Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has not responded to any of my proposals that we become best friends, graces the December cover of Vanity Fair in an ivory pantsuit, an array of flowers scattered behind her. It’s a distinctly feminine photo with Ocasio-Cortez sporting ballet-pink nail polish, her hair flowing down one shoulder, and a soft smile. It’s a photo that hides the savage ruthless undercurrent that women from the Bronx possess, waiting to be activated by just about anything: Getting cut off by a car in a different lane, being woken by kids making too much noise, and, of course, corny ass representatives harassing you on your way to work and then pretending they didn’t really mean to call you a “fucking bitch” because they have wives and daughters. Regular shit like that.
Ocasio-Cortez tells Vanity Fair that during now infamous exchange between herself and Rep. Ted Yoho, on the steps of the capitol, she froze; she didn’t know how to react in the moment to a grown man putting his finger in her face and screaming expletives after she had turned away. In Ocasio-Cortez’s birthplace of the Bronx, such an action would be perceived as Yoho’s request to be slapped up and down the Concourse. But the Congresswoman with the red lips had a better game plan. She found him the next day and told him, “You do that to me again, I won’t be so nice next time.”
This was the warning Yoho should have registered and taken as a hint to sit down and silence himself. But he instead made the fight even more public by issuing a sorry-not-sorry from the House floor. Ocasio-Cortez followed through on her promise that she wouldn’t be so nice the next time and appeared on the House floor two days later to eviscerate him armed with her signature red lipstick, a sign she and Squad member Ayanna Pressley told Vanity Fair was a sign of the verbal ass-kicking to come.
“[Ayanna] was like, ‘That’s when I knew she didn’t come to play,’ Ocasio-Cortez says of her look that day, after Pressley noted her lipstick matched her blazer. “I had a little war paint on that day, for sure.”
Whether it be her signature red lip or the fresh faced glasses-on look she sports for Oversight Committee hearings, Ocasio-Cortez’s warpaint has become a necessary part of her life, especially since, almost a full year into her first term, she continues to receive death threats. “There was a time where the volume of threats had gotten so high that I didn’t even know if I was going to live to my next term,” she said acknowledging that the support of her Squad members played a pivotal role in getting her through the first few months.
Throughout the lengthy profile covering the notable parts of Ocasio-Cortez’s life pre- and post-AOC fame, the congresswoman brings that same don’t-try-to-fight-me-because-you’ll-lose energy to some of her Republican co-workers, Neo-Nazis, and “these motherfuckers [who] are only paying $750 a year in taxes.” If they’re smart, which some are not, they’ll take the same advice she gave to Yoho and remember not to fuck with her.