Capital Living

50 Most Beautiful 2009 – Top 40 (HTML)

 Arjun Jaikumar

Age: 26
Hometown: Boston
Political Party: Democratic
Relationship status: In a relationship

Arjun Jaikumar has been on Capitol Hill for less than two months and the shaggy-haired blogger and new-media guru for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is already getting noticed.

Jaikumar had been in town a mere five weeks before he received the call that he’d been nominated for The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People Readers’ Choice contest.

“I feel like one of my friends is probably having a laugh,” he says. “I think it’s hilarious. I’m stunned — I didn’t even know this existed until fairly recently. I’m very flattered and rather amused.”

Before he landed his new gig with the DSCC, Jaikumar was a staffer for the Daily Kos blog and website in New York.

He is still settling in to Washington, but he is enjoying his new city, particularly the theater scene.

“I used to be into theater,” the Northwestern University alumnus says. “When I was younger, I wanted to be an actor. It’s still something I enjoy doing … I’m sort of an amateur playwright.”

Jaikumar says that, as a Shakespeare fan, he has been pleasantly surprised with the vibrancy of D.C.’s Shakespeare theater.

“I’ve always been into Shakespeare, and to this day, it’s still something I like to do, and that’s one thing I like about D.C. — their Shakespeare theater is fantastic,” he says.

When asked how he maintains his look, this humble thespian quips, “I try to shave for work, and I try to get a haircut when people start looking at me funny … I probably need one around now. I didn’t know I had a look. I guess total lack of exercise. I walk a lot, I skip meals to keep my svelte figure, I drink a lot of coffee and probably not enough water. I do everything wrong.”

–Katelyn Ferral

 Vennia Francois

Age: “Off-limits”
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Single

If it weren’t for music, Vennia Francois might not be in Washington.

A self-described opera enthusiast, Francois grew up around music with her eight siblings and parents in Orlando, Fla. It was her love of music that led to an encounter with Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) at a musical gala in the summer of 2005. The congressman offered her an internship in his Washington office, and she accepted. Like so many before her, Francois fell in love with the city.

Since then she has earned a law degree from Florida A&M University and become a legislative assistant to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.). Ever the hard worker, Francois says the highlight of her job is “knowing at the end of the day that I’ve been instrumental in helping a constituent solve an issue.”

She is tall and slim, but quickly dismisses her figure to chance.

“I don’t do anything [to keep my figure],” she says. “Gosh, I’ve been this way since high school. I eat a lot; I love junk food. I eat a lot of chocolate, a lot of cookies, and I love Italian, so I eat a lot of pasta.”

But there is one caveat: She exercises often, professing a love for tennis and generally for being outdoors — a preference undoubtedly born of the sunny, warm climate of her hometown.

Upon meeting her, a bevy of adjectives comes to mind — elegant, striking, graceful — but the best word to describe Francois is poised. She measures her words carefully and displays an aura of confidence and maturity with her slight Southern accent. She credits this to her upbringing.

“I come from a strong-valued and principled Christian background with hardworking parents who encouraged their children to succeed under any circumstances and to strive for the best to attain their life achievements,” she says.

–Miles Hilder

 Debbee Keller
Team spirit

Age: 24
Hometown: Georgetown, Texas
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Single

Debbee Keller could be right out of the movie “Varsity Blues.” She has brown hair that falls just below her shoulders and brown eyes to match; she dresses stylishly but would rather have a meal with her family than go shopping; and she won her hometown beauty contest at the age of 17.

As it happens, her hometown of Georgetown, Texas, was where “Varsity Blues” was filmed.

“We’re just a small town, where high school football is life,” says Keller, the press secretary for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). “On a Friday night, if you drive a block away [from the high school] it would be dead, but the stadium was packed with everyone in town.”

Keller recently became a Washington Nationals baseball fan and liked to point out that, as of her interview with The Hill, the team hadn’t lost a game since she started cheering for them.

“I attribute a lot of their losses to the fact that when you go to a home game everyone’s rooting for the visiting team, so I’m going to turn that around,” Keller says. “I never cared about baseball before, but I have compassion for the Nats.”

Keller also volunteers through her church. Once a month she helps elderly people in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood with work on their houses and yards.

One recent weekend she was in charge of stripping paint from the side of a house using a power-washer.

“I recently discovered that I’m very good with a power-washer,” Keller says. “I ended up getting soaking wet. But it was worth it, just to know you’re helping someone.”

— Jordy Yager

 Rep. Dave Reichart
Survival patrol

Age: 58
Hometown: Auburn, Wash.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Married

Forget beautiful — Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) is lucky to be alive.

Many people recognize Reichert for his role in capturing the serial Green River Killer in 2001. But few know that during his 32 years on the King County police force he was hit head-on in his police cruiser, caught a butcher knife mid-air before a crook could stab him in the throat, and talked a man pointing a gun at his stomach out of shooting him.

And these are just a few of Reichert’s cop stories.
The self-described “workout fanatic” has also suffered several injuries as a result of his big physical ambitions. He has had two knee surgeries after stepping into “a doggone chuckhole” during the ACLI Capital Challenge run a couple of years ago, an injury that former President George W. Bush diagnosed while the two flew to Reichert’s district for a fundraiser.

“He reaches over, puts his thumb in there and goes, ‘Right about there?’ ” the silver-haired congressman recalls. “I said, ‘Yes, sir.’… He said, ‘You’ve got a torn meniscus. Go in and get that taken care of.’ ”

In a practice he calls “mind over mattress,” Reichert wakes up between 4:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. to lift weights or ride an elliptical machine. He says his football playing in his younger days got him accustomed to regular exercise.

“But most of all, I work out so I can drink Coke and eat chocolate,” he confesses before opening a desk drawer to reveal a stash of Kit Kats and Mounds.

Reichert lights up most when talking about his six grandchildren. He makes his best effort to go to their musicals, sports games and other activities.

“That’s really what I like to do,” he says.

— Kris Kitto

 Denis Fleming Jr.
The proud Kentucky father

Age: 51
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
Political party: Democratic
Dating status: Single

Kentucky politics has been good to Denis Fleming Jr. At the age of 36, he was appointed general counsel to Gov. Paul Patton, and worked closely with then-Kentucky Attorney General Ben Chandler. He went on to serve as a deputy secretary in Patton’s executive cabinet and eventually as chief deputy attorney general of the state.

When Chandler won his congressional seat in 2004, Fleming couldn’t resist the call to join him in Washington as his chief of staff.

Fleming decompresses by kayaking on the Potomac and C&O Canal and running, which he does three to four times a week. He enjoys Chinese culture and food and is learning how to speak Mandarin. As a creative outlet, he periodically writes book reviews for the Louisville Courier Journal, including one on a new biography of Frances Perkins, the labor secretary under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the first woman to hold a cabinet post.

“I’m a real avid reader of history and political biographies — that goes back all my life,” he says.

In fact, one of his favorite political memories is when he and his daughter came to Washington to meet President Clinton in the Oval Office through an appointment Patton arranged. Fleming took him an autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt titled My Last Chance to be a Boy: Theodore Roosevelt’s South American Expedition from 1913-1914.

He’s particularly proud of his 20-year-old daughter, a straight-A student and an All-American volleyball player and team captain at Marshall University.

