Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made history in 2018 as the youngest woman ever to win a seat in Congress, and in the year since she’s become one of the most famous Democratic politicians in the country — in no small part thanks to her viral social media posts and sharp questioning at House hearings.
Even so, the sudden fame has been an adjustment.
In a new New York magazine profile, Ocasio-Cortez, now 30, says she’s missed the “anonymity” of a private life since shocking the political world and winning her primary and then general election.
“I realized this was going to be a tattoo-on-my-face kind of situation,” she told New York this week. “I can’t go outside anymore. I miss being able to go out to dinner. I miss anonymity. I have to send my boyfriend out to get groceries. There has been a shift in chores.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s unabashed progressive ideas have made her popular among liberals and a magnet for conservative criticism.
Some of the reproval is policy-based. But a lot of it is about her image, style and personality. And, like any politician with a fast-rising profile, her mistakes (big, small and insignificant) have been seized upon.
She is not shy about responding: in interviews, in Congress and on Twitter, where she has more than six million followers. According to one study, she commands a social media reach second only to President Donald Trump.
Addressing the criticism last year, she said, “He [Trump] doesn’t have another woman, Hillary Clinton or whoever else, to vilify anymore, so they need to find another woman to kind of prop up and become a lightning rod.”
"So, you won't take down lies or you will take down lies? I think that's just a pretty simple yes or no."— CSPAN (@cspan) October 23, 2019
Complete exchange between @RepAOC @AOC and Mark Zuckerberg at today's House Financial Services Cmte hearing.
Full video here: https://t.co/heT7Psnlp1 pic.twitter.com/0iiWtfU5gQ
The New York piece focuses on Ocasio-Cortez’s willingness to stick to her guns even when split from her own colleagues in the Democratic Party. She re-told the moment she joined an environmentalist group for a sit-in at Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi‘s office in order to push for the so-called “Green New Deal” about a week after winning her election.
“It was terrifying,” Ocasio-Cortez remembered, adding, “It felt like the right thing to do.”
She credited Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as her hero while saying that his longtime push to educate the public about politics is ultimately what informed her own perspective.
She has endorsed Sanders in the 2020 presidential election.
“Politics should be pop because it should be consumable and accessible to everyday people,” she said in the article. “I think that’s what populism is about.”