50 Most Beautiful People 2010 HTML Page 1

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Marie Sylla-Dixon: Guinea’s loss

Age: 34
Hometown: Columbia, Md.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Married

Marie Sylla-Dixon was almost a first child of Guinea.

Her father ran for president of the West African nation this year, carrying the banner of The New Generation for the Republic (NGR) party. He placed sixth in a crowded field of 24.

It was a bit of trading places in the family. When Sylla-Dixon was growing up, her father was as an engineer and worked for Voice of America, her mother was a computer scientist, and she was the political and U.S. history guru of the family. 

“I was a political buff,” she says.

Sylla-Dixon was born in the Ivory Coast, and, at age 4, her parents moved to the Washington suburb of Columbia, Md. She was a political science major at Hampton University and got her first job on Capitol Hill sharing a back office with reining cable news pundit queen Donna Brazile, then chief of staff for Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). 

After a stint jetting to state capitals every week to testify as a lobbyist on First Amendment and entertainment issues, Sylla-Dixon trained her eye back on Congress and now is chief legislative counsel at T-Mobile. 

She spends a good deal of her time on nonprofit advocacy work, especially for breast cancer awareness among young and black women. Every year she participates in the Race for the Cure.

“It’s my dream to start a foundation of my own for children and mental illness,” she says. “I think it’s an issue that needs more champions.”

Sylla-Dixon still makes time to keep up with Guinea, and this year she judged the Miss Guinea North America pageant held in Maryland. 

Her key to beauty and health?

“It’s important to keep the stress under control,” she says.

— Silla Brush

Allison Sadoian: The look-alike

Age: 23
Hometown: Fresno, Calif.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Single

The ironic thing about Allison Sadoian, the scheduler for Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.), is that she can’t stand schedules at all.

“I’m really spontaneous — I like just waking up and going,” she says. “I like being thrown into uncomfortable places to see how I react.” 

It was that disposition that brought the 23-year-old to Washington this year from Fresno, Calif., where she was born and raised. Sadoian briefly considered a showbiz career — even landing a spot on an episode of NBC’s “Heroes” — before the political bug lured her east.

Though agitated by Washington’s physical climate — Sadoian arrived during Snowmageddon, and the sticky summer has her longing for California’s dry heat — she says she’s energized by a Capitol Hill culture where “everyone is motivated to make a difference.”

In her case, that’s meant diving into foreign policy issues, including Radanovich’s longstanding push to recognize the Armenian genocide of the early 20th century — an issue with personal meaning for Sadoian, who is of Armenian descent.

“I’m definitely a policy nerd,” she notes with only a hint of embarrassment.

The Fresno State University grad says she has all the prerequisite qualifications to thrive on Capitol Hill — ambition, idealism — but there’s one factor that really sets her apart: not just anyone gets mistaken for Katie Holmes, Anne Hathaway or Brittany Murphy.

“I'm told at least once a day that I remind [people] of someone famous,” she says.

Longer-term, Sadoian says she’s eyeing the possibility of returning to school, but for now she’s happy to be “young and energetic” in the nation’s capital.

“When I get jaded,” she says, “that’s when I’ll move somewhere else.”

To stay fit, Sadoian runs 10 to 15 miles a week (even in this July heat), hits the gym and cleats up with California’s delegation for summer softball. 

Her lasting beauty tip, though, is much more organic.

“Be yourself,” she advises with a smile. “That's the most beautiful thing.”

— Mike Lillis

Jon Ward: Bespectacled

Age: 33
Hometown: Gaithersburg, Md.
Political party: “Registered Democrat”
Relationship status: Married with two children, ages 3 and 1.

Though a lot of things about Jon Ward – mainly his title as senior White House correspondent for The Daily Caller – scream professional, his green-tinted tortoiseshell glasses showcase his fun, young side. 

His blue-eyed gaze is steady and calm as Ward discusses the awe-inspiring feeling that came over him during his first White House assignment, the bike rides he likes to take with his children and his role models: journalists William Langewiesche and Jack Kelley. 