Fleming credits his good looks to Dial soap, genes and “lots of CVS moisturizer!”

— Susan Crabtree


 Adrienne Watson
The overachiever

Age: 21
Hometown: Carmel, Ind.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Adrienne Watson already has the look of a true Washingtonian down, though she has been living in the District just since May.

“I’m a rookie,” Watson says. “I want to prove myself before I get into anything else.”

That professional gravitas has left her unavailable for dates since she has little time free during a hectic work schedule. The slim brunette with deep brown eyes admits she is competitive.

“I like to achieve,” she says.

That seems to fit her résumé. A two-time all-state tennis player in high school, Watson also graduated a year early from college and already serves on the alumni board for her high school alma mater. She found time to relax, though, saving up her money to buy a tiny sailboat at age 17 to cruise on the Geist Reservoir in her native Indiana. “I love to be on the water,” she says.

An intern for Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) last summer and a volunteer for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, the Indiana University graduate caught the political bug and had to return to the nation’s capital as soon as possible. She is now an assistant to the Democratic lobbyists at the Bockorny Group, a top K Street firm.

“I like politics as a passion. It’s exciting. It’s dramatic,” Watson says. “You can effect change you can see.”

Watson has a self-deprecating sense of humor, saying she is flabbergasted but flattered that she earned a place among The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People this year. Her only beauty secret might explain her inclusion: Not much of a gym regular, smiling keeps her in shape, she joked with an infectious laugh.

— Kevin Bogardus

 Shawn Chang

Age: 29
Hometown: Potomac, Md.
Political party: Democratic
Status: Has his eye on someone

Shawn Chang arrived in the Washington area from Taiwan at age 14, speaking little English and unprepared for a total-immersion course in America 101.

Formal English as a Second Language classes gifted Chang with perfect English and a nearly imperceptible accent, but the cultural lessons left an even greater impression.

“Language is easy,” he says, “but culture … that’s difficult. I guess I’ve been studying culture since I came here.”

While an undergrad at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, he encountered cultural studies that included a color-coded chart his best friends made for him because “Asian guys turn red when they drink,” Chang explains.

“So they made me a pie chart to gauge how red I was,” he says. “It was hilarious.”

After college, Chang’s cultural education evolved into a professional interest in media and telecommunications policy.

“Media is the delivery system of a society’s culture,” he says.

Chang got a job in Rep. Patsy Mink’s (D-Hawaii) office, but two months after he started, Mink died unexpectedly of pneumonia. On the flight to Hawaii for the funeral, he sat next to a friend of Mink’s, Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.). Nine hours later, he agreed to join Watson’s staff.

Since then, Chang has worked for Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and, most recently, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he oversees the telecom subcommittee.

Chang is outgoing and relaxed and seeks those qualities in a significant other, along with a good sense of humor.

“Humor’s crucial,” he says, “because the world is pretty funny, and you either get it or you don’t.”

–Christina Wilkie

 Rep. Betsy Markey
Woman of the West

Age: 53
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colo.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Married

Rep. Betsy Markey’s pedometer has become so well integrated into her wardrobe that she nearly forgot to take it off for her 50 Most Beautiful People photo.

She’s grown dependent on the step counter because walking is one of the few physical activities she can fit into her congressional schedule.

“I like to play tennis, but I haven’t played tennis in about a year and a half — not since I started the campaign,” the freshman lawmaker says. “Until we got these pedometers, I was thinking I don’t get any exercise while I’m here because I never go to the gym. You don’t have time to exercise.”

Markey doesn’t have a car in Washington, so she walks to work from her house on East Capitol Street, and then, naturally, races around the Capitol during a typical day in Congress.

“The first day I had [the pedometer] on, I walked over four miles by the end of the day,” she says. “And I said, ‘Well, I am getting some exercise after all.’ ”

Her weekends at home sound like what many people imagine the standard activities in Colorado to be: strolls along a mountain river and play sessions with the dog.

Markey says her favorite family activity is to spend time at the Poudre River, and her family is in the middle of training their new 4-month-old yellow Labrador, Bella.

The congresswoman has lived in Colorado for 13 years but still admires the view of the Rocky Mountains.

“When I get off the plane [from Washington], and I start driving home … you just drive directly west,” she says. “You see those beautiful mountains and blue skies. [That’s] really my favorite time of the week.”

— Kris Kitto

 Jess Peterson
The cattle roper

Age: 28
Hometown: Powell, Wyo.
Political party: independent (or, as he says, “Not important.”)
Relationship status: Single

Jess Peterson is as comfortable lassoing cattle (and if he doesn’t have any, urban garbage cans will do) as he is talking about what a hopeless romantic he is. The affable Peterson is a cowboy trapped, at least temporarily, in D.C.’s concrete jungle. And when we say cowboy, we mean a real, good old-fashioned man of the West.

The lobbyist for cattle ranchers was born in Wyoming but grew up on his parents’ cattle ranch in a small town near Red Lodge, Mont. He runs his own Washington lobbying firm, Western Skies Strategies.

Peterson is inseparable from his cowboy hats (he does have a full head of hair, in case you are wondering, and a wide, dimply smile that peeks out from under the brim). He also wears custom brown and blue leather boots made by the vaunted Western clothier Lucchese.

To the dismay of Foggy Bottom denizens, Peterson recently hosted a roping party at which participants lassoed each other and garbage cans along I Street, down from his townhouse. Partygoers loved it so much that another roping party is in high demand.

When he is not engrossed in cowboy activities, Peterson plays basketball, rides his bike, swims and lifts weights. He often gets carried away by his favorite Western movie, “Lonesome Dove.” He catches it on TV every time it plays, even though he already owns the DVD. His honey-brown eyes light up when he mentions the movie.

Peterson’s ideal date would be dinner, followed by a movie at his favorite theater in Cody, Wyo., in his Dodge diesel truck. It would end in a ride to a scenic overview, listening to Chris LeDoux on the radio and “looking over God’s creation,” as he likes to put it.

The ideal lady for the 6-foot-1 cowboy has to appreciate the way of the West but should also be comfortable in Washington. She can “live in both worlds,” he says.

— Roxana Tiron

 Melissa Adamson
The globetrotter

Age: 33
Hometown: Salt Lake City
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Boyfriend

Melissa Adamson has none of the drudgery that her title as professional staff member for interparliamentary affairs might suggest.

A self-described “T-shirt and heels” gal, the perky ginger-red head is in charge of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s high-level meetings and travels around the world with members of Congress discussing issues such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and countries concerned about the war in Afghanistan.

Adamson speaks Russian and Ukrainian and can rattle off the numerous congressional delegations she has been on since coming to Capitol Hill in 2005.

She got hooked on international issues when she was 14 and traveled to Moscow with a theater group from her native Salt Lake City to perform Thornton Wilder’s “Childhood.”

“I just felt a connection,” she says of international issues.

After that, it was off to the international language house at Brigham Young University, two fellowships abroad and a stint working in New York City for Morgan Stanley. On the Hill, she has worked with two committee chairmen: the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

On a recent congressional trip to Stockholm, she even found time to switch gears between a series of meetings. She kicked off her heels and ran the first half of a marathon before hitting another meeting.

“All the members tease me. They say, ‘Have you brought your walking shoes?’ ” she laughs. “I say, ‘Yeah, my three-inch heels.’ It’s a longstanding joke.”

