Yolanda Vega, whose lilting delivery of her name as an announcer of the New York state lottery numbers made her a local TV icon, is retiring.
"Yolanda Vega, our iconic Draw Team member, has retired after an incredible 32 years," the New York State Gaming Commission announced on the lottery's social media Monday. "We truly hit the jackpot by having her as a part of the New York Lottery family."
The post went on to ask for readers' "favorite Yolanda Vega memories." One tweet in response read, "Years ago when I was sick, my mom went to the grocery store and Yolanda Vega was there doing a promotional event. In the early days of cell phones, my mom called me at home and I answered to hear 'it's YOLANDA Vega and I hope you feel better!' "
Born Yolanda Antequera, one of six daughters of a Puerto Rican maintenance worker and his homemaker wife in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, Vega, 66, graduated from Hunter College with a degree in economics. In 1986 she married New York State Trooper Miguel A. Vega, with whom she has two daughters.
Living in Albany, she was a bookkeeper at a bagel company when she auditioned for and won a part-time job as an announcer on the lottery's various daily TV spots, seen locally on WABC/7. She debuted on Feb. 5, 1990, and after about six months, she recalled to the Vestal, New York, Fox affiliate WICZ/40 in 2018, "I came in and I had drank a lot of Puerto Rican espresso and I was pumped up. I said 'With the New York Lottery I'm YOLAAANDA VEGAAAA.' And they said, 'Woah, what are you doing?' And I said, 'That's who I am and I'm proud of who I am.' "
In addition to revealing the winning numbers, the announcers' tasks include presenting ceremonial oversized checks to winners. Vega told the Lower Hudson Valley newspaper The Journal News in 2007 that one of her most significant lottery memories was announcing a $112 million jackpot on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center in 2000.
Vega has no evident social media and has not commented publicly.