Capital Living

50 Most Beautiful 2009 – Top 10 (HTML)

 1.  Rep. Martin Heinrich
Upward bound

Age: 37
Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Married

Rep. Martin Heinrich has gone from climbing mountains to climbing stairs.

The avid outdoorsman, who once ran a wilderness adventure program for children and teens, now has to rely on his trips from his fifth-floor Longworth office to the House floor for exercise and sun exposure.

“I make it to the gym, but not as much as I’d like to, so going up and down six flights of stairs helps a lot,” he says.

And the freshman lawmaker stays away from the Capitol’s underground tunnels.

“It improves my outlook enormously if I spend part of the day walking back and forth to the Capitol outdoors as opposed to underground,” says Heinrich, explaining that New Mexico typically sees 300-plus days of sun.

He still makes it up to the Sandia Mountains when he returns to his Albuquerque district for weekends. Heinrich recently took his family for a day hike, and his oldest son saw his first bear.

Heinrich also hunts deer and elk but says the outdoor activity he enjoys the most is “camping with my family.”

In Washington, Heinrich has emerged as a sheepish yet confident president of the 111th Congress’s freshman Democrats. His speech at this spring’s Lincoln bicentennial ceremony reminded him that he needs to appreciate the historic surroundings of his new workplace.

“I think it’s healthy to stop every once in a while and soak it in and realize the importance of the work that gets done here,” he says.

–Kris Kitto

 2.  Kay Gerard
The newest Australian

 Age: 25
Hometown: Madawaska, Maine
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Boyfriend

Kay Gerard’s life changed when she moved from a small Maine town on the Canadian border to Washington, D.C. Zipping along a stretch of rural road in the twilight hours of the morning, she hit a moose. The beast plunged through her windshield and missed her by inches. People who later saw the ravaged car assumed the driver had been killed, but she had survived in a miracle that can only be described as a second chance.

Gerard says it changed her outlook on life.

“You always take an extra second with people. You stop and smell the roses,” she says.

And, Gerard might add, you don’t miss the opportunity for adventure and romance, no matter how unconventional.

Gerard will be leaving her job as scheduler for Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) at the end of the summer to move to Adelaide, Australia, to be closer to her Aussie boyfriend of one year, whom she met in Maine last year when he volunteered on Collins’s reelection bid. A relationship blossomed on the campaign trail and stayed strong, despite a 13-and-a-half-hour time difference. It was made easier by e-mail and Skype.

Gerard loves working on Capitol Hill, playing soccer in a local league, and much about the nation’s capital. She has never been to Australia, but that makes it all the more alluring for a “restless” spirit, as she describes herself.

As someone drawn to unknown and beautiful places, she sees herself as a future travel writer, having already been to France, Spain and Italy. Now Asia is at her doorstep but Gerard says she first wants to learn how to surf on Australia’s famed waves. A true romantic.

— Alexander Bolton

 3.  Ryan Mann
A Mann called Woody

Age: 24
Hometown: Elkhart, Ind.
Political Party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Ryan Mann’s co-workers in Rep. Zack Space’s (D-Ohio) office think he looks so much like Woody Harrelson that they’ve taken to introducing him this way: “Have you met my friend that looks exactly like Woody Harrelson?”

With Mann’s closely cropped blond hair and easy smile, the comparison isn’t such a stretch. But the legislative correspondent hardly leads a Hollywood lifestyle.

The Indiana University alumnus arrived in Washington from his home state in December, joined a softball team made up of fellow Hoosiers and plays pickup football games with his buddies on the weekends. His pleasures are simple.

“As long as the weather’s nice,” Mann says, “I’m up for being outside.”

Mann can add his 50 Most Beautiful People status to another important distinction: Best Surfer of the Day during a 2006 trip to Portugal.

During his study-abroad stint in Spain, Mann traveled to Portugal, where he signed up for an impromptu surf outing. He had never previously ridden a wave.

“These Portuguese surfers picked us up at our hotel, and we hopped in Jeeps and went to the coast,” he recalls.

He was one of the few novice surfers that day who could get up on a surfboard, a feat that impressed the group of 30 enough for them to unofficially crown him king of the waves.

He has yet to capitalize on this feat.

“I’m from Indiana,” he says, explaining he hasn’t surfed since. “Unfortunately, we don’t have waves.”

Mann tries to fit in quick workouts at the House fitness center after leaving the office, but he’d rather play in a pickup game.

When asked whether he has any secrets in maintaining his look, he laughs and gives a Harrelson-like response.

“I wish I had an answer,” he says, “but I’m just sort of at a loss.”

–Kris Kitto

 4. Cristina Antelo
Banking on politics

Age: 32
Hometown: Dallas
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Newlywed

Watching a news story on Elian Gonzalez from a trading floor in Los Angeles, Cristina Antelo says it dawned on her that she should be in politics, not investment banking.