When not running or dealing in high-stakes foreign affairs, she plays classical piano, plans committee office parties and even bakes. Chocolate chip cookies to be exact. The  key ingredients: a lot of vanilla, a lot of butter, and blended oats.

“I will brag: They are awesome,” she says.

— Silla Brush


 Bronwyn Lance Chester
The defender

Age: 40
Hometown: Leicester, N.C.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Married

In a soft voice and with an addictive laugh, Bronwyn Lance Chester says she is still just a “mountain gal” from small-town North Carolina.

Her hometown of Leicester, outside of Asheville, was a farming community of a few thousand people in the Blue Ridge Mountains. When she was growing up, Lance Chester jokes that her family was “from a long line of bootleggers and moonshiners.”

“They were interested in the law from a different perspective,” she says, sitting in the park outside the Russell Senate Office Building.

Law and policy, for Lance Chester, has meant mostly military affairs. She left the North Carolina mountains for Wellesley College in Massachusetts and eventually made it to Capitol Hill after working in journalism. She wrote editorials for The Virginian-Pilot and penned a column distributed nationally by Knight-Ridder and then McClatchy. The column touched on many defense issues.

The statuesque brunette with flowing hair has something of a Southern lullaby voice. Lance Chester is now known as a guru of media strategy on military issues, first for former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) and now for Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

When not discussing the merits of fighter jets and aircraft carriers, she likes to head overseas for exotic travels.

“I like to go where people say the conventional wisdom is that I shouldn’t go,” she says.

Among her travels for work and pleasure, she counts Burma, Somalia, Ethiopia and southern Sudan. Most recently, she went hiking for two weeks in Mozambique and Lesotho.

— Silla Brush

 Josh Voorhees
He went to Jared

Age: 27
Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.
Political party: Nonpartisan
Dating status: In a relationship

Josh Voorhees has toured quite a diverse circuit of D.C. recreational leagues. Since his arrival on the Hill in February of last year, he has had brief stints on bowling, bocce, softball and flip-cup teams.

“I was so excited to get to D.C. that I was signing up for everything,” he says. “If anybody was doing anything, it was like, ‘I’ll do it.’ ”

The outgoing, fair-haired reporter who covers transportation and the auto industry for Environment and Energy Daily has a liberal arts background and was a teacher in London before deciding to become a reporter.

“I didn’t like kids as much as I thought I did,” Voorhees admits. “I had middle-schoolers; it was the most awkward thing I’ve been around.”

When asked how his family and friends will react to his 50 Most Beautiful People status, Voorhees says the responses will vary.

“The joking will not stop with my friends for a long time to come,” Voorhees says. “My brother and my dad will mock me mercilessly, and my mother will undoubtedly e-mail it to everyone she has ever met.”

He, however, sees it as a way to possibly get a leg up on his beat.

“I’m still relatively new on the Hill, so the more people who know my name, especially staffers,” the better, he says.

In terms of a rigorous exercise and diet regimen, Voorhees says he doesn’t have one.

“Physique’s a pretty nice word for what I have going on,” he says. “I eat a lot of Subway. I’m kind of on the Jared diet.”

The bright-eyed journalist is humble about his look and says he takes advantage of the sartorial leeway afforded Hill reporters.

“I rotate between two ties, and no one seems to give me any flack,” he says.

— Katelyn Ferral

 Rekha Chandrasekaran
Summer lovin’

Age: 29
Hometown: Monterey, Calif.
Party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Rekha Chandrasekaran never intended to work on Capitol Hill, but a career in sociological research wasn’t for her. So she traded it in, on a wing and a prayer, for an unpaid internship with Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.).

“It was trial by fire,” Chandrasekaran jokes of her decision to come to Washington without an income.

Now, nearly six years later, Capitol Hill is home, and a new position as a legislative assistant for Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas) is what she calls a dream job.

But Capitol Hill alone does not define this self-described spontaneous, laid-back and “a little clumsy” California native with intense eyes and wavy dark hair.

Instead, find her on road trips to Richmond, Virginia Beach or Norfolk, Va.; grilling outside with friends; or visiting Washington’s historical landmarks — in short, taking in as much outdoor summer activity as possible.

“I love summer in D.C.,” she says.

What’s more, with a year left before turning 30, she’s focusing on checking off some activities she’s always meant to get to.

Those ambitious goals include skydiving (for which she is steeling her nerves), riding a motorcycle, going for a spin in a racecar and — with the help of a few pilot friends — learning to fly a plane.

“If you at least start working on this, you start trying new things and exposing yourself to new people and adventures, and I think that’s good,” she says. “It makes life interesting.”

–Reid Wilson

 Ty Cobb
The other Ty Cobb

Age: 28
Hometown: Mont Belvieu, Texas
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: In a relationship

Everybody remembers Ty Cobb’s name, even after a brief encounter. He may not always remember people’s names, he admits sheepishly. No matter what, he always has to answer the obvious question: “Are you named after the famous baseball player?” You’d expect the answer to be yes, but really it’s just one of those strange coincidences.

His mother really liked the name Ty because it was short, and she just happened to marry a “Cobb,” says the aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). After all, the Hall-of-Famer’s full name was Tyrus, and the tall, dark-haired staffer with big, dark, almond-shaped eyes is simply Ty.

The other big difference is that Cobb does not play baseball. He is a serious runner who is preparing for a triathlon in Dewey Beach, Del., this fall and will also participate in a 190-mile relay shortly thereafter.

Cobb’s other passion is cooking, particularly spicy foods such as Indian, Thai and Mexican. He points out he is from Texas, after all, and likes his hot cuisines. To Cobb, perusing grocery store aisles and the Dupont Circle farmers market is therapeutic. So is eating, as well as finding new restaurants in town. In fact, his ideal date would be going for dinner to a restaurant he has never tried before.

Cobb, who works on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, always finds time to work with the Whitman Walker Clinic and is on the board of the Gay, Lesbian and Allied Senate Staff (GLASS) Caucus.

–Roxana Tiron


 Rep. Jackie Speier
Grace under fire

Age: 59
Hometown: San Francisco
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Married

Serenity to Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is a Friday yoga class in her district with her friends.

When Congress adjourns on Thursdays, Speier says she is “religious” about getting to the class she has been attending for the last year and a half. Her yoga master is a 74-year-old woman at whom the congresswoman marvels for still being able to do the splits.

Speier started practicing the discipline after she left the California state Senate in 2006.

“I thought, ‘It’s time to start taking care of my body,’ ” she says.

In truth, Speier has had to be attuned to her physical being for much of her adult life. She was a young counsel to Rep. Leo Ryan (D-Calif.) when a 1978 fact-finding trip to Jonestown, a cult enclave in South America, turned violent, killing her boss and leaving her for dead with five gunshot wounds. Her recovery entailed 10 operations and skin grafts that for a long time caused her to keep her body covered.

Today, Speier is far removed from the Jonestown incident. She talks about how her 15-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son keep her young, taking her on bike trips around Washington to see the monuments and forcing her to figure out how to communicate via text message.

But Speier still considers her near-death experience a lesson in, among other things, accepting our looks as they are.

“I think that we all feel that we have flaws,” she says. “I’ve got really big flaws that were not of my own making. But I’ve found in life that it’s so important to embrace them, make them a part of who you are, and move on.”

