After nearly 15 years, The Hill is bidding a beautiful bye-bye to its annual 50 Most Beautiful list.
While it’s had a remarkably gorgeous run, The Hill team feels the time has come for 50 Most Beautiful to be added to that big, beautiful list in the sky.
“It’s been a great run, but all things must come to an end,” The Hill editor-in-chief Bob Cusack said. “Rest in peace.”
Since making its debut in 2004, 50 Most Beautiful has become an extraordinarily popular summertime tradition in Washington. Every year, editors pore through hundreds upon hundreds of nominations of D.C. hopefuls.
Originally, the list featured lawmakers, journalists, congressional staffers and lobbyists. But in 2013, in honor of 50 Most Beautiful’s 10th anniversary, The Hill expanded its nomination pool to also include the White House, Cabinet departments and executive agencies.
What started from humble beginnings as the brainchild of Betsy Rothstein, a former reporter for The Hill, quickly became a Washington pop culture mainstay.
The annual 50 Most Beautiful issue even made its way onto the airwaves as part of a key plot line in HBO’s “Veep,” whose production crew reached out to The Hill to ensure a prop copy appeared authentic.
In the 2016 episode, Jonah Ryan, a fictional executive branch staffer, became obsessed with not making the cut after one of his colleagues shocked the office by earning a position on the list.
“How am I not on The Hill’s 50 Hottest Staffers list this year?” Ryan laments.
“It’s the 50 Hottest Staffers, Jonah — not the 50 people most likely to kill themselves before trial,” one of Ryan’s co-workers shoots back.
In its more than a decade of existence, 50 Most Beautiful featured more than 80 lawmakers in its pages, and plenty of other big names.
Then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEx-Saudi official says he was targeted by a hit team after fleeing to Canada Republican spin on Biden is off the mark Yellen expects inflation to return to normal levels next year MORE (D-Ill.) snagged a spot in 2005, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDems look to keep tax on billionaires in spending bill Sunday shows - Democrats' spending plan in the spotlight Pelosi won't say if she'll run for reelection in 2022 MORE (D-Calif.) was featured in 2007 and House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) joined the Most Beautiful ranks in 2008. The 2015 list included Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaYouTube confirms it picked kids featured in Harris video Photos of the Week: Congressional Baseball Game, ashen trees and a beach horse The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Gears begin to shift in Congress on stalled Biden agenda MORE, while both Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMcCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral GOP leader's remarks on Fox underscore Trump's power White House orders release of Trump records to Jan. 6 committee MORE and White House senior adviser Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpTrump attacks Meghan McCain and her family McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral Grisham: Time in Trump administration 'will follow me forever' MORE were among the Beautiful bunch last year.
This being Washington, The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful wasn’t without controversy, with critics every year hurling some not-so-beautiful jabs at the latest crop. It also took its fair share of lighthearted ribbing — even among those being honored.
In 2014, Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul calls for Fauci's firing over 'lack of judgment' Vaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention MORE (R-Ky.) and Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (D-N.J.) were both featured on 50 Most Beautiful, but the Kentucky lawmaker was quick to poke fun at his Senate colleague’s ranking.
“Congrats to my friend @CoryBooker for being #44 out of 50 on The Hill’s Most Beautiful List,” tweeted Paul, who took the ninth spot. Only the top 10 were actually ranked, and Booker was simply listed 44th on the entire list.
“I hate to tell u this Rand but I think we were late pity adds 2 this list of the young & gorgeous,” Booker quipped back.
A fair share of copycats also cropped up over the years, each trying to get a piece of the gorgeously baked pie. In 2015, Independent Journal Review launched its “Cutest Dogs on Capitol Hill” contest because, it said at the time, “Every July, a crushing, deep and mortal sadness grips the nation’s capital as offices across the Metro area stare with confused emotions at The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful list.”
And in 2013, HuffPost was inspired to document “The 50 Hills Most Beautiful” (country singer Faith Hill landed in third place, while the green hills in Washington’s Steptoe Butte State Park was the big winner).
In a city where mudslinging, smear campaigns and partisan bickering are part of the game, 50 Most Beautiful sought to offer a fun and good-looking respite from the political noise coming out of Capitol Hill.
While we’ll certainly miss our sunny celebration of delightful Democrats, ravishing Republicans and elegant everything-in-betweens, The Hill wants to thank everyone who helped complete this beautiful chapter.