but she’s adamant Ian is here to stay. “I love Ian” she admits, before adding, “I want people to know I got my Ian tattoo for me, I had it for two months before I did the article. I didn’t get it for the attention, it just got a bit out of hand”.

Well with Ian here for the long term, how’s it been affecting her love life?  Last time Amber admitted Ian can be a bit of a turn off in the bedroom but it seems that things have changed, as she says: “I re-downloaded Tinder and Ian is basically everyone’s opening line.”

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So many questions

While Amber agrees all the attention has been pretty exciting, it was Rylan including her in his Showbiz Section on This Morning that was one of the best things to happen during her crazy week of going viral.

“Basically right, it was Wednesday and I was at uni. I thought I’d hit my peak of viralness if you will, then the next thing you know I’ve got people telling me I’m on This Morning and I’m like ‘what the actual fuck!’ and then I saw the video and Rylan’s only chuffing chatting about me”. 

 She confesses to sending Rylan a Tweet earlier that morning saying she’d get both him and Emma Willis tattooed on her if she ever got on Big Brother, but she had no idea she’d end up being talked about on This Morning. Amber also wants to clear up some confusion and emphasizes she got the tattoo sober, as a result of a drunken bet and wasn’t drunk when she was actually getting the tattoo. 

When asked about Big Brother Amber tells us: “I’m not one to gossip but I am on Judge Rinder in April and a new show about sex that’s being produced by Channel 5 as well, so watch this space”. 

With the good often comes the bad, and in this case it’s people on the internet telling Amber what they think about her tattoo.

“It’s been alright” she says,  but admits: “there’s been a few people posting claiming that I’ve ruined my life and I should get it covered up. Some people took it too seriously, like calm down Callum from liverpool who’s 19 I don’t give a shit about your opinion. I love Ian, so jog on dickhead”.

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Amber and housemate George dressed as Eastender’s Dot and Fatboy

Rounding up on her whole experience of going viral, Amber says:

“This shit doesn’t happen to me, I’m just a girl from Norwich. It’s not even  in my top 10 funniest things I’ve done, let’s be honest it’s really fucking not. I’ve got so much attention and it was just an article for a uni newspaper. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, and people who don’t know me think I’ve done this for attention but I haven’t. I loved my five minutes (of fame), I really did and it was lovely but I didn’t ask for it, it just happened. I’ll tell my kids I went viral for a few days, it’s a nice story but I’m not made for this I’m just not, I’m mischievous not scandalous”.

We decided to ask the Vice-Chancellor what he thought, but unfortunately he declined to comment. However, he passed us over to the Press Office where a university spokesperson said:

“It’s a belting story. To be honest neither the VC nor the university has got a reaction to give. It is down to Amber-May whether she wants Ian Beale, Phil Mitchell, Dirty Den or anyone else tattooed on her thigh – we don’t have a view one way or the other”.

Taking on board what the Spokesperson said, it got us thinking and we’d like you to VOTE in our poll of what tattoo Amber should get next.

She’s promised to commit to getting the highest voted tattoo, and remember she’s a woman of her word.