The mention of the Baltimore Orioles, however, sets those eyes blazing. 

“Peter Angelos drove me away from the team,” the otherwise avid fan says of the Baltimore owner. “He drove the Baltimore franchise into the ground.”

Ward also cheers for the Washington Nationals but hasn’t yet had an opportunity to cover one of President Obama’s trips to the stadium for White House pool duty. He did get the chance to travel to Germany on pool duty with his previous employer, The Washington Times. Nowadays he pops up at the Capitol to follow a story just as often as he can be seen at the White House. 

Ward hopes one day to write books — maybe even fiction. As he launches into an analogy of the media being like a wave breaking on a seashore, it’s not a reach to conclude that his future in creative literature looks bright.

For now, though, Ward says he is still learning about how the political machine runs. Between work and family life, he has little time for exercise. So how does he maintain his beauty?

“I don’t know. Good genes, I guess,” he says playfully. 

–Barbra Kim

Hudson Hollister: Transparent

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

Amiable. Hyperactive. A good listener. That’s how Hudson Hollister defines himself. But that’s not the entire picture. Add gentleman, funny, good conversationalist, and beautiful to that list, and you get a better snapshot of who he is.

It’s hard to believe Hollister was once the “socially awkward” home-school student he claims he was. Growing up as the oldest of five in the Chicago area, he took a “random, circuitous route” to Congress.

He attended college at St. Francis University, where he was president of the student government association. 

“I kind of prove the saying that everyone on the Hill did student government in school and hasn’t gotten over it,” he jokes.

Hollister got a law degree from Northwestern University, spent some time at a private firm and then moved to the Securities and Exchange Commission. He came to Capitol Hill with nothing but his resume. 

“I went from committee to committee applying for jobs,” he says, finally landing his “dream job” as counsel for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Hollister is passionate about government transparency. He gets excited when talking about making government documents searchable and throws around terms like XBRL (Extensible Business Reporting Language, whatever that means) with ease.

A political junkie, Hudson loves “the kind of heated discussion where you break to have a beer and then start again.”

Coffee, cigars and Cheez-Its are three things he says he can’t live without. 

“But its problematic when you try to have all three at once,” he jokes.

Mom and Dad’s genes, good grooming, CrossFit workouts, and “lots” of moisturizing are his health and beauty secrets.

Hollister’s perfect date would be to attend a wedding with that special someone, celebrating something real and concrete. 

“You can tell what someone is really like from the way they celebrate someone else’s occasion of joy,” he says.

—Michaela Martens

Blair Mixon: Grits

Age: 25
Hometown: Live Oak, Fla.
Political party:  Republican
Relationship status:  In a relationship

Hailing from a part of the country where a Sprite is a Coke is a point of pride for 25-year-old Blair Mixon.

But this southern belle is no isolationist. In fact, the former Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) intern and Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) staffer — who is the newest addition to Rep. Michael Burgess’s (R-Texas) office — has placed a premium on branching out to acquire friends who drink Coke, Sprite, pop, and even soda.  

Such a premium, in fact, that when Mixon recently found herself on the receiving end of a good ole grits-bashing by some non-southern, ahem, “gentleman” friends — Bless their hearts! — not only did she resist the temptation to chide the boys, she took it upon herself to properly educate them on all the ways to prepare one of the South’s most improperly persecuted delicacies.

“All of my northern friends thought that grits were terrible,” Mixon says.  “So I started telling everybody how to eat them the right way, not the plain way they thought you were supposed to.”

The right way, according to Mixon, is to incorporate bacon into a bowl of cheese grits. Her efforts to educate the masses culminated in a much-forwarded chart and eventually earned Mixon an obvious nickname: Grits.

Soothing regional tensions was also the theme of Mixon’s more formal academic training at North Georgia College & State University, where she studied international relations and French.

