“50 Most Beautiful”

“50 Most Beautiful”

Photo credit: Janet Donovan

Say it anyway you like – bella, guapa, bonita, vacker, schön, 美丽, güzel – The Hill’s “In the Know” columnist Judy Kurtz says beautiful this way – “Beautiful is…our 2015 50 Most Beautiful list!  Forget 2016,” she told Hollywood on the Potomac prior to the event at Longview Gallery, “the big campaign here in Washington this year was for our 50 Most Beautiful list! We had hundreds upon hundreds of nominees — a record-breaking amount — vying for a spot on our 12th annual list. The competition was stiff (and beautiful) but The Hill’s staff managed to whittle down the contenders to come up with our 50 winners.”


“50 Most Beautiful has become a fun summer tradition in this town,” former list winner Neil Grace told us. “Right when DC turns into a swamp in July and August, The Hill’s list makes everyone feel just a little bit cooler. It’s always great to celebrate those who get the nominations.”  We can vouch for the fun part, but not ‘cooler.’ We left the number for Saini Air Conditioning with the gallery on the way out.


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spokesman Neil Grace and Judy Kurtz

“You’ve been at the parties; you’ve seen the list. It’s tough being number 51 year after year. So this year I’m very humble to be part of the group,” Christopher Gindlesperger told us. “I guess a good friend nominated me. There’s some great people that are mutual friends, so I imagine that’s the way I got on list. It’s a big mystery. They kind of keep it under lock and key. It’s all about promoting friends and people coming together and just having a good time.” He was, of course, pleasantly surprised to be able to leave his least desired number (51) behind and make this year’s list.


Katy McKegney with Christopher Gindlesperger

Publisher Adam Prather was happy for his staff. “This is an opportunity to have fun. We’re a serious newspaper, so this is an opportunity to let your hair down a little bit and just have fun. It’s community for the most part. We can’t be serious 24/7.”

The Hill’s Editor in Chief Bob Cusack explained the process for the nominations for which he gives credit to his staff.  “We started this list in 2004 and it’s a list that everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to get on……law-makers, congressional staffers, journalists. A lot of the staff gets involved to make the nominations and we get a lot of opinions from them as to what is beautiful. I think it’s really impossible to define beautiful because everybody has their own opinion; so that’s why we’ve set up the process where we take nominations and get a lot of people’s opinions of what beauty is which you know is a cliche, but it truly is in the eye of the beholder,” he explained to us.


Todd Flournoy and Suzanne Kianpour

“This year there were over five hundred nominations, which I believe is a record,” Cusack added. “We just keep getting bigger and bigger every year, so it takes more time to go through five hundred people. You look at the list, you whittle it down, you do some photo shoots, and that’s when the voting internally happens.”  He also explained that they do photo shoots before the decisions are made.  They don’t do all five hundred of course so it is at the discretion of the editor. “We will say ‘okay, we’re going to do X amount,’ whether that’s one hundred, or a little more than a hundred. Then we have the voting where the entire staff will get some donuts and everybody has fun.  We tell people ‘okay, listen, to be considered we’ve got to do the photo shoot’ and those people feel like they’ve made it past a certain round, so they feel pretty good. And the thing is, if they don’t make the final fifty, they can make it the following year. That has happened before.”


Cusack later welcomed the boisterous crowd where he thanked sponsors and boasted that even candidates who are running for President want to get on this list. “I’ve just been told that Donald Trump just complained on twitter about not being on the list. And apparently he Lindsey Grahamed me. So I guess I will be phone shopping this weekend.”

Sponsors included America’s Beer Distributors and Congressional Federal Credit Union.


Rebecca Miller Spicer, VP of Public Affairs & Communications for the National Beer Wholesalers Association

Carl Ray, makeup artist to The First Lady, didn’t do any campaigning to be on the list, so he’s guessing that all his friends voted for him. “It’s nice to be recognized.”  We’re jealous — not about the list – but that Michelle Obama has Carl Ray on tap.  Last month we attended a MORE magazine cover story luncheon.  Ray did the makeup.  See it, read it here.


Carl Ray

“I don’t know why I got this,” said Cassie Roper. “Actually, when I was in my interview with Ashley (Perks), she said, ‘You know, a lot of people nominated you.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, really?’ because I don’t live in DC. I’m not really in DC other than to work. I’m like, ‘I don’t know that many people.’ I live in Annapolis, Maryland. I commute every single day, but it’s not a bad commute. I work for Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) from San Diego. I’m his Legislative Correspondent and I also handle Drug Policy for the office. I’ll be taking on more soon. Being on the 50 Most Beautiful is a great thing to have on my resume, anything that shows that you’re well-rounded is a good thing. It’s kind of served as a great talking point for the office, really.” Cassie’s dad was chief of staff for former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R. Fla.). “I spent a lot of my childhood prancing around the halls of Cannon.”


Cassie Roper with Teresa Davis

Teresa Davis is a Legislative Correspondent for Congressman Tom Cole. “Basically, I sort of just sift through mail all day,” she said.  “Since I’m a former Miss DC –  I was Miss DC 2014 – I’ve done a lot of work outside of the Hill. I competed in the Miss America pageant last year, but I’m done with pageants now. It’s great to focus on my career, so it was nice to be recognized on the list. It’s good.