2014 50 Most Beautiful

Jason Spear
Jason Spear
Hometown: 
Piedmont, Ala.
Age: 
27
Relationship Status: 
In a relationship
Party Affiliation: 
Democratic

“Don’t be good ... be great.”

That line, from rapper Jay-Z’s “F.U.T.W.,” was Jason Spear’s mantra when he met with The Hill one hot July day.

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“I have a red chalkboard in my kitchen where I try to change my mantra every week,” Spear said.

The legislative associate looks at it every morning, between his T25 exercise routine and reading the newspaper — in print form — so that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) can’t surprise him with a question when he gets to work at the Rayburn House Office Building.

While the mantra changed the next week, the Jay-Z lyrics seem to fit Spear’s life pretty well.

He knows, for example, that he could “be good” by following the unwritten Capitol Hill uniform and wearing a traditional suit to work. Instead he’s “great,” pushing the boundaries with eclectic ties, pocket squares and lapel accents.

After asking for Spear’s opinion on a matter, one might think he’s a salesman or a lawyer, someone who trained professionally for years in the art of comforting the uninitiated and convincing that person that his position is the only one worth considering. He’s kind and personable, but very confident in how he carries himself.

Spears had brief brushes with both sales and the legal professions, but didn’t stay with either for long.

“My most memorable experience was interning at a public defender’s office, so I had to do jail interviews,” Spear said. The smell of a jail was enough to convince him not only to stay away from crime but to stay away from law altogether.

Instead, Spear uses his skills of persuasion to navigate politics, from being elected freshman class president at Tuskegee University to working on local and state campaigns and eventually getting an internship at the White House.

When Holmes Norton interviewed him for a job in 2012, she was sold on him quickly.

“Less than 24 hours later, she gave me an offer,” he said. “By that time, I had three offers on the table.”

—Timothy Cama