Mixon’s 5th-grade teacher, Mrs. Ilers, would likely be most proud of Mixon’s arrival on Capitol Hill, as she was the one to convince her that it was a worthy career goal. As for her ascension to The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People list, Mixon thinks her mom would be the most proud and her friends the most amused.

The most surprised?  “That would have to be my new office — because I forgot to tell them,” Mixon says with a laugh.

—Jared Allen

Rep. Duncan D. Hunter: A foot soldier

Age: 33
Hometown: Lakeside, Calif.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Married

Had it not been for Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Rep. Duncan D. Hunter likely would have been the heartthrob of the 111th Congress. He’s a veteran of the Marines who has maintained military-level fitness while in Congress, and he has that youthful vitality that a simple glance around the House floor will reveal is rare among lawmakers.

Hunter has maintained a low profile since coming to Washington and has avoided the media spotlight that often shines on Congress’s younger set. He perhaps flies under the radar because he came to town with a familiar name; he won his father’s congressional seat after the elder Duncan Hunter retired in 2008. (The younger Hunter won in notable fashion — his campaign went on while he was fighting in Afghanistan.) And he doesn’t mind if others see him merely as an extension of his father. In a 2009 interview with The Hill, he said, “I don’t make a concerted effort to distinguish myself as Duncan D. Hunter versus Duncan Hunter.”

Hunter said he likes to “do things that most 30-year-old guys in San Diego do.” He surfs, snowboards, skis and rides a motorcycle during his spare time, and he also tends to his family obligations. He and his wife have three children.

Hunter declined to participate in an interview for this feature.

–Kris Kitto

Christine Sequenzia: Animal lover

Age: 29
Hometown: Dallas
Political party: “Trying to stay neutral” (“I’m a lobbyist”)
Relationship status: Single

Christine Sequenzia doesn’t have time for a boyfriend. She doesn’t even have time to cook meals. 

“I don’t know how you have time to meet people in this line of work,” says Sequenzia, a lobbyist for the Animal Welfare Institute. 

“I eat wherever the event is. If you would see my cupboard, there’s Raisin Bran and peanut butter,” she says with a laugh. “I’m not kidding.”

When Sequenzia’s not jogging in Old Town, Alexandria, with the 11-year-old dog that she rescued from a shelter, she’s likely at an animal rights event or tackling some form of charity work. 

“I actually do believe that people can still make a difference,” says Sequenzia, who recently organized a team for a Race for the Cure breast cancer awareness event. She also raised money for Fashion for Paws, which benefits the Washington Humane Society. 

But Sequenzia isn’t your typical over-worked lobbyist do-gooder. 

“I don’t drink, so I have to find creative ways to keep myself entertained while everyone’s getting sloshed,” she says, explaining that she’s never had a sip of alcohol in her life. “I can’t imagine not being in control of my own body. I don’t know what kind of drunk I would be, but I’m afraid to see what would happen.” 

Sequenzia graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in animal science and aimed to be a veterinarian, but she fell in love with Washington’s fast pace after coming to Capitol Hill in 2004 as a paid intern for Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas).

“I decided I could do more here in D.C. than opening a side-of-the-road veterinarian clinic, fixing one animal every 30 minutes,” Sequenzia says.

With green-brown eyes and straight brown hair, Sequenzia says she maintains her good looks with a positive outlook on life. 

“I think it’s all about faith in life,” she says. “If you have joy within, it doesn’t matter what your age is.”

–Jordy Yager

Sean Joyce: The rugger

Age: 24

Hometown: Altoona, Pa. 

Political party: Republican

Relationship status: Dating

No, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) does not beat his staffers.

The one with the black eye and swollen mouth is just Sean Joyce, avid rugby player and special projects coordinator for Shuster.

“Rugby is my life,” Joyce says.

Joyce, who during an interview showed no visible wounds, shrugs off stories of concussions, fingers jammed into his eye sockets and the discomfort of playing on fields of gravel and snow in the sport’s famously short shorts. He chooses instead to concentrate on the camaraderie felt on the fields and the rugby tradition of sharing a beer with the opposing team after a match.

