The Hill Life: 50 Most Beautiful


Every year, The Hill newspaper publishes its list of the 50 Most Beautiful people on Capitol Hill.  Staffers, lobbyists, press and other Hill denizens are nominated by the public, photographed by the paper and then the final 50 are chosen and ranked by the staff at The Hill.

In past years, I have used the release of the “50MB” list to decry fashion faux pas, bad interviews and awkward photo poses.  I’ve been snarky.  I’ve been funny.  And occasionally, I’ve been harsh (but trust me, no harsher than the hoards of staffers poring over their copies of The Hill).

Sadly, this year is different.  Having changed jobs and surrendered the warm, protective veil of anonymity, I will not be able to wax acerbic about this year’s list with the same depth and breadth as years past.

My unhappiness about my decision only deepened when I cracked open my copy of the paper to reveal that the Hill’s Most Beautiful person, Max Engling, while handsome, was wearing a black, waxed canvas blazer and a black skinny tie like some kind of B-movie villain lurking in a dark alley during a rain storm. I turned another page and found that The Hill had compared the second most beautiful person to a Kardashian (because doesn’t everyone want to be compared to a sociopathic fame whore in print, preserved on the web for all eternity?).

It was at that point that I resolved to stop reading.  Further discoveries of comedic material would only compound my grief.  What would I do if I spotted a woman in an evening gown (it has happened before)?  Or a man in a graphic t-shirt and Converse sneakers (ditto)? 

No, I would not torture myself by reading on.  However, if you would like to take a gander at the people chosen to be this year’s 50 Most Beautiful, click here.

On a related note, Virginia and I were G-Chatting yesterday, and she brought up an interesting point: The Hill is a place where power, proximity to power, intelligence and knowledge are heavily valued, so why does making a list of the allegedly most-beautiful matter?  Or does it matter?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Update: Also, Max Engling should be much more proud of being featured in National Journal today for his work to improve the Congressional Summer Intern Lecture series, than he should be of being in 50MB. He should also burn that jacket, or start looking for extra work in spy movies.



  1. M says:

    When The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful people came out, I immediately opened a new window to your site – getting ready to read your spot-on commentary. So bummed to find this post now. However, I think your last question is spot on: Does it matter? It does matter, in demonstrating how unserious these staffers are. Anyone in Washington DC knows that this type of press is just too over the top self-referential that it detracts from your substantive professional background – and frankly, it makes people take you less seriously. Hence why elected officials, while on this list, rarely publicly comment. I read this list every summer to see who has made the rookie mistake of accepting being interviewed. But I still read it! cover to cover!

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  2. V says:

    I agree with M. Where's the commentary?!

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  3. TL says:

    Some of these women need to buy a brush. I know Washington weather is hard on hair, but I wouldn't let my toddler walk around like that.

    As to your question, it doesn't matter. So you were 50MB, were you also homecoming queen or prettiest Delta Kappa Gamma? It's on the same level.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  4. Lainey says:

    Totally bummed that there's no commentary. But I get it, wouldn't want you to lose your job or something.

    P.S. Your 2010 recap nailed my ex-boyfriend perfectly.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  5. Helena says:

    Warren White (#5)– yowza!

    Marian White (#6)– why did she pose with her hand behind her head? It's like a bad Glamour Shots moment.

    Michele Bachmann (#10)– I have no words.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  6. Jill says:

    on top of the bad poses and bad hair the paper should be sued for not including Rep. Aaron Schock from Illinois!!! What the heck!!! Rep. Schock is much better looking and better dressed than any of the 50 selected!!

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  7. Belle says:

    Jill: He's already been in. You can only be in once.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  8. C says:

    It doesn't matter. Literally no one outside of the DC area cares! Meaning it holds little value among the majority of people.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  9. L says:

    I disagree with C. I'm not anywhere close to the Hill, but I cared only because Belle's review of the top 50s' pictures was one of my favorite posts of the year. I totally understand but am also a little bummed. Maybe you can compensate with extra snark in the awards show reviews…

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  10. Belle says:

    L: Done. I'll be extra rude to those overpaid bitches this year.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  11. Erin M. says:

    While I'll miss the snark and sass, could you comment as to a few people who, in your opinion. got it right stylistically?

