Poet joins Boxer’s office as deputy press secretary

Even with a cold, Sarah Misailidis is on point. The polished demeanor of this 24-year-old from Silver Spring isn’t deterred by the summer tickle in her throat.

“You always have to be one step ahead of the game,” she said about her work. Currently press assistant to Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.), she is about to move to the Senate side to work as deputy press secretary to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

“It’s been intense, working for a local member,” she said. “My time is not my own time. Everything is on the go, go, go.”
Maybe that’s why she’s got the cold.

Misailidis says that most of what she does after the workday is still work-related, be it a softball game or movie screening.

To unwind, she spends time with her boyfriend, who will soon be a Capitol Police officer. On the weekends, she says, they try to take advantage of whatever time off she has.

Last year, Misailidis won a spot on The Hill’s “50 Most Beautiful” list. She says she got comments and phone calls about it for months afterward.

She’s not just beautiful. Misailidis is also a poet, and loves to listen to poetry, even though she has little time for it. She enjoys every kind of poetry, “from Tennyson to hip-hop.”

Sometimes, before the long work hours set in, she goes to Mocha Hut on U Street for spoken-word events. Some of her friends are up-and-coming spoken-word artists. Although she graduated from the University of Virginia, she is devoted to the works of civil rights activist Nikki Giovanni, now a professor of poetry at rival school Virginia Tech.

“I don’t write as much as I used to,” she said. “After school, real life kicks in.”

Her real life work with Boxer is a change of atmosphere. After working for a predominantly male office on the Hill, she says, she is thrilled to be working for a woman.

“I’m looking to advance in this field, and I need women to look up to,” she said.

Misailidis is the first in her immediate family to work in communications or politics. She is a first-generation American, with an Ethiopian mother and Greek father.

“I feel at home anywhere,” she said.

Greek cuisine is much better than Ethiopian, she says, speaking from her experience visiting both countries several times. Her family is going to Greece for a month this summer, but she won’t be joining them because of her new job with Boxer.
She describes going over to the Senate side as “like going to a new school.” She’ll miss the cafeteria ladies on the House side, who looked after her when she was especially stressed.

Dealing with the press corps, for all its pushiness, is a part of the job she likes. Even with reporters she’s never seen, she says she has a good rapport.

“Some reporters are sly, asking you for information you aren’t supposed to give,” she said. “But for the most part, they’re not.”

She imagines working for a public relations firm one day. “I’m not wed to D.C.,” she said. And she’s positive she will never, ever run for office.

“This is priceless,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade it for a couple nights out.”