By The Hill Staff - 07/27/11 04:00 AM EDT
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single
Michael Collins wasn’t just surprised when he was nominated for The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People List this year. He simply didn’t believe it.
“I got the email, and I was like, ‘This isn’t real,’ ” he said with an infectious laugh. He had to be contacted several times before he realized it was true.
“I’m still kind of a little bit in awe,” said the broad-shouldered chief of staff to Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).
The two later met again during Collins’s senior year, when he asked the congressman for a letter of recommendation for a job with the Children’s Defense Fund.
Collins didn’t get the job, but he made a valuable contact.
After receiving his master’s degree in social work from Boston College, he was debating pursuing a Ph.D. in public policy at Brandeis University. It was at that crossroads that he attended a book signing the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) was hosting for Lewis.
“I was standing in the corner at the Harvard Club, and the congressman walked in,” Collins said. “And he looks around the room and he sees me, and he comes right over to me and he says, ‘Where have you been?’ and I said, ‘Do you remember me?’ and he said, ‘How could I forget you?’ ”
That meeting eventually led to a job offer as the congressman’s floor assistant. Within a year, Collins was promoted to chief of staff, a role he has held for more than a decade.
In the little spare time he has, Collins enjoys travel, cooking and physical challenges.
“I love the outdoors. I like to run, I like to train,” he said, mentioning a triathlon he is preparing for in September.
“Just enjoy life,” he added of his personal beauty philosophy. If that motto is what keeps Collins looking 20 years younger than his 45 years, it must be working.