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  12. Annon says:

    I was nominated and photographed for it once. I was seriously on the fence about it, but since my coworkers had nominated me, I went along. I was not selected, and I can't tell you how grateful I was.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  13. CynthiaW says:

    It's the most bizarre thing ever – I really don't understand the point of this list. Was it some kind of answer to the idea that everyone in government work is frumpy and unattractive?

    I do agree that it could serve to undermine the serious work that someone is doing when they appear on this list – especially allowing yourself to be compared to a Kardashian? What the hell?

    I am very sad that you won't be commenting though- that's the only part of it that I looked forward to. Can't we go some super secret place and you could comment there? Sigh.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  14. Lindy says:

    At first I thought, wow, you have to be REALLY young to be considered beautiful in DC. Then I got to Michele Crazy Eyes I knew this was some kind of joke.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  15. Larissa says:

    Brynn Rovito, lawyer for Senate sergeant at arms: “I’m not a Tory Burch-and-pearls type of person.”

    Hahaha. There are some gems in there.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  16. Belle says:

    Lindy: Everyone in D.C. is younger than you would think. So having a crop of 25 year olds is standard. Also, I don't understand a woman whose being told “You're are beautiful” and doesn't want to say her age. So you're 40, get over it.

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  17. JulieY says:

    I don't live in the DC area (Philly) and had never heard of this list before. But would have enjoyed the past commentary!

    July 25, 2012/Reply
  18. chelsea says:

    I miss your snarky commentary, but also feel like now I am saved from having to comb through the entire list (yes, I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons). Frankly, I am already bored and not even at beautiful person number 20. DC either ran out of beautiful people this year or the real beautiful people had too much self-respect to be listed.

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  19. CynthiaW says:

    lol at Chelsea – I'm glad someone else said it because I was feeling like I must be really bitchy today. I looked at the whole 50 and all I could think was the list should be called “5 really good looking people and 45 average to slightly above average looking people.” Out of the whole list I only found #5 to be truly beautiful – but then I read Belle's comment that they didn't allow repeats from previous years, so I'm guessing that leaves out a whole pool of really great looking people.

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  20. Jamie says:

    Since we don't get Belle's fabulous snarky commentary, check out Fishbowl DC's comments. Literally laughing so hard I was crying!

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  21. Caroline says:

    You people are too critical! I've only made it halfway through the list so far, but I think the women on it are all very pretty and I haven't seen a lot of fashion mistakes. It also shows a lot of diversity which outsiders might not realize we have here. I like that the writeups seem to be focusing on healthy lifestyle choices (although I always found the obligatory relationship status question to be invasive and silly).

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  22. Umphie says:

    While I think enthusiastically participating with a nomination to the List is very narcissistic, the whole “DC must have run out of beautiful people” comes off as pretty cruel. Style mistakes, sure those are funny. But what do you want on the list? 50 completely symmetrical faces that all look the same? Jesus.

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  23. Jess says:

    Ah yes. Making fun of people's looks IS easier when no one knows what YOU look like. But I guess that comes with no longer being anonymous (also, this is the first time you've referred to yourself as such; it's always been 'pseudonymous' No comment on that per se, but I just thought it was interesting.)

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  24. Belle says:

    Jess: Now that people know who I am, they also know who employs me and who my coworkers are and who my former Boss is. If it were just me, I still would have written it. But D.C. is famous for guilt by association, and I didn't want to cause an issue for anyone else.

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  25. FFS says:

    Ignore “Jess” (if that is in fact her/his real name!), “Belle” (which we know isn't your real name). You did the smart thing.

    People who put themselves on these lists never realize that not all judgments will be positive. Anyone shallow enough to want to be on a list like this probably can't take being told that their outfit stunk and that they look like they're posing for a Sears Portrait Studio shot.

    This year's list was much better than some years past. I'll never forget the staffer in the Oscar de la Renta evening gown or the one who said her goal was to marry a Congressman and host “salons” for all the D.C. intellectuals. Brutal.

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  26. KLB says:

    I was horrified to find a friend of mine in the list. I do not want to know how she got there.

    July 26, 2012/Reply
  27. Annie says:

    While I can't say that any of those people are downright ugly, I only saw about four or five who would actually be considered BEAUTIFUL on a national level. Most of the people in that article would be nothing more than Plain Janes and Average Joes if they were in certain areas of the south or California. If this is what's considered gorgeous on Capitol Hill, the saying “DC is the Hollywood for ugly people” must really be true.

    August 1, 2012/Reply