50 Most Beautiful People 2010 HTML Page 2

Previous 10 | Next 10

Amit Bagga: Fashion forward

Age: 24
Hometown: New York
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Since moving to Washington from New York in February, Amit Bagga has had two fashion disasters.

The first involved a short coat from a designer based in New Delhi, India. It’s made of gray-and-black striped silk and has long sleeves, no collar and a diagonal zipper.

“It was affectionately — if tauntingly — referred to as the ‘Star Trek’ coat” by his colleagues, Bagga says. “But it was a huge hit in New York, let me tell you.”

The second mishap had more to do with bad timing than anything else. Getting ready for a Saturday in the office, Bagga put on a Rugby Ralph Lauren British military-style red coat. (“With gold buttons and epaulets — the whole nine yards,” he says.) He paired it with jeans and purple loafers.

That Saturday happened to be when hordes of people from the Tea Party movement flooded congressional offices.

“I can tell you that a lot of people … that came to our office claiming to be constituents thought that I was re-colonizing the United States,” he says.

Bagga knows his fashion sense sets him apart on Capitol Hill. He first started looking at clothing in a critical way while an undergraduate at McGill University in Montreal, which he describes as a “very fashion-conscious city.” He has also accrued fashion-designer friends over the years, both in New York and India, where he has both lived and visited dozens of times.

Adding to his look is the salt-and-pepper hair that defies his age, and on which he receives lots of “positive feedback,” he says. (It’s natural, he clarifies.)

“I’ve always been a bit of an anomaly,” he says. “It’s something that I’ve come to embrace, and I love it.”

–Kris Kitto

Ashley Patterson: Multi-tasking

Age: 26
Hometown: Treasure Island, Fla.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Ashley Patterson’s scenery is constantly changing. After breezing through Boston University in three years, staying to get a graduate degree in journalism, then working her way up from news intern to senior congressional and White House reporter at Belo Corp., Patterson stopped midstream to take the reins in Rep. Henry Cuellar's (D-Texas) press shop.

Now, only a year and a half after helping transform Cuellar from a regional name into a leader among conservative House Democrats, Patterson is on the move again, preparing for a new gig as government relations director at Ameresco, a top green-energy company with a substantial Washington presence. In the process, she’ll give up a master’s program she just started at the National Defense University.

Dizzy yet?

“Growing up, I wanted to be in the Navy,” Patterson says, suddenly making her perpetual motion a little bit easier to understand.

Although Patterson opted out of BU’s ROTC program and chose civilian life instead, she has held on to the values instilled by her father, a Marine who fought in Vietnam, and her grandfather, an Army paratrooper who jumped during D-Day. They both won multiple commendations while in uniform.

“I think that's why I ultimately ended up in journalism,” Patterson says. “You develop a sense of public service.”

That translated easily to Capitol Hill.

“There are lots of individuals here, but there is only one Congress,” Patterson says. “And this place is a love affair. It’s infectious.”

When Patterson does stop to breathe — which she admits is rare — it’s on Saturday mornings, when she heads down to the Potomac River to walk and read (historical fiction, of course). And for all of you thinking how ordinary that sounds, fear not: Patterson walks and reads ... at the same time.

“I think I'm very good at wearing multiple hats,” she concedes.

—Jared Allen


Jonah Crane: Going to the chapel

Age: 32
Hometown: Spring Valley, N.Y.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Engaged

“My mom probably thinks I’m crazy,” Jonah Crane says, laughing, “but I know I’m not.”

The 32-year-old economic adviser to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is explaining why he left a Manhattan corporate law firm (and a big paycheck) last July to move to Washington, a decision his mom is apparently still trying to figure out.

“The life of an associate at a corporate law firm isn’t that much fun,” he says, “but moving to D.C. for a job in politics definitely took people by surprise. I mean, I’d never worked in politics before, and I only knew one person here.”

The transition to Washington life, however, was a gradual one for the New York University grad, who made weekly trips back to New York to visit his then girlfriend (now fiancee), Sarah Petrasso.

“I haven't really gotten to know D.C. as much as I could have yet,” Crane says – an understandable confession considering the workload he had been carrying with financial regulatory reform. “But I'm looking forward to checking out the city more this fall.”

Luckily, Crane will have an exploring partner in Petrasso, who is moving to Washington to live with him and do post-doctoral work in psychology at Georgetown University.

“We got engaged this June, during a weekend trip to visit her family in Portland, [Ore.],” he says. “But we’ve been dating since college, so it was definitely time.”

Crane, the eldest of three kids, will be the first in his family to get hitched. His parents, both teachers, are understandably excited.

Asked whether living with a psychologist means he gets free daily “therapy” sessions, Crane laughs.

“Sarah’s definitely diagnosed me a few times,” he says, “but it’s really interesting to see the things she notices about people. We all do so many things we’re not aware of.”