“I realized that I was supposed to do that in my life, not this,” she says.

So Antelo took the LSATs, ditched the well-paying Goldman Sachs job, and moved to Washington to attend law school.

That led to a stint on the Senate Democratic Steering Committee, where she worked with then-Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). After graduating, she landed a job as a lobbyist for DLA Piper.

Unlike many Cuban Americans, including some in her immediate family, Antelo has always aligned herself with the Democratic Party instead of the GOP. “My dad and I have some interesting conversations,” she says.

Last year, Antelo took a break from her regular gig. She piled a bunch of supplies in her car, took the two-day drive to Dallas, her hometown, and opened a campaign office for Clinton.

Lobbyists were frequent targets on the campaign trail, but Antelo says she has never regretted her decision to come to Washington.

“It’s a lot of fun. I like getting to know a whole new range of politics every time someone walks through the door,” the brunette says. “In any industry, you can find a few bad apples that taint the whole bunch. But it’s not the reality.”

Antelo still keeps some ties to her former L.A. life, namely her husband, a television and film director who commutes coast to coast. The two met at a dog park.

“It’s a typical L.A. story,” she says.

-Jim Snyder

 5. Rep. Maxine Waters
A high-heeled woman

Age: 70
Hometown: Los Angeles
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Married

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has more than just a home state in common with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) The Southern Californian equals her northern counterpart in the ability to endure 12-hour congressional workdays in four-inch stiletto heels. One aspect of Waters’s signature look — along with her stylish glasses — is her impressively high footwear.

Her leg strength must come from years as a runner. But because of an injury, Waters has recently switched to swimming as her exercise of choice. Most of her cardio, though, surely comes from her first love in personal activities: antique shopping.

Waters collects antique perfume bottles, scales and radios. She also has an extensive collection of ethnic dolls from all over the world, and she loves shopping for old furniture and art.

“I love old things,” she says with a laugh.

She loves them so much that she’s running out of space to keep her collections.

“That’s a problem,” Waters says, explaining that her Washington condo and Los Angeles home are at capacity. She plans to start giving components of her collections as “special gifts to special people,” including her two grandchildren.

Not surprisingly, the veteran lawmaker’s post-Congress plans include more shopping and collecting.

“I have this idea that, when I retire, I’ll travel, I’ll collect and I’ll sell,” she says. “I’ll have a little store.”

One key to Waters’s perpetually fresh look may be that she uses her time wisely. She says she has trained herself to relax and rest (and also read) on her coast-to-coast flights from her district to Washington. But there is one other trick Waters uses to always look her best.

“I bathe in moisturizer,” she says.

–Kris Kitto

 6. Joel Colony
The art of pickups

Age: 26
Hometown: Harrisville, N.H.
Political party: Democratic
Dating status: Single

While others often look for love at the shallow end of the bar, Colony says he’d rather meet people in more intimate, sophisticated settings, such as the many small art museums scattered throughout the city.

With his open, friendly nature, Colony has no problem walking up to strangers and inquiring about their opinions on a particular painting.

“You can let an awkward situation bother you … or you can roll on and ask a few questions about a particular piece of work,” he says.

His outgoing nature also helped him during eight months of travel throughout New Zealand and Southeast Asia in 2008, where he had such diverse experiences as working in a vineyard, experiencing rural life in a tiny village in Southwest China and traveling on a longboat from Thailand into Burma.

The trip was a culmination of five years of studying Mandarin in college and high school. But Colony didn’t restrict his activities to intellectual pursuits. At Bates College in Maine, Colony played rugby and ran track in the off-season. He was so good at track, he gave up rugby and in 2005 scored the fastest time in the 100-meter dash in Bates’ Division III league.

These days, Colony stays in shape by playing pickup basketball at the Eastern Market court, where some of the regulars nicknamed him “Bird Man” for his vertical jumps and dunks. He also enjoys hitting the clubs on the weekends to go hip-hop dancing.

Now a staff assistant in Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-N.H.) press shop, Colony knew he needed to get back to the states when he heard President Obama’s speech at the 2008 convention.

“It was inspiring, and I immediately knew I needed to get back to work in politics,” another longtime passion, he says.

— Susan Crabtree


 7.  Gina Gribow
The mother-daughter bond

Age: 23
Hometown: Palm Desert, Calif.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Gina Gribow’s mother, Patti, made the bright lights of Hollywood her home as a singer and performer. But the younger Gribow never took to the stage, preferring Independence Avenue over Ventura Boulevard.

“My mother is the beautiful one,” says the staff assistant and legislative correspondent for Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.). “She actually used to sing with a group called ‘The Golddiggers,’ with Dean Martin. She is gorgeous, and she is my role model in life. People say I look just like her, but with different hair colors.”

Not surprisingly, she is close with her mother.

“My mom’s really my best friend, so that was the toughest thing about coming out to Washington,” Gribow says.

