FEATURED:

2014 50 Most Beautiful

Staci Cox
Staci Cox
Hometown: 
Troy, Mich.
Age: 
24
Relationship Status: 
Single
Party Affiliation: 
Democratic

She’s a former cheerleader, but Staci Cox wants to break the stereotype of the pompom-waving athletes.

Cox, communications director for Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), was a nationally competitive cheerleader at American University, studying abroad in Paris and working as the spokeswoman for the Black Student Alliance.

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“The biggest misconception is that cheerleading is not a sport and that we’re dumb,” she says. “It is, and we’re not.”

As for the final cheerleading standings: “I don’t remember the ranking, but I know my team beat Harvard,” she added with a laugh.

Cox will soon be moving on from Moore’s office to study law at New York University, but she may not be leaving the public sphere completely behind. The staffer, who credits her parents for her passion for politics, says she’s interested in a potential political career of her own one day.

Cox’s mom, Rosalind, was the diversity director for Ford Motor Co., and her dad, David, is a financial adviser back near her Michigan hometown, where she says she’d consider settling down one day.

“They taught me values and led by example,” she says. “My parents definitely sacrificed a lot so I can be where I am today.”

After American University, she was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation intern and earned an internship with Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), before working her way up to Moore’s communications director.

The former high school track hurdler says she no longer hits the running trail but has taken up golfing as her sport of choice. She keeps busy walking through Washington’s many monuments.

“My goal is to stay active and to have fun,” she says. 

Her favorite beauty tip? Ditch the makeup and embrace who you are. 

“In complete and total honesty, I rarely wear makeup,” she says. “I’m a really big fan of women feeling good about themselves as they are. I’ve known a lot of women who rely on makeup to boost their self-esteem. Makeup can be fun, but I never want to get to a point where I feel inadequate without it.”

— Kevin Cirilli