2014 50 Most Beautiful

Wilsar Johnson
Wilsar Johnson
Hometown: 
Camden, N.J., and West Africa
Age: 
26
Relationship Status: 
Single
Party Affiliation: 
Democratic

Wilsar Johnson used to be a Jersey girl.
 
“I have transformed completely from a Jersey girl to a D.C. native,” she says laughing. “I think I was trying to fit into the person I was supposed to be in Jersey, and then when I moved to D.C. — this is going to sound corny — I didn’t find myself: I got comfortable with myself.”
 
It’s that sense of self that propels Johnson in her daily life, from her legislative correspondent and press assistant duties for Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), to her strict exercise routine, to her relaxed sense of style.
 
She makes it a point to wake up at 6 a.m. to bike to the Capitol. After work, you can find her in the gym in the Rayburn House Office Building lifting weights and running at least a mile — and more on the weekends.
 
Keeping a healthy diet is also a priority for Johnson. In order to avoid cooking during her busy workweek, Johnson prepares all of her weekly lunches and dinners on Sundays — West African meals filled with lots of vegetables, fruits and rice. 

She eats West African food a lot, she says, because she misses home (she moved to the U.S. when she was 10), and even makes it a point to take dates to the West African restaurant Sumah in the Shaw neighborhood (for newbies, she recommends the peanut butter stew).
 
Johnson admits to being a “serial dater” and says she enjoys meeting new people and hearing their stories. While she has yet to find that special someone, Johnson says she’s perfectly OK with that.
 
“I haven’t made a connection yet, but I’m not in a hurry to settle down,” she says with a smile. “I believe that love happens naturally. It finds you.”
 
Johnson has also found her share of Washington adventures, from getting to hug President Obama, to taking a selfie with the Dalai Lama, to colliding with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) while texting and walking (Was he mad? “No,” she says, “He was very gracious.”).
 
The 26-year-old credits her maturity to her time growing up in Africa.
 
“When I was in Africa, I was in a war,” Johnson says. “I almost lost my mom. Seeing people die in front of you definitely changes your perspective. Just being here and working on Capitol Hill from where I came from, I just think is a huge deal.”
 
Johnson volunteers at Professional Black Associates and says she believes her purpose in life is to pay it forward.
 
“My purpose is to inspire young girls and to tell people they can do it,” Johnson says. "You don’t have to be what society expects you to be. Accept who you are. You are inspiring people and you don’t even know it.”