Letter From DC: The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful; No Policy Solutions, But Plenty of Lifestyle Tips

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Rep Kristi Noem #8

There are two maxims to affairs of the heart in D.C to explain how most men here trade up for their mates and paramours.  First, Washington D.C. is the destination for Type-A’s that could never make it in L.A. or New York City because of their looks.  And second, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.  How else could Henry Kissinger ever get down with a lady? 

In its eighth consecutive effort to rebut the conventional wisdom that there are no hotties in our nation’s capital, DC political trade The Hill published its “50 Most Beautiful People” feature.  Always released in the summer when Congress usually slows down, it’s supposed to offer a respite for the Capitol’s young chattering classes as well as serve as an honorific for members of the Congressional softball and kickball leagues. 

Yet in the current political climate with the intransigence over the debt ceiling, hyper partisanship, and overall national disgust with government, it comes across as a bit sophomoric and undignified.  It does, however, offer a bit of a glimpse on why the nation is in the state in which it finds itself. 

amycheng.jpgThe Hill’s number 1, 26 year old Amy Cheng who serves as a legislative correspondent for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) offers beauty pageant platitudes and recommendations for personal fiscal austerity.  “I know this sounds kind of cliché, but doing community service, you learn how to love others,” the former beauty pageant contestant espoused.  Her new passion?  Coupon clipping.  She’s actually lowered her monthly grocery bill to $50 a month with hopes for a further $20 reduction in expenditures.  Now that’s some serious fiscal conservatism.

kalinda stephenson.jpgLooking for beauty tips from Washington?  Kalinda Stephensen, #7 who works for Rep. Frank Wolf, offers this Cosmo tip.  Keep your hair shiny with her family recipe.  Mashed up some avocado in an olive oil base, rub the mixture into one’s follicles, and let it sit under a shower cap for an hour, presumably when you are reviewing policy. “When she washes it out, it shines like a freshly-waxed limousine,” squealed The Hill

dean thompson.jpgAt least Stephensen knows what she’s putting in her hair.  Aide to Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL) and part-time bartender Dean Thompson, explained the stress and pressure of Congressional work.  “If you get hair gel that looks like deodorant, make sure that you know what you are using when you put it in your hair in the morning,” #40 sheepishly explained.

Essentials on the Hill?  “Mascara and lip gloss go a long way,” guided #29 Manoucheka Attime, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) correspondence director.  “If I was on a desert island, I’d take concealer, mascara, and lip gloss.” 

mandi critchfield.jpgYou even got your live wire character up there on the Hill in Mandi Critchfield, Sen. Mike Crapo’s (R-ID) press secretary who proudly asserts her membership in both PETA and the NRA while in a “Star Wars t-shirt.  “Just because I want to protect our Second Amendment rights doesn’t mean I want to hurt innocent animals,” #12 explained.  It’s only the guilty ones that deserve it.  The new mantra? Shoot people, not animals.

Wardrobe tips are also offered, and make sure that it is in deference to your position and your gender. “Look for something that fits, but won’t make people do a double-take,” advised #36 Jaymi Light, a staffer for Rep. Todd Young (R-IN).  “Make sure that if you have a meeting with the boss, it’s something that he’s comfortable with.” 

And if anyone in Washington needed to know the value of height and how smelly folks can get around here, look no further than #2 on the list, Grace Johnson, a “shade under 6’1”” scheduler for Rep. Chuck Fleishchman (R-TN).  “It’s a huge benefit on the Metro, because you’re out of armpit level.  You can get oxygen up there,” she said.

This year’s list in dominated by Republicans, conceded The Hill Features Editor Kris Kitto, largely because of the influx of new faces this past January from the GOP takeover of the House and the paper’s policy that one can only appear in the rankings once.  “There a big sigh of relief from me when we have a lot of new people coming in,” Kitto told the Washington Post’s Style section.  “It widens our universe.” 

Kitto should have little trouble finding hottie talent in the future.  Not only is staff turnover pretty high on the Hill, and every two years there’s got to be some fresh meat, but Congress itself keeps flooding their ranks with the best-of-the-best as staffers.  Congress’ budget has swelled 55% over the past ten years ($1.2 billion to $2.3 billion).

Staffing in the Senate has increased by 25% over that same span with more than 6,099 people and on the House side, an increase of 11% to 9,808 people, to consider for inclusion next year.  This, from the people’s representatives that are lecturing the nation on belt-tightening and living within one’s means. 

We may not get a debt ceiling resolution, but no worries, The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People have bestowed their pearls of wisdom for survival in these uncertain times.  Hit the gym, always carry concealer, and don’t confuse deodorant with hair gel.

lee lilley.jpg“When I first started, I was just blown away that people in their 20’s are allowed to make these decisions,” gushed #35, Lee Lilley, a legislative director for G.K Butterfield (D-NC).  “We probably don’t have any business making these decisions. I thought I’d be answering the phones for, like, six years.”

Yes, he really said “like.”

(Photos courtesy The Hill)

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Marc Osgoode Smith has covered – and participated in - Washington DC policy circles for more than two decades as a journalist covering media and as an association and think tank executive. Smith now enjoys his role as a “cultural observer” of DC Politics and the people that engage in them.

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