On August 17, 2016, Kellyanne Conway made history when she was named Donald Trump’s campaign manager. Not only did she become the first woman to ever run a Republican presidential campaign, but she also did so successfully. It’s impressive to say the least, and while Conway managed to hold herself together incredibly well, the 49-year-old political veteran didn’t just get to that point in her career by chance — she worked her ass off spending the last three decades advising Republicans how to appeal to female voters.
Many said that Ivanka Trump was Donald Trump’s secret weapon, but we think Kellyanne Conway might be more deserving of the title. Here’s eight things you didn’t know about Donald Trump’s right hand woman, but should.
1. She’s a former pageant winner.
In 1982, Kellyanne Conway won the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant, according to conservative news site Newsmax. She was also named the World Champion Blueberry Packer after she spent eight summers packing blueberries on a farm. Apparently she was the fastest picker. Good for you, Kellyanne Conway!
2. She’s from Jersey.
Specifically, she’s from Atco, New Jersey, located in the Southern part of the state and relatively close to Atlantic City. Jersey girl in the house, y’all!
3. She’s the first woman to serve as campaign manager for a Republican presidential candidate.
The 49-year-old has quite the GOP clientele. As the president and CEO of the Polling Company — which she founded in 1995 — Conway has worked with political big wigs like Mike Pence, Newt Gingrich, Steve King and Michele Bachmann, and large organizations such as FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, National Rifle Association, and Family Research Council. Then she became the campaign manager for Donald Trump and obviously, the rest is history.
4. She worked for Ted Cruz’s campaign first.
Before Conway aimed to Make America Great Again, she ran a Ted Cruz super PAC called Keep the Promise 1, which sought to raise money in support of the candidate. According to CNN, she also made the maximum allowable personal donation — $5,400 — to Cruz’s campaign before he stepped out of the race.
5. She’s nicknamed “The Trump Whisperer”
In 2006, Kellyanne Conway first met Donald Trump while she was living in one of his buildings. She also served on the condo board of the Trump World Tower, located in Manhattan. After their initial meeting, Trump contacted Conway throughout the years to discuss her media appearances. Then in 2015, the two met again to discuss his presidential bid. He immediately offered her a position on his campaign team, but she initially declined over fears of how the public would view their partnership. When Cruz’s campaign collapsed, she realized that Trump was a serious presidential contender and eventually joined his team.
6. She’s smart AF.
Graduating magna cum laude from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., Conway earned herself a degree in political science, then continued her education at Oxford University. While there, she joined the school’s honors society Phi Beta Kappa and eventually earned a law degree from George Washington University Law Center. She graduated with honors.
7. She’s a mom.
In 2001, Conway married New York lawyer George T. Conway III and had four children with him, including one set of twins. But before she married the prestigious attorney, she was quite the hot commodity. She was also linked to the late Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, who was a Republican lawmaker and former Law & Order actor.
8. She’s not a fan of Mitt Romney.
Ok, this one you might already know. When news broke that former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was being considered for the secretary of state position, Kellyanne Conway was not having it, and she made it known during a heated interview with CNN. Romney was one of the many Republicans who came out against Trump during his presidential campaign.
“I’m all for party unity, but I’m not sure we have to pay for that with the secretary of state position,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash during the segment “State of the Union. “It’s just breathtaking in scope and intensity the type of messages I’ve received from all over the country … the number of people who feel betrayed to think that Gov. Romney would get the most prominent Cabinet post after he went so far out of his way to hurt Donald Trump.”
She also discussed her thoughts about the possible appointment on “Meet The Press,” adding, “I’m not campaigning against anyone, I’m just a concerned citizen. We don’t even know if he voted for Donald Trump.”
However, in a later tweet Conway stated that she would respect Trump’s decision either way.