50 Most Beautiful People for 2011: Page 27 of 50

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Age: 28
Hometown: St. Paul, Minn.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Girlfriend (“She says I’m off limits.”)

 Adam Kohnstamm doesn’t like being held back. Even in times of present danger, like when he was 10 feet away from a pack of 400-lb. mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

“I wasn’t scared of the gorillas because I felt really calm with them, but I knew that they were in charge,” said Kohnstamm, a legislative aide to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “The silverback went from being lazy and napping to a full-on sprint [at another gorilla] 15, 20 feet in front of us. I was just awestruck. It was the most amazing thing.”


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Kohnstamm’s laid-back and open-minded demeanor immediately puts you at ease. “I’m a really mellow guy. Not much gets under my skin or ruffles me very much,” he said. “I definitely get that from my dad, for sure — being just very even-keeled and taking life as it comes at you, one step at a time.”

The Minnesota native says he makes a concerted effort to be well-rounded and “is always looking to experience life in a new or different way.” Baseball, softball, biking, cooking, camping and concerts at D.C.’s 9:30 Club are just a few of his hobbies. He also loves traveling: in addition to his adventure in Uganda, he’s been to India, China, Japan, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica and most of the 50 U.S. states.

As his low-key outlook might suggest, Kohnstamm doesn’t put much effort into his appearance; in fact, despite his perfectly coiffed dark brown hair, he says he doesn’t even have a comb or a brush.

“Honestly, part of it is I just don’t care. I don’t feel like life is a beauty contest,” he said. “Life’s too short to be caught up with how you look. It’s so much easier to just be yourself and treat people with respect.”

—Cristina Marcos

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