The recipient of his team’s first Ironman award for playing all 80 minutes in 16 consecutive matches, Joyce feeds on adrenaline. For example, he once took on a challenge with three of his other friends to slap a bull while participating in the extremely dangerous Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Upon arriving to run, Joyce and his friends discovered that, just a day earlier, a runner met his death in the first fatal goring in more than a decade. They still did it, and Joyce added another black eye and concussion to his long list of injuries.

Recalling the incident, Joyce, his eyes shining, says, “It was absolutely worth it.” 

In spite of all the scars acquired over the years of rough-and-tumble, Joyce remains — by some divine power — relatively unscathed. He claims rugby has taught him about the ways of life.

“The more you play, the more you learn to take the hits,” he says. “You keep rolling with life.”

–Barbra Kim

Sarah Spear: Going big

Age: 29
Hometown: Fort Myers, Fla.
Political party: Independent; “I very much respect both sides.”
Relationship status: Boyfriend

Sarah Spear arrived for her 50 Most Beautiful People photo shoot on Capitol Hill well prepared with a green Oscar de la Renta gown on hand. Showing old Hollywood glamour in the flowing dress, the lobbyist was unafraid to add some fabulousness to this year’s list.

“Why not just live it up and blow it up? When else do you get an opportunity to do something like this?” Spear says. 

That seems to be Spear’s mantra – to seize every opportunity life presents to you. And Washington isn’t big enough to hold the petite blonde’s plans for fun and travel.

For example, she is planning an August trip with her boyfriend — a former contestant on the ABC reality dating show “The Bachelorette,” — to Brazil, complete with stops in Rio de Janerio and Iguazu Falls as well as canoeing down the Amazon River. In years prior, there were trips to Costa Rica, Greece, Iceland and Panama. 

Calm and composed, Spear is easy to talk to. Her wide hazel eyes lock on you, and she speaks with a slight Southern drawl. As a lobbyist for the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, the Vanderbilt University graduate knows she has to schmooze with the best. After all, she calls herself “a huge dork” for reading How to Win Friends and Influence People at least three times a year, as “kind of a good refresher.”

Spear too has writing aspirations. She and her boyfriend are dabbling with a self-help book to aid young college graduates in search of their true calling in life. 

“It is more like a guide about things that have helped us,” Spear says.

For beauty advice, Spear offers some practical tips — such as sit-ups and push-ups, while “a smile is the most beautiful thing.” But Spear then offers a line that could be in her own tome. 

“Don’t be afraid to try something new. Scare yourself at least once a day,” she says.

– Kevin Bogardus

Sen. Scott Brown: A model senator

Age: 50
Hometown: Wrentham, Mass.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Married

Once you’ve seen a senator’s furry belly button, what is there left to say? Even without the now-infamous Cosmopolitan centerfold photo, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has all the trappings of a glamorous politician: a newscaster wife with perfect hair, a semi-famous daughter who tried her luck on “American Idol,” an unlikely story winning the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) Senate seat — and, of course, his looks.

While Brown has of course aged since his 1982 nude photo in Cosmopolitan magazine, many say he’s aged well. He spent the first few months wandering the Capitol with a permanent deer-in-headlights look on his face, but now that Brown is settling into his new role, the relaxed look of a man confident enough to shed his clothes in front of the camera has returned.

Part of his allure is that his beauty seems to be natural (much of his campaign, after all, was based on his normal-guy-with-a-pickup-truck low level of maintenance). But Brown also works at it. He has competed in several triathlons, and he also ran a strong race — in a sleeveless shirt — at the annual ACLI Capital Challenge.

It’s a safe bet that Brown will never live down his past as a male model. But for now, when he travels the Capitol, he stays buttoned up.

Brown declined to participate in an interview for this feature.

–Kris Kitto

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