— Kris Kitto


 Maria Gill
History’s witness

Age: 50
Hometown: Washington
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

With a seat just off the House floor, Maria Gill has seen and heard the pitfalls and successes of Congress.

“I sit outside that door each day and listen to Democrats and Republicans agree and disagree on issues, and that can make my day short, long, whatever,” says Gill, a member of House Chamber Security who staffs one of the Republican entrances to the floor.

Perched in her chair on the opposite side of the door, she listens to the shaping of history: the fist black president giving his first address to Congress and the first woman Speaker of the House leading the floor agenda.

A Washington native, Gill, who has a twin brother, came to Capitol Hill almost 20 years ago when she catered intimate meetings for ambassadors and prime ministers visiting the Capitol. Her knowledge of lawmakers and Congress later led her to a position in House Chamber Security.

Standing 5-foot-11, the slender Gill says rest and water are the keys to her look. A makeup minimalist, she prefers to focus on inner beauty.

“I think when we say, ‘beautiful people,’ it has to do with how you treat people each and every day,” she says.

While an avid runner, she steers clear of the gym, opting for her treadmill and the fresh air. She credits growing up in a family of eight kids for her active lifestyle and admits she sometimes needs an escape from politics.

“Whenever we have a break, I am away,” says Gill, who runs an interior decorating service on the side that she spreads through word-of-mouth. “When I leave here, I leave it here.”

— Nanette Light


 Sally Stone
An ethereal athlete

Age: 22
Hometown: San Diego
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Boyfriend

Sally Stone, a staff assistant to Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), calls to mind a windswept Greek or Roman goddess. She insists she’s never heard that comparison before — except maybe in Italy, where she says the guys “swarm” and “will say anything.” She did, however, study Latin in high school and likes to wear a laurel-leaf necklace that she admits “looks Grecian.”

Away from Olympus, Stone is a striking athlete, standing over 5-foot-9, with streaked blond hair and greenish-blue eyes. She played water polo at the University of Michigan, serving for a while as backup to Betsy Armstrong, the goalie of the U.S. women’s Olympic team.

Now in D.C., she likes to play volleyball on the sand courts near the Potomac River, but — perhaps to the disappointment of some teammates and competitors — wears shorts and a T-shirt instead of a bikini.

“I feel a bikini would be distracting,” she says.

Uh … yeah.

“Bikinis aren’t very secure, and things can move around,” she adds.

Oh, right … that too.

Her goal on Capitol Hill is to become a legislative assistant. She is interested in energy and homeland security. But Stone doesn’t see herself working in Congress for long.

“I kind of travel around a lot and don’t see myself staying in a place for long,” she says. In college, she spent summers in Florence, Italy, and Dublin, Ireland, where she heard one local accuse American girls of visiting to steal the Irish men away.

But Stone is too modest and nice to do that. Plus, she has a boyfriend of almost three years.

She says her ideal man is “nice, down-to-earth, doesn’t take himself too seriously and likes to have a good time.”

–Alexander Bolton

 Brandon Garrett
The ‘Lazy Type A’

Age: 31
Hometown: New Orleans
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Brandon Garrett is an old-fashioned Southern boy who appreciates proper behavior.

“At the end of the day, I’m very Southern,” the New Orleans native says. “I’m really big on manners.”

Garrett, the legislative director for Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), has worked on Capitol Hill for about three years. When he’s not running the halls of Congress, he’s out with the Capitol Hill Running Club. The jogging enthusiast completed the Marine Corps Marathon in 2007.

“It was a lot of work,” he says. “I was so dead after that race, I didn’t know what to do with myself.”

He enjoys his work on financial issues, which fits his Type A personality.

“I’m a lazy Type A, I call it,” the broad-shouldered Garrett explains. “Because a lot of Type A people are a neat freak, but I’m not a neat freak.”

But he notes his friends call him “Karl Rove” because “they say I’m always the guy in the background getting everything done.”

Garrett doesn’t conform to the typical Washington “look.” He sports a beard and isn’t afraid to take some chances fashion-wise.

“I’m cool with it,” he says of wearing bright colors, noting a preference for pink, green or baby-blue shirts.

And he always has his passport handy, taking one big trip a year. Three years ago it was Brazil, followed by Amsterdam and London in 2007 and South Africa in 2008. Later this year he’ll be hitting Barcelona and Morocco. But there is one dream location still on his list.

“The place I really want to go more than any other else is Greece,” he says.

— Emily Goodin

 Courtney Carrow
A constituent’s best friend

Age: 24
Hometown: “Navy brat”
Political party: Republican
Dating status: “In a great relationship”

A Navy brat (“Minus the brat,” she insists), Courtney Carrow never had a chance to settle down. She spent her childhood following her parents around the world, including a stay in Iceland during high school, and a period in Tallahassee, Fla., where she became a dyed-in-the-wool Florida State Seminoles fan.

But now, Washington, once the frightening big city, is starting to feel like home.

“I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” says Carrow, whose blond locks spill over a ready smile. “Who wouldn’t love just walking in their back yard and seeing the Capitol?”

A firm believer in quiet time and introspection, Carrow spends her days in a decidedly hectic environment as a legislative correspondent to Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.). Carrow says her favorite part of the job is talking with constituents in the Tidewater-based district.

“I love just giving a constituent a call and just being on the phone for an hour with them,” she says. She especially likes education issues and those that help military families, a significant constituency in her boss’s district.

As for Wittman, Carrow admires his dedication to his constituents and his Christian faith, something she shares.

For someone who hasn’t spent a long time in one place, Carrow says her family has only become more important to her.

“I wouldn’t be anything without my family. My parents are my role models, they’re my rock, they’re who I turn to for everything,” she says.

The key to keeping up her looks, she says, has less to do with a regimen than with an attitude.

“What’s inside somebody is what people will see on the outside,” Carrow says. “I always try to stay positive, very optimistic, and I truly love life. I think that’s probably what comes out.”

— Reid Wilson

 Albin Soares
The entrepreneur

Age: 26
Hometown: Redondo Beach, Calif.
Political party: Republican
Dating status: In a relationship

Every New Year’s Day, Albin Soares writes down his goals for the coming year. At 10 years old, it was to save $1,000 by the time he turned 11, which the California native accomplished by starting a neighborhood window-washing business. Then it was $10,000 before his 18th birthday, and after that, $100,000 by 22. He accomplished them all, and became a successful young sales executive with a résumé that included stints at MTV and Mercedes-Benz.

Then, in December of 2005, Soares made a new list.

“It might sound cheesy, but I started thinking about what I might want people to remember me for,” says the legislative aide to Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.). “And when I looked over what I had written, everything pointed to Washington, D.C.”

He shrugs, emphasizing his uncanny resemblance to a young Ron Howard.

“I’d never even been to Washington,” he says.

Three weeks later Soares flew to D.C. to look for an apartment, and by March he had been accepted to George Washington University. He already had an associate’s degree from El Camino Community College, but as he explained, “El camino actually means ‘the street’ in Spanish. How’s that for a bad translation?”

But Soares’s street smarts have paid off. After graduating from GW and working in the private sector, he joined Boustany’s office in 2008, where he works on several different legislative issues.

What qualities most impress Soares about his Capitol Hill colleagues?