Gribow spent summers on Capitol Hill as a congressional page in high school and interned for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). She majored in business at the University of Southern California and took a job in commercial real estate before deciding to eschew Los Angeles for D.C.

“A month before I started my job, I took a step back and thought about life and how short it is, and realized there was no reason to jump into such a corporate career right now,” she says. “On a whim I came out here and really lucked out with everything.”

Gribow is now focusing her attention on taking the LSAT in the fall. She recently took a short leave of absence from Speier’s office to focus on the test full-time.

— Miles Hilder

 8. Brianna Keilar
The news racer

Age: 28
Hometown: Orange County, Calif.
Political party: Nonpartisan
Relationship status: Newlywed

Wait, you don’t recognize Brianna Keilar? Well then we hope you’re enjoying your visit to our lovely planet.

Since becoming CNN’s newest congressional correspondent less than a year ago, Keilar has been everywhere, running back and forth between the House and the Senate where she scrums with the mobs of her fellow reporters each working day, all the while continuously beaming her reports — and her 50 Most Beautiful People smile – to millions of CNN viewers across the country.

Let’s face it: If you know who won last November’s presidential election, you know Keilar.

Ah, but do you know Keilar? You might not, considering that, despite her famous-for-D.C. status, she maintains a fairly low profile, enjoying married life with her new husband, David French, and their two dogs in Old Town Alexandria.

“Yeah, we’re getting all domestic,” the 28-year-old says with a laugh.

Another thing to know: this native Southern Californian is a “huge” NASCAR fan.

“Some girls have soap operas. I have NASCAR,” she says, explaining that since her husband introduced her to it, she’s been “hooked.” “There’s all this drama, there are all these characters.”

Just how far would she go for NASCAR?

“I love my job … but I would love to be a pit reporter,” she says. “That would definitely be an alternate career path.”

She’s got the reporting chops, having spent the last eight years out in the field, covering everything from national politics for CBS and MTV to local news up and down the West Coast. And we’ve clearly judged her to have the look. So we’ll leave it to one of you to deliver Keilar a once-in-a-lifetime scoop to ensure that she remains a D.C. personality for years to come.

— Jared Allen

 9. Kaitlin Helms
Miss America

Age: 22
Hometown: Waxhaw, N.C.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: “Happily single”

Rep. Mike McIntyre’s (D-N.C.) scheduler, Kaitlin Helms, has one of the most rare and useless talents imaginable: She can recite the 50 states alphabetically in under 20 seconds. This reporter timed her and recorded her. Despite claiming to be rusty, she came in at 19 seconds without a mistake.

Of course, Helms can do other things, too. She served as vice president of the student body at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington when she was just a sophomore.

Her experience there puts Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and his election saga to shame. Helms and her running mate were finally elected after one general election and two runoffs. The process was a bit of a turnoff, though she hasn’t quite sworn off elective politics just yet.

“By the end, I was half dead,” she says.

After graduating in December, she came to Washington to work for McIntyre. She genuinely seems to enjoy her job and her office, noting that McIntyre was showing off his new Tae Kwon Do move to his staff recently.

A multi-sport athlete in high school, the tall, dark-haired Helms describes herself as a health nut in pursuit of a new sport — perhaps swimming, or even her boss’s choice of martial art. She’s a regular in the House gym and plays softball for the Moonshiners in the congressional league.

– Aaron Blake

 10. Jill Butler
Second time’s a charm

Age: 29
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Jill Butler was nearly one of the The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People last year.

Her friend Brandon Garrett (another 2009 50 Most Beautiful People member) nominated her last year. But Butler, an investigative counsel on the House Homeland Security Committee, wasn’t up for it.

Her decision to accept being on this year’s list hasn’t stopped her from feeling a tad guilty.

“It’s embarrassing. I think that’s one reason I didn’t do it last year,” she says. “I’m not a real attention person. I’m also humble.”

The Oakland, Calif., native says she spends her free time hanging out in Georgetown or working out. She runs outside and goes to the gym — 40 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes on the treadmill.

As for tips on staying beautiful, she says it’s important to have the eyebrows done.

“They frame the face. And drink a lot of water, and work out — even though I’m not conceding that I’m beautiful,” she says sheepishly.

Butler has been inside the Beltway for two years, after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley and the Seattle University School of Law. Like other Washingtonians, she reads a lot — “Mostly biographies, autobiographies,” she says. She also misses home, but she says she’s enjoying her time here.

“I do enjoy politics, but mostly what I love about D.C. is the intelligence and worldliness of the people you meet,” she says.

She’s done her best to keep her 50 Most Beautiful People status a secret, telling few of her friends other than Garrett and her mom.

“My mom was like, ‘Oh, God.’ I bet she’s proud of other accomplishments,” Butler says.

— Walter Alarkon

Tags Al Franken Dianne Feinstein Jeanne Shaheen Martin Heinrich Susan Collins

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