2014 50 Most Beautiful

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.)
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.)
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These days, Rep. Donna Edwards is happy to dish about her love life.

“I’m enjoying the state of being engaged — it’s great,” the beaming Maryland Democrat declares. “You’re not forced to do a wedding yet, and you’re not describing the state of the relationship. I’m 56 years old, 'boyfriend,' really?”

The divorced mom of one got engaged Christmas Eve to attorney Nelson Jones. “Now I say, ‘He’s my fiancé,’ ” she says, making her voice sound deep and fancy. “It’s so much more sophisticated.”

Marriage isn’t the only big change happening in Edwards’s world: She’s been busy sprucing up her house before putting it on the market. The HGTV and DIY Network fanatic “loves” picking up a hammer and tackling home improvement projects.

“I’ve done plumbing; I’ve put in a couple bathrooms; I do tile; I’ve done wood. Just this last weekend, I did a pavement for a walkway that’s really fabulous,” she gushes.

Asked if anyone could hire her to fix up their abode, she responds, "Yes, definitely! If I’m not in Congress, then I definitely have skills.”

She explains, “Part of it comes from was, I was raising my son, and I was single, and I didn’t make a lot of money. And you can’t hire people to do stuff. You got to go to Home Depot and sit in front of the video machine and learn how to do tile. So that’s how I started doing it, and now it’s fun.”

When she’s not in her tool belt, Edwards loves sporting dresses. A self-professed Etsy and vintage clothing addict, what she wears, she says, is “just based on how I feel. Some days, I feel like happy and sunshine, so yellows. And then sometimes, I want to be serious and [wear] suits.”

A member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Edwards recalls wearing a vintage 1940’s accordion hat and a coordinating dress that she bought online to one of the group’s prayer breakfasts. 

“Everyone was like, ‘Where did you get that?’ And I’m like, ‘Honey, it was 50 bucks!’ ” she says.

While she loves to exercise, Edwards notes that she’s “not a good indoor workout person.” 

A veteran player in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, Edwards says, “I’m a bike rider; I play softball in the spring; I play football with the guys in the fall, and I run — but I do it outside. So if I had to do it on a treadmill or something, not happening.”

One thing that’s usually happening for Edwards, though, is her infectious grin. 

“I like smiling,” she says, “except when I’m serious and grilling people in my committee.”

She pauses for a moment before adding with a laugh, “But even then, I try to smile.”

— Judy Kurtz

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