“They’re sophisticated, and really educated, but still totally underpaid,” he says. “I mean, you’d never know by walking around the Hill that everyone you pass is probably making minimum wage. It’s hilarious.”

— Christina Wilkie


 Megan Hendricksen
Crash-test beauty
Age: 23
Hometown: Newport Beach, Calif.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: In a relationship

Megan Hendricksen has places to go and people to see, even if others might get in the way.
Since coming to Congress in September 2008, the staff assistant for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has managed already to have two minor traffic accidents — with vehicles that just happened to be owned by two different Capitol Hill police officers. Her friends call her “Ms. Demolition Derby,” she jokes.
“People should sign a waiver if they get into the car. It’s terrible,” the California native says. “I fit right in in L.A. I’m a proactive driver.”
A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Hendricksen first saw herself carving out a career in either entertainment or public relations. But after taking summer classes in Washington, she knew this was the city for her.
“I realized L.A. was not my scene,” she says. “I was looking for a bit more substance.”
An elegant six feet tall with bright green eyes, she laughs and flashes a wide smile when asked if she has any beauty secrets. Claiming she’s not “gym-oriented,” Hendricksen would much rather play tennis or golf or go swimming instead.
She stays busy in Issa’s office, sending American flags to constituents back home, helping with the office finances and becoming the self-ordained “tour guru,” leading tourists around the Capitol.
Hendricksen even manages time for a boyfriend. He is another congressional aide, but a Democrat and former staffer for President Obama’s 2008 White House campaign as well.
“Needless to say, we don’t talk politics,” she says. “We leave work at work.”
–Kevin Bogardus

 Arthur Salomon
It’s a sign

Age: 22
Hometown: Lima, Peru
Political party: none
Dating status: In a relationship

Should we be scared when we hear Arthur Salomon, who works in the Dirksen cafeteria, proudly boasting that he knows nothing about food?

Rest assured; Salomon isn’t the one baking your pizza or assembling your sandwich. Instead, as the restaurant’s signs clerk he makes sure you have a pleasant, informed experience during your lunch hour. Not only is he in charge of making the cafeteria’s signage for its daily specials and other offerings, but he also serves as a utility man of sorts, maintaining the operation’s computers and helping cashiers keep their drawers.

Most importantly, he sympathizes with his customers.

“I love to eat,” he says, citing dishes from his native Peru as his cuisine of choice.

The tall, slender Salomon has a natural demeanor for working with hordes of rushed and hungry congressional staffers. He laughs easily, smiles frequently and greets his co-workers heartily while walking through the dining room.

When not working, Salomon likes to play soccer and tinker with computers. He enrolled in university-level software engineering classes in Peru before coming to the U.S. two years ago and hopes to continue his education in that field. In the meantime, he has taken to providing free computer maintenance to his friends and family.

Salomon says he likes to jog — he can go for as much as an hour at a time, he says — but otherwise worries little about his appearance. His best advice for staying healthy and glowing is something Dirksen cafeteria-goers might want to keep in mind the next time they get tempted by the cookie plate.

“I like to eat fruit,” he says.

— Kris Kitto

 Rep. Aaron Schock
The boy wonder

Age: 28
Hometown: Peoria, Ill.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Single

When gossip website TMZ released a photo earlier this year of a shirtless Rep. Aaron Schock sitting poolside in red swimming trunks, it became official that Capitol Hill’s newest sex symbol had arrived.

The youngest member of the 111th Congress has been the subject of outsized media attention and endless Capitol-hallway fawning since his convincing electoral win in November.

“When I came here as a new member, and knowing I’d be the youngest member, I expected some of the media attention,” he says. “But obviously, there have been opportunities that I have not expected.”

That’s politi-speak for, “I didn’t realize my bare abs would put people in such a dither.”

With Schock’s disciplined exercise routine and love of outdoor activities, his fans shouldn’t have been surprised by what they saw in the naked-chested photo. The congressman says he leaves his Navy Yard apartment by 6 a.m. to lift weights at the members’ gym or go for a run on the National Mall.

Schock also ticks off a list of adventure sports he enjoys when he has the time — scuba diving and snow skiing among them.

He was born in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, and spent his first 10 years there, explaining his love for waterskiing and jet skiing. He still has family in the state’s west-central town of Morris and says he practices water sports on his retreats to the family cabin.

That Schock is a rare young face in an otherwise aging House GOP conference might best be illustrated in his frame of reference when being photographed for the 50 Most Beautiful People list.

“I feel like I’m at, like, Senior Picture Day,” he says.

– Kris Kitto

 Megan Shannon-Winterson
When a Bush calls you pretty …

Age: 27
Hometown: Kennebunkport, Maine
Political Party: Democratic
Relationship Status: Engaged

While waitressing at the now-shuttered Seascapes Restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine, Megan Shannon-Winterson caught the eye of former first lady Barbara Bush.

“I was reaching around Barbara Bush to pour water for her, and it was kind of awkward because she was in the middle of a conversation, and I didn’t want to interrupt her,” Shannon-Winterson says. “So she took the water glass and turns around to hand it to me and goes, ‘Well, you’re a pretty girl.’ Then I poured her water.”

The interaction, which took place the summer after her sophomore year at Maine’s Colby College, may not have lasted more than 15 seconds, but it cemented a significant turnaround for Shannon-Winterson.

“I was an awkward child,” she says. “Not one of those people who claims that they were. This was severe, severe awkwardness for many years. I feel like I’ve grown into myself a little bit.”

The Kennebunkport native has emerged from that phase with a sharp smile, infectious laugh and witty sense of humor.

Her face lights up brightest when talking about her fiancé, Dimitri, and the dog they got in April, a beagle-pit bull-whippet mix named Lylie (“We like to say, ‘That must have been a wild party,’ ” she jokes.)

In 2007 she represented Maine as a Cherry Blossom Princess but is quick to point out that no beauty pageant was involved.

“I’m a big believer in having an interesting lifetime to-do list: see the Northern Lights, run a marathon, jump out of a plane, have a reason to put on a sash and tiara,” she says.

She’s open about one lingering insecurity: Shannon-Winterson believes her fiancé should be the one on The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People list instead of her.

“He is far, far better-looking than I am,” she says. “I live in constant fear that people are like, ‘What is he doing with her?’ ” (Alas, Dimitri works off Capitol Hill.)

The wedding is scheduled for next month in Kennebunkport. And no, the Bush family will not be attending.

–Miles Hilder

 David Silverman
From midfield to the front line

Age: 25
Hometown: Potomac, Md.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Dating someone

It wasn’t necessarily David Silverman’s plan to train to be Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) speechwriter by playing lacrosse for University of Michigan, but the physically demanding sport has definitely helped.

“[Cantor’s] an exceptional boss and very high-energy,” says Silverman, who received All-American recognition. “The training I’ve gotten from lacrosse helps me keep up with him.”

The long-stick midfielder still tries to play as much as he can with a club league in Baltimore, but don’t let his broad-shouldered 6-foot build fool you; he’s got brains as well.

An avid reader, Silverman went to graduate school for journalism at the University of Maryland during the thick of the state’s 2006 gubernatorial race, which piqued his political interest and drove him to go job-hunting on Capitol Hill afterward.

“I love the daily grind of it and having to stay up on so many different issues,” he says of his congressional work.

The mild-mannered Maryland native has dark-brown eyes and wears his hair short and loosely styled.

