Ottesen documents the stories of people’s lives by combining words and images into powerful and accessible stories that resonate with a broad range of audiences. Through her magazine work, books, and contributions to documentary film, Ottesen brings her audiences close to her subjects creating “searing, intimate” portraits that break down barriers and stereotypes and allow for the discovery and celebration of common ground.
Ottesen has contributed to The Washington Post Magazine for nearly a decade; other credits include Esquire, Ms., and Washingtonian. Her first book, Great Americans, was featured on The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR's All Things Considered, PRI, among others; and in newspapers and magazines, including The San Francisico Chronicle, Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Reader's Digest, and Entertainment Weekly -- and she is hard at work on another book. Ottesen earned a bachelor's from Wesleyan University and a master's from Yale. She returned to Washington, DC over a decade ago, where she lives with her husband and two children.