A Harvard graduate and former White House staffer for the Obama administration, Alejandra Campoverdi has a sparkling resume that should make her campaign for Congress easy — except people can't seem to get over the fact that she modeled for Maxim. This isn't even the first time that Campoverdi has had to deal with this issue. After becoming the White House's first-ever deputy director of Hispanic media, she was met with sexists criticism. She was labeled "Obama's Hottie" when several news outlets ran with the sensational scoop, but Campoverdi stuck to her work and it eventually passed. Now, after announcing her run for Congress, she is again facing sexist backlash. And this time, she's not taking it.
After announcing her run for Congress, Alejandra Campoverdi was once again being questioned about her modeling past and not what her plans as Congresswoman would be. Campoverdi decided enough is enough and wrote an essay for Cosmopolitan to shine a light on her plight, and the plight of so many other women. Campoverdi writes:
"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."
Campoverdi is running for California's 34th District on a platform to save the Affordable Care Act — something that, as her campaign slogan explains, is personal. Growing up a first generation American to a single mother who emigrated from Mexico, Campoverdi did not have the privileged upbringing that some of her Harvard counterparts did. Relying on welfare and Medicaid, she watched her mother and grandmother fight to support her. After losing her grandmother to breast cancer and watching her mother survive it, Campoverdi got herself checked and tested positive for BRCA2 — a gene that makes it extremely likely to get breast cancer. She has opted to have a double mastectomy in the coming future. Health care and women's health care have become incredibly important parts of Campoverdi's campaign. Aside from being a healthcare crusader, Campoverdi has made her mark in the media world as well. After working in the White House for three years, Capoverdi left to help launch the now-media giant Fusion. Then, she worked for the Los Angeles Times, but now, she is devoting herself to her congressional campaign.
With the plethora of knowledge and experiences that Alejandra Campoverdi has, it seems a shame that it is all overshadowed by a few photos because people can't separate female sexuality from intelligence and competency, and that is exactly what Campoverdi is standing for. In her essay for Cosmo, she explains how she refuses to apologize or be ashamed for the very experiences that made her the woman she is today. She encourages more women to leap past controversies that might otherwise keep them from great achievements and encourages the public to have a more diverse view of women:
"Now more than ever, we must recognize and accept the complexity of real women, and celebrate them in their quest for leadership roles. Whole, multidimensional women. Please throw your name in the arena, whichever one you're in — because it only gets better every time one of us tries.
'We do not need to be cleared for contention. And we can buy our own damn purses."
To say that Alejandra Campoverdi is the Congressional fighter we've all been waiting for is an understatement. She is the embodiment of a strong woman on a mission and she won't let anything or anyone get in her way. We'll happily follow that path.
Top photo via Alejandra Campoverdi campaign website.
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