“I’m not really that much of a pretty boy,” he says.

Silverman says down the line he could definitely see himself as a television commentator, though he hasn’t thrown in the towel on a possible run for office.

He doesn’t like to go into the details about his dating life, beyond saying that he is seeing someone.

“I like girls who are both thoughtful and … intellectually curious,” he says.

— Jordy Yager


 Shuwanza Goff
She is family

Age: 24
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Shuwanza Goff doesn’t like wrinkles on clothing. Hates them, in fact.

Good thing she works for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), one of the most starched men in all of Washington.

Hoyer’s office has been a good fit for this 24-year-old native New Yorker in other ways, too.

Family is quite important to Goff, and Hoyer’s staff is known for its closeness.

“We’re all having a lot of fun with this,” she says of her inclusion on the 50 Most Beautiful list. “Terry [Lierman, Hoyer’s chief of staff] was very excited.”

Goff lives in Maryland with her younger sister and a host of extended family members — just the way she likes it.

So does she have the perfect life? Almost. The tall, slender Goff is single with an eye toward a relationship. But she recognizes that, between her career and her family, coupledom might have to wait.

“I would love to be in a relationship,” she says. “It’s just not a priority at the moment. Right now I just love my job and my boss and working on Capitol Hill. I’m still soaking it all in.”

And then there’s the inability of her alma mater, the University of Tennessee, to bring home a national football championship, which is another source of frustration for this self-described shy girl who turns into the consummate fan during football season.

Any disappointment she feels on fall Saturdays, though, is more than made up for on Sundays, when MTV usually rolls out its reality show marathons.

“Oh, I’m a huge reality TV junkie, I hate to admit,” Goff says. “Anything on MTV I have to watch.”

A single, stable college football fan who can veg out with the best of them? Take a number, fellas.

–Jared Allen

 Seng Peng
Fate’s friend

Age: 24
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Seng Peng believes in fate. But great clothes and a zest for adventure never hurt, either.

Perched on a chair in the Longworth House Office Building, Peng is dressed in an impeccable gray suit, aqua shirt, and tie. You would never guess that the staff assistant to Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) was born in a refugee camp in the Philippines, the seventh child of a couple forced to flee Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge.

As a child Peng was the family translator, accompanying his parents to doctors’ offices and parent-teacher conferences.

Peng graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with his heart set on a political job in Sacramento, Calif. When that didn’t work out, fate stepped in again, resulting in a 2007 fellowship in Washington sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.

Initially Peng was miserable in D.C., where he didn’t know anyone and found it “too cold.” He intended to move back to California upon completion of the one-year fellowship to work on issues facing Cambodian Americans.

Then a friend mentioned a staff opening with Richardson, who represents more Cambodian Americans than any other member of Congress. Eight months later, Peng is hitting his stride, doing what he set out to do.

Peng describes his ideal date as “a homemade meal, preferably Cambodian cuisine” (stock up on durians and tamarind). For wine, he likes an Australian Malbec. Dress well, and whatever you do, don’t be late.

“I’m really punctual,” he says, “so I love that in other people.”

— Christina Wilkie

 Maria Espinoza
A biker in need of padding

Age: 28
Hometown: Arlington, Va.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Married

Her red fingernails and high heels might make it hard to believe, but Maria Espinoza likes to rough it.

The staff assistant for Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) recently went on a three-and-a-half-day bike trip along the C&O Canal to Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Espinoza, who is originally from Argentina but moved to Arlington in the late 1980s, says next time she will buy a pair of padded bike shorts, or “diaper pants,” as she calls them.

“They look so big and make your butt look funny,” she says, laughing. “My butt was sore for days, and my legs were so achy. But I would do it again.”

Espinoza says she discovered a love for nature after marrying her husband, a science teacher who is currently interning for the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum for the summer.

Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, Espinoza imagined her life center stage singing Latin music.

A former music major at Trinity University, she changed her major to international affairs with a concentration in international relations when her voice began to fade and she realized the toll it could take on her career.

“I thought, what happens if I lose my voice? That’s it for me,” she says.

Espinoza still performs at charity events and church. She’s also auditioned to sing the national anthem at a Washington Redskins game.

Espinoza is happy with the career change, citing politics as a newfound love for this Washington resident, who still remembers when cows roamed Arlington before Metro’s expansion.

“Growing up here gave me a lot of opportunities to see what I can do, and it’s politics,” she says, “and I love it.”

–Nanette Light

 Carl Loof
The cosmopolitan

Age: 25
Hometown: Boca Raton, Fla.
Political party: “New Democrat”
Relationship status: Single

Carl Loof is Swedish and he likes to cook. Need we say more?

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, to Swedish parents, Loof grew up in London before his family moved to Boca Raton, Fla., when he was 15. Still sporting the remnants of a Swedish-English accent, Loof came to Washington last year after graduating from the University of Chicago and SciencesPo in Paris.

The cooking is all a part of Loof’s self-described “cosmopolitan life.”

“I wake up early, go out often. When I get home from work, I try to make it to the gym, and as often as I can, I cook,” says the legislative aide to Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.).

So what is his favorite dish?

“I should say Swedish meatballs, but I actually really like cooking salmon,” he says. “I love fish. Maybe that’s a Swedish thing.”

His culinary creations are generally reserved for himself and friends, but if he’s been dating a girl for a while, he might show off some of his kitchen prowess.

“I usually don’t risk cooking for girls,” he says. “I recognize that I have unique tastes in stuff, and some girls like more spices than others. It’s usually a third-date thing.”

If you happen to spot Loof’s distinctive dark hair and tan skin on the opposite side of the country, don’t worry. You’re probably seeing his twin brother, John, an investment banker at Deutsche Bank in San Francisco.

“I’ve been in meetings with lobbying organizations where they’ve stopped and asked me, ‘Excuse me, did I go to college with you? You look very familiar’,” he says about the frequent mix-ups between his brother and him. “That happens a lot in D.C.”

— Miles Hilder

 Bobby Clark
Run, Bobby, run

Age: 29
Hometown: Tinton Falls, N.J.
Political party: Democrat
Relationship status: Single

Bobby Clark is a busy guy these days. As a staffer on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Clark is smack-dab in the middle of trying to pass healthcare reform legislation, and it’s consuming his life.

“There’s almost no time to do anything else,” he says during a brief interview amid the chaos. “We’re here nights, weekends. It’s hard to think about anything past that because it’s so time-consuming and it really does require a lot of focus.”

But Clark is prepared for the task. In fact, this is exactly the position he wants to be in. After graduating from Rutgers University with a focus in political science, Clark homed in on healthcare policy as a graduate student at Georgetown University. He first handled health issues for Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and then moved to the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee in the 110th Congress.

Clark recognizes that the workload is pushing its way into his personal life, admitting that he might stay single for a while due to his current responsibilities. But that’s just fine for the quietly intense New Jersey native.

Whenever those few-and-far-between free hours do come along, chances are Clark will be spending them on a run.

“If it’s on the weekend, and I have time, I’ll be out there for like three hours running,” he says. “It clears my head, it’s a great workout. I’m really intense about that. Once you get into it, it’s hard to stop.”