–Christina Wilkie

Hillary Caron: Cheese Nips lover

Age: 25
Hometown: Deerfield, Ill.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Hillary Caron finds social life after work on the Hill to be a lot like her days as a Tri-Delt at Duke University.
“You go to a party, and it’s Udall people and McCaskill people and people from the Ag Committee,” she says of Congress’s cliquish nature. “We’re ten years older and know how to hold our liquor, but otherwise, it’s similar.”
Caron got hooked on Capitol Hill after a summer internship in the office of then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
She says it was hard to remember that the future president wasn’t just another member of the office gang.
“You had to remind yourself he was a senator, because he came across as your buddy,” she says, recalling that the intern coordinator had to tell new charges, “Don’t give him the gun and the wink.”

Caron just left the Senate Agriculture Committee to pursue a law degree at New York University. For the Ag panel, she focused on child nutrition authorization legislation. Even so, she admits to the guilty pleasures of Diet Mountain Dew and Cheese Nips — the latter she claims is her No. 1 diet secret.
While at school, she hopes to pick up her old dance hobby — jazz and modern were specialties. Maybe she’ll rekindle her romantic life, too.
“I’m trying to think the last time I was on a date,” Caron says.

She’s an easy date, or so she claims.
“I don’t need someone to make a big deal about me, and fortunately, most guys in D.C. don’t make a big deal about you — they make a big deal about themselves,” she says.
The quickest way to win her over?
“Guys who remember I love Cheese Nips get bonus points,” she says.

—Alexander Bolton

Schylr Greggs: Healing powers

Age: 27
Hometown: Huntsville, Texas
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: In a relationship

If Schylr Greggs’s life had gone as he had planned, he would have graduated medical school by now.

But Greggs’s dream of becoming a doctor shifted course when he volunteered at a hospital during college one summer.

After one woman met briefly with the doctor, she came out of the examining room and burst into tears. Greggs spoke to her for 20 minutes, and the woman complained about struggling to pay for groceries and other growing bills she couldn’t afford.

While he was drawn to medicine to be “a healer,” he realized that if he could change federal policy and government programs, he might be able to improve people’s health and living situations.

“If you fix policy, then you can fix other things in people’s lives,” says Greggs, now a legislative assistant for Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas).

A couple things he enjoys most are working with constituents from his home state of Texas and informing his hometown church about policy debates in Washington.

After work, Greggs volunteers at a local church, where he teaches Sunday school and helps kids with their homework.

Greggs is 6 feet tall and sports a charming smile with cute dimples. He says he goes to the gym every morning before 6 a.m. in order to make it into the office by 9.

After working in Washington for three years, Greggs still believes it is possible for government to make changes in people’s lives. But he says lawmakers and staff members “have to remember that people’s lives are at stake” and be “cognizant not to overreach.”

– Shira Poliak

Kaitlyn Gibson: The anti-Suzanne Somers

Age: 23
Hometown: Oviedo, Fla.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: “Very single”

For those in search of a fitness regimen, the Kaitlyn Gibson training model might not be for you.

“I don’t exercise and I eat terrible food,” says Gibson, scheduler and executive assistant for Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.). "I eat pizza everyday."

Still, it hasn’t done any harm to this 23-year-old Floridian, who attributes a healthy figure to a good metabolism and still hopes to make use of that tennis racket she lugged north — for which a job on the Hill never seems to leave time.

No stranger to the political scene, Gibson worked in a state office of former GOP Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.) before moving to Washington, D.C., where she still finds wonderment while strolling bu the monuments.

“It’s still surreal to me,” she says of the city’s cultural offerings.

Maybe it’s because she hails from a town where “chickens cross the road,” but Gibson says she relishes the fast pace of the Capitol — not to mention brushing up against the folks wandering through it.

“I like the fact that I run into people that I see on TV everyday,” she says. “I don’t take this for granted.”

Gibson is quick to note that she’s just the latest in a small blitz of Mario Diaz-Balart staffers to make The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful People list in recent years — a trend that’s upped the stakes of this year’s contest.

"It's kind of like an office rivalry now," she says only half jokingly.

Asked about her relationship status, the bashful Gibson doesn’t quite know how to characterize it. Finally, she comes up with “very single.”

And is there a story there?

“I’m not going to tell you that.”

– Mike Lillis

Ryan Fitzpatrick: Carolina boy

Age: 27
Hometown: Lake Toxaway, N.C.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

If you’re looking for Ryan Fitzpatrick, he’s likely one of the attractive young men playing Ultimate Frisbee on the National Mall or the water skier zooming around the North Carolina lake on which he grew up.

These are two of his favorite pastimes. He never tires of playing a pickup game of Ultimate with friends, and as for waterskiing, “I always have to get a trip in when I visit home,” he says.

Fitzpatrick’s career in politics began while he was painting houses and working at a bar.

He had just graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and slapped together odd jobs while, in his free time, volunteering on Rep. Heath Shuler’s (D-N.C.) first congressional campaign in 2006. It was a bonding experience.

“[I got involved] really early on, when everything was still informal,” Fitzpatrick says of the campaign. “It was like a family, where you make do with what you have.”

When his boss won the election, Fitzpatrick landed a job in Shuler’s Washington office.

