Alejandra Campoverdi is an alum of the Obama White House with a Masters' degree in Public Policy from Harvard. She's running for Congress. As the daughter of a single mom who is an immigrant from Mexico, Campoverdi worked hard to afford her education, even once on the pages of Maxim.
Fifteen years ago, Campoverdi worked as a model, but that does not make her any less of a serious candidate.
Being a woman in politics (let's face it, a woman in general), Campoverdi has endured nasty, unfair instances of sexism. In an essay for Cosmopolitan, she describes discrimination on the campaign trail and beyond.
“I’d rather buy you a purse,” her male friend said when she asked if he'd contribute to her campaign for Congress to represent California's 34th District.
"I, of all people, shouldn’t have been that surprised," she said. "Sexism and misogyny are nothing new in politics. Female political staffers and politicians have been facing off-color comments and leering glances and have been excluded from 'at capacity' meetings for decades."
After graduating from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 2009, Campoverdi moved to Chicago to work for then-Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
"After President Obama was elected, I was appointed to work in the White House, initially in the chief of staff’s office and later serving as the first ever White House deputy director of Hispanic media," she writes. "This moment was the fulfillment of dreams that a younger me could have never conceived, and I felt a deep sense of responsibility to translate that perspective into action at the highest level."
"Then the photos hit."
One week after she started her job in the White House, "photos from an old shoot for Maxim spread like an arsonist's fire."
Snarky headlines like "White House Maxim Model" popped up everywhere, and after all of her hard work, Alejandra Campoverdi was reduced to a caricature.
But Campoverdi was motivated to work harder:
Now, eight years later, as I run for Congress, I understand a lot more about the systemic sexism in politics than the young woman who beat herself up and took all the shaming so personally. Yet when I recently found myself forced to answer questions about Maxim by a reputable newspaper in my official announcement for Congress, I knew I had to speak out about this double standard. Enough already.
"Men get to be broad and complicated and contradictory. Yet as women, we aren't granted the whole person. We get typecast as the Sexy One, the Brainy One, the Girl Next Door. We don’t create these boxes for ourselves and usually don't agree to them, so why should we have to live within them?" she asks.
Read Alejandra Campoverdi's full piece over at Cosmopolitan.
Learn more about her Congressional campaign here.