— Miles Hilder


 Valerie Delp
She knows karate

Age: 23
Hometown: Churchville, Pa.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Don’t let Valerie Delp’s soft facial features, pink toenails and sandy-blond hair fool you. Underneath all of this, the deputy national finance director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) reelection campaign has a second-degree black belt in Karate and knows how to use it.

For seven years growing up, Delp competed with both boys and girls in karate matches, donning a mouth guard and hand, foot, and head pads before taking to the mat. In one memorable “Karate Kid”-like match halfway through a competition, Delp withstood a kick to the face from a boy whom she ended up beating. To top it off, she won second place overall in that competition.

“I really loved the discipline that it provided for me,” Delp says. “But it definitely brought out a competitive streak in me.”

Delp has since switched to a more academic fighting style. The 23-year-old graduated from Emory University last year with a degree in women’s studies and said she can see herself going to law school in order to fight against gender discrimination.

Not to get ahead of herself, though, Delp says she is content just to make it through the first couple of weeks in her new job in a high-profile Senate campaign. And that’s all right with the former Delta Delta Delta sorority sister who likes to maintain a fairly low profile.

“I’m pretty low-maintenance,” she says. “I don’t have much time for beauty secrets or to go to the movies.”

— Jordy Yager

 Hari Sevugan
Knowing when to hold ’em

Age: 34
Hometown: Chicago
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Hari Sevugan is a lifelong Cubs fan and a prolific softball player who specializes in the infield — second base and third base.

“I’m a Cubs fan and a Democrat, so I know suffering,” the Democratic National Committee spokesman jokes.

Sevugan, a lawyer by trade, spent time between college and law school in the Teach for America program.

“It’s not all that different,” he says of politics and teaching. It’s “getting a bunch of unruly people to do things you want, and that’s it.”

His tenure at a New York City middle school had a lasting effect on his style.

“I still dress like a middle school teacher,” he says. “Middle-school chic.”

Sevugan particularly favors Converse’s Chuck Taylor shoes.

“It used to be a thing where I wear these Chucks and get a new pair of Chucks for each campaign, but I haven’t gotten one since [President] Obama,” he explains. “I feel like it’s good karma to keep these shoes around.”

He also sports a goatee, which can be risky in clean-shaven Washington.

“I first grew it when I started teaching because I looked literally as old as my students,” he says. “Even now, if I shave it now, I look like a 14-year-old. It allows me to get into bars.”

When he isn’t on his iPhone or Blackberry, Sevugan enjoys playing poker. But his idea of a “perfect” evening is just to sit and chill with a beer.

It all fits in with his life philosophy: “Gamble and drink in moderation.”

— Emily Goodin

 Sen. Richard Burr
The hunter

Age: 53
Hometown: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Married

Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) Capitol Hill office isn’t just another bare room in a sterile government building. This is a hunter’s den.

A deep-brown armoire with intricate detailing is flanked by a plush couch and two reading chairs, and on the soft-green walls hang mountings of a turkey, a pheasant, a mallard duck, a mule deer and two white-tailed deer. Burr is hoping to add a black bear to the collection.

The debonair North Carolinian practically lives to hunt, saying the stretches he can’t find time for the sport are “like taking away a person’s vacation.”

But Burr does find other ways to escape the congressional grind. He says he’s “the kind of guy that, to clear my head, I’ll go home and paint for three days, if that is my frame of mind.”

His biggest household project to date was an 800-square-foot addition to his Winston-Salem, N.C., house, for which he did the carpentry and the plumbing.

“My wife would tell you, if I had my preference, I’d probably have a power tool in my hand, building something,” he says.

His tanned skin reveals that he is a well-rounded outdoorsman who golfs in what little spare time the Senate provides. He and his wife have recently taken up fly-fishing.

Burr is also an ex-athlete — he played football at Wake Forest University — who has held on to his competitive spirit. He is part of the group of Congress members who have recently taken to the P90X video workouts from fitness guru Tony Horton.

“Every job — especially this one — requires some type of daily release,” he says in confiding that his new exercise routine is more physical demanding than even his college football workouts. “It probably helps get me through the very difficult days.”

–Kris Kitto

 Melissa Garcia

Age: 23
Hometown: Palm Springs, Calif.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: In a relationship

Melissa Garcia’s beauty secret sounds simple, but anyone working on Capitol Hill knows it’s not easy.

She sleeps — a lot. She goes to bed before 9 p.m. and doesn’t get up for at least another 10 hours.

“I wish I could say I like to jog or bike,” she says. “I don’t.”

Garcia, a West Coaster who works as a communications assistant for Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), says she tries to sleep in “as late as I can and still look normal at work.”

Garcia styles herself as a normal girl. She didn’t tell her co-workers that she was under consideration for the 50 Most Beautiful People list, and she plans to hide as soon as they find out.

“It’s mostly embarrassing,” she says. “With my personal life, I just get by. For instance, I left my pocketbook upstairs when I went to get a soda. The cashier was like, ‘It’s OK.’ That’s the second time it happened this week.”

She says she likes to hang out on the National Mall, walk to Eastern Market, and cook — something she learned to do from her Puerto Rican relatives.

“Arroz con pollo, steak, rice, beans, anything like that,” she says.

Garcia says she didn’t want to be on this year’s list, and she blames her boyfriend, Jon-Marc Blalock, a legislative assistant for Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), for nominating her. In his nomination, she says he described Garcia, who has curly brown hair and big brown eyes, as “sultry,” “sexy” and “curvaceous.”

“It was really sweet,” she says. “He says it to me. I didn’t think he could put it on paper.”

–Walter Alarkon

 Drew Colbert
Spinnin’ right round

Age: 24
Hometown: Greenwich, Conn.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Though Drew Colbert is from Greenwich, Conn., he does not want to come off as an East Coast prepster.

“I don’t want people to judge me because I’m [from] Greenwich — I’m a not a typical Greenwich-ite, or anything like that,” says Colbert, a legislative assistant for the Senate Banking Committee. “I have pretty grounded parents who are both in academia.”

Colbert collects old records, is a voracious non-fiction reader and is a Roman and Greek art enthusiast. He says his love of classic art comes from his father, who is an architect and sculptor.

“My dad is a big Renaissance and antiquity guy, and as kids we’d always go to Rome a lot,” Colbert says. “I’ve been to Italy I think six times, which I’m very lucky to have done.”

On the weekends, Colbert enjoys hanging out with friends, but the laid-back staffer says he routinely scours local markets for the best vinyl.

“I try to go to flea markets [and] Eastern Market and pick up stuff you can’t get on CD any more,” he says.

Colbert says his music taste is eclectic, but as far as reading is concerned, he mostly enjoys non-fiction, particularly history.

“I like learning stuff about other places in the world,” he says, explaining that he reads “to build up my knowledge on things, rather than an escape.”

When he found out about his nomination for the 50 Most Beautiful People list, Colbert wryly said he was overwhelmed.

“I died and went to heaven,” he jokes. “I’m flattered to have been chosen … but I know it’s not a huge deal. I didn’t come to D.C. to try to be a celebrity, but this is an interesting honor and something I wouldn’t turn down.”

— Katelyn Ferral


 Jasmine Rosa Vasquez
A funny wonk

Age: 27
Hometown: The Bronx, N.Y.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

For a tax attorney, Jasmine Rosa Vasquez is pretty funny. A good sense of humor is one of her beauty secrets. “Soap and water” is another.