He describes himself as courteous and thoughtful and is also a music lover. He likes playing the part of the cosmopolitan, getting to know the city beyond Capitol Hill through a few of his favorite things: the arts, restaurants and karaoke. He enjoys reading, writing, tutoring his 9-year-old mentee and “learning about the problems the city faces — just like any other city,” he says.

Fitzpatrick is single and acknowledges that he doesn’t do too much to stay beautiful. A gym buddy keeps him motivated to exercise, and he “tries not to overdo it on the ice cream,” although he admits that’s easier said than done. He attributes his looks mostly to good genes, he says.

“Thanks, Mom and Dad,” Fitzpatrick says.

–Michaela Martens

Patrick Gliha: Home run

Age: 25
Hometown: Euclid, Ohio
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Engaged

It’s taken Patrick Gliha, a former pitcher for the University of Akron, only a few years to hit the political big leagues in Washington. After working in the campaign and fundraising operations for Ohio Democratic Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Driehaus, Gliha landed at the biotech company Amgen, where he leads its political action committee.

Since college, Gliha has replaced baseball with golf as his main recreational activity (he also hits the weights a few times a week to stay in shape), but he says the years spent playing college ball taught him invaluable life lessons that have helped him get ahead and keep his spirits up in such a competitive town.

“Baseball is a losing sport — a good batting average is .300, so most of the time you’re striking out,” he says. “You’ve got to keep coming back and trying again — and that develops a good work ethic and a focus on teamwork.”

With bright blue eyes, an easy smile and a calm, straightforward Midwestern attitude, Gliha has no problem talking to strangers and connecting with colleagues many years his senior. The genuine, all-American charm comes across as natural, unusually humble and refreshingly outside-the-Beltway.

Gliha’s wholesome nature also translates to his personal life. He’s devoted to his fiancee, Carlie Titus, a business development manager at Broadnet. The two met in college when she was bartending at one of his favorite hangouts. He talked to her several times before getting up the nerve to ask her out. They’ve been together ever since, and he says he no longer has much need for the D.C. bar scene.

“I’m pretty much a homebody,” he says with a smile.

–Susan Crabtree

Nikki Palmieri: Red coat

Age: 27
Hometown: North Haven, Conn.
Political party: “Moderately liberal”
Relationship status: Engaged

One might not immediately see how competing in the Miss America pageant would be good preparation for giving tours at the Capitol, but just let Nikki Palmieri tell it.

Palmieri was a sophomore at Connecticut College, studying anthropology, when, on “a whim,” she decided to try her hand at pageantry.

Then something unexpected happened. Not only did she start winning the pageants — eventually taking her state’s crown as Miss Connecticut — but she also liked the competitions. And she realized the large amount of academic scholarships at stake.

“I ended up basically getting my master’s degree for free,” says Palmieri, who completed a secondary education master’s at the University of New Haven.

It’s with that education that Palmieri got a job teaching high school history in Connecticut. She now wears an official red coat and leads groups of tourists around the Capitol after taking a job last year as a tour guide with the Capitol Visitor Center.

The former pageant beauty says she moisturizes every morning, especially before applying makeup. And she makes herself get to sleep by 11 p.m. to avoid looking tired the next day.

Palmieri says she misses her students but that she didn’t know how to “turn work off,” normally coming home to work until she went to bed. As a tour guide, she still gets to focus on history, one of her passions, but she can take more time for herself and her fiance, who is the House Democratic Caucus’s creative director.

“It’s all the benefits of teaching without grading papers and without parent conferences,” she says.

–Jordy Yager

Keo Chea: Opening doors

Age: 30
Hometown: Roseville, Calif.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

She’s not normally one to hold forth on her own good looks, there being more important topics to cover, but if you get her to talk about it, Keo Chea will describe her style as a pan-global mash-up involving elements from Cambodia, from which she emigrated, to Dallas, where a free makeover in a mall taught her the makeup tips she employs to this day.

And while you could devote buckets of ink to her thick, lustrous locks and arresting eyes, she’d rather skip over that stuff entirely. Generous of spirit, voluble in conversation and possessed of one of the most infectious, melodious laughs you’ll ever hear, she’s that rarest of types: a compassionate soul with an unbending will to succeed.

See, it turns out Chea’s radiant warmth and easy approachability belie the obstacles she’s overcome to make it to Capitol Hill.

The youngest child of survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide, Chea arrived in the U.S. with her family in 1981, resettling in impoverished neighborhoods in Northern California before her parents opened a small grocery in Roseville. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Davis, followed by a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

Now counsel for the House Financial Services Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee and president of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association, Keo says she “came to D.C. because I wanted to work on issues that affected the poor and minorities” — to learn enough about the process at the federal level to return home and assist in the communities she came from.

Her biggest accomplishment so far? “I’m proud to have worked on the greatest financial regulatory reform bill in our time,” she says, “but ultimately I’d like to get back to California and open up more doors for those less fortunate.”

As for the personal stuff, “that’ll take care of itself,” she says.

– Mike Laws

Previous 10 | Next 10