2014 50 Most Beautiful

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.)
Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.)
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When much of Washington is sleeping, you might find Rep. Tony Cárdenas swapping some shut-eye for a sweat session.

“One of my problems is I can’t sleep sometimes until like one in the morning because of the time difference,” the California Democrat laments. “So I’ll get up in the apartment [building] and I’ll go work out.”


In fact, one of the reasons Cárdenas moved into his new D.C. digs was for the 24-hour gym that helps him fit some fitness into his busy congressional schedule. He also attempts to squeeze in a little time for a few moments of Zen, saying, “I meditate and I try to do that twice a day.”

One place Cárdenas likely won’t be spotted in any time soon: the butcher shop.

“I don’t eat pork or beef,” he says. “I cut that out when my father passed away about 20 years ago. I wanted to modify my diet because he passed away from diabetes. And, you know, it’s very hereditary.”

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t find the smell of at least one sizzling pork product pretty pleasing: “Who cannot appreciate the smell of bacon?” he asks with a smile. “It smells good, but I never want to grab a bite.”

While most meat is a no-go for Cárdenas, he does dig at least two sweet treats.

“I love chocolate and I love ice cream. That’s a double whammy there,” he says. “I constantly have to check myself and say, ‘I’ve already had dessert today.’ ”

His wife, Norma, helps keep the dad of four — who grew up with 10 siblings — in check.

“She used to model, so she’s very much into, you know, making sure you’re always looking good, when she actually looks 10 times better than me,” says Cárdenas. “She concerns herself more for me than I do myself.”

Cárdenas admits, “Honestly I’ve never worried about the way I look, per se. I just pay attention to whether or not I’m healthy — however that balances out.”

— Judy Kurtz