Vasquez’s Capitol Hill career began with an externship at the House Ways and Means Committee during law school at DePaul University in Chicago. After graduating last year, she shipped eight boxes to Washington, gave every other possession away, and hopped on a plane to start work as an economic policy adviser to Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).

“I couldn’t wait to get here,” she says.

The eldest of 11 children, Vasquez says she grew up in a family that could be a little “hot-headed” about politics. But she prefers to keep a cool-eyed focus on the substance of legislation.

“I don’t have a passion for the politics,” she explains. “I get made fun of in the office for being too wrapped up on the policy.”

When she isn’t searching for ways to make the tax code more progressive, Vasquez reads, goes to the movies and live music shows, and performs “keg stands” (which, for the record, is a joke). She also sands furniture, plays piano and owns a guitar she can’t play (no time for lessons).

Raised in the Bronx, Vasquez now prefers Washington to New York. But she says she finds the culture here a little strange at times.

“This is a weird little world,” she says. “It’s just so insulated. … It’s exciting, but I feel like there isn’t enough focus on what’s going on outside the Hill.”

— Jim Snyder

 Anders Reynolds
Double jeopardy

Age: 27
Hometown: Wynne, Ark.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Like “Jeopardy!”? Try this one:

Category: Capitol Hill staffers

Answer: This laid-back legislative assistant for Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.) was named one of The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2009.

Question: Who is Anders Reynolds?

Unlike his luckless stint on “Jeopardy!” last fall, this small-town Southerner can certainly buzz in for this one.

After going to a friend’s audition for the show, Reynolds was asked to fill in when a potential contestant was a no-show. He won the practice tournament and was flown to Los Angeles — only to be annihilated in front of friends and family when the show aired on Halloween night.

“I was absolutely destroyed,” Reynolds says. “Halloween was an appropriate air date, because it was a massacre. I don’t make excuses for the poor performance, but I do wish I had another shot. It is all about timing and the categories you see. On my episode, you can see me frantically trying to buzz in, getting frustrated and using different tactics.”

Reynolds says he learned his lesson from that experience and didn’t tell anyone about his nomination to The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People list.
Though he didn’t fare well with Alex Trebek, that doesn’t mean he’s not cultured. A self-professed “culture sponge,” Reynolds majored in theater in college and was a professional actor for a year before coming to Capitol Hill. He even played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet.

Reynolds is also a fan of classic literature and old films, most recently having finished John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.

“I try to absorb as much culture as I can,” he says, “although I don’t feel like I’m contributing to it as much.”

He definitely won’t be contributing to the “Jeopardy!” fan base any time soon.

“I haven’t watched ‘Jeopardy!’ since,” he says. “It makes me sick.”

— Katelyn Ferral

 Mariana Maguire
Adventures in eating

Age: 27
Hometown: San Francisco
Political party: “Moderate; Democratic-leaning”
Relationship status: Dating someone

Mariana Maguire is adventurous when it comes to her palate.

She has tasted a starfish while traveling in China and drunk a Japanese shot made of sake, ponzu sauce, wasabi, soy sauce, roe, a raw quail egg and a raw oyster on top.

“It was kind of a kick in the pants,” says the House Foreign Relations Committee staffer. “It was one of those things that, if it doesn’t kill you, it will definitely make you stronger.”

She’s also a girl who isn’t afraid of meat.

“Any animal you can kill, I’ll probably eat,” she says.

When it comes to beauty, Maguire is a minimalist. She has tan skin, brown hair and brown eyes, and she admits to rarely working out.

Growing up in a family of Argentine parents with Italian and Irish backgrounds, Maguire felt caught between two worlds. Her family primarily spoke Spanish at home, and she later learned Italian and French.

A political science graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles, Maguire always assumed she would trek across the country to work in politics and international affairs.

Her passport is well-worn, considering her travels to Argentina since the age of 2 and numerous trips to Europe since high school.

While Washington lacks the West Coast’s signature ocean breezes and soft sand, Maguire has found a compromise in the Potomac River. She calls the Georgetown waterfront her top place in the city to lie out in the sun.

“It’s the closest thing I’ve found to a beach,” she says.

— Nanette Light


 Nathan Greene
The potpie guy

Age: 27
Hometown: Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Has a “hella serious girlfriend”

You could say Nathan Greene has an unconventional beauty regimen.

When asked how he maintains his clean-cut look, the easy-going legislative assistant for Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) says with a grin, “I eat a lot of microwave meals, particularly Marie Callendar’s potpies — and of course I pump tons of iron.”

Greene also plays in one of the District’s Ultimate Frisbee leagues, something that likely contributes to his svelte physique.

“I’ve been playing Ultimate Frisbee since I came to D.C.,” he says. “There’s a huge league — it’s actually the biggest city league in the country.”
He also plays softball and golf, which has been a pastime for Greene since his college days at Principia College in Illinois.

“I play as much as I can, but not as much as I want to,” he says.

The Pacific Northwest native is an avid backpacker and hikes often with his family. His hiking conquests include the Olympic Mountains in his home state of Washington.

Despite being recognized as one of The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People, Greene says he keeps a low profile.

“I don’t like attention,” he says. “I fly under the radar.”

When asked how his office has responded to his newfound fame, Greene says wryly that there’s a bit of staff envy.

“I’m not just a piece of meat; I have a brain,” he says with a smile. “They’re just jealous. They’ll make comments.”

Always looking for an opportunity for sarcasm, Greene insisted that The Hill write that he still plays the piano after 15 years of lessons paid for by his mother.

–Katelyn Ferral

 Brooke Boyer
The football fan

Age: 28
Hometown: Fairfax Station, Va.
Political party: Declined to specify
Dating status: In a relationship

Brooke Boyer says she never gets hit on.

The staffer for the House Appropriations Committee isn’t used to taking center stage, and her aversion to sounding conceited quickly reveals her humble nature.

“It’s weird being put on the spot. It was weird having someone take a picture of me,” says the brown-haired, brown-eyed beauty, referring to The 50 Most Beautiful People photo shoot.

Boyer, a Washington native, says she received flack for bringing an entourage of two male friends to the shoot.

“Who doesn’t bring friends with them?” she asks.

Boyer landed her first job at the Pentagon and says a chain of coincidences led her to a job on Capitol Hill. A former art history major who later switched to economics at the University of Virginia, she shakes her head when asked if she is a political junkie.

“Working on a committee I don’t find as political, especially Appropriations, ’cause we’re really bipartisan,” she says.

A graduate student at George Mason University for public policy, she admits to being frenzied these days juggling work and school.

But Boyer finds the time to work out five days a week. She developed a love-hate relationship with running a few years back after her first marathon.

Boyer enjoys sports, especially football (she is an adopted Pittsburgh Steelers fan through her boyfriend). She has season tickets to the UVA football games and says sports is one of her dating criteria, right up there with tall, dark, handsome and a sense of humor.

She says she is “definitely” in a relationship and recounts a past relationship that she describes as “awkward” when the love for the game wasn’t reciprocated on his end.

“What guy doesn’t like sports?” she asks.

— Nanette Light

Tags Charles Boustany Dave Reichert Eric Cantor Jim Moran Kirsten Gillibrand Marcia Fudge Michele Bachmann Richard Burr Rob Wittman Sam Farr Saxby Chambliss Tammy Baldwin

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