Image Credits: Courtesy of Karly Matthews

Everyone has a “hero” they look up to. Usually, it’s someone they think they’ll never get the chance to meet, but they would die to anyway. Well, you also know what they say about them: ”don’t meet your heroes.” It’s not uncommon to hear stories about how people finally came face-to-face with their heroes only to find they weren’t as funny, were downright mean, or just didn’t live up to the hype. I’ve found that in conservative politics though, that’s not the case. In conservative politics, for the most part, it’s okay to meet your heroes.

They might be just as great as the seem on TV.

Or they might be even nicer in person.

They might remember you when they see you later.

They might offer you sincere career advice.

Or they might just inspire you to keep fighting for the future. 

Let’s take a look at six young women who got the chance to meet their conservative heroes and how it turned out for them. 

Karly: Nikki Haley

I met my conservative hero, Nikki Haley, at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce dinner this past September. It was a brief interaction, but I really struck by not only how many people wanted to have a moment with former Ambassador Haley, but how gracious she was during each reaction. I was able to talk to her about Future Female Leaders’ mission, of which she has been very vocally supportive. Her backing of young women, specifically those involved in politics, is really inspiring to me. I admire that with as much career success as she has experienced in recent years, she still wants to give back and pay it forward.

Natalia: Rachel Campos Duffy

I met my conservative hero, Rachel Campos Duffy, at a Clare Booth Luce Women’s Center  event last summer. She was honored as their Woman of the Year. At the event, she spoke about the importance of limited government, particularly for female empowerment and advancement. After her speech, I had the opportunity to speak with Rechel one-on-one about the natural entrepreneurial spirit of the Hispanic community and her work with the Libre Initiative to assist Hispanic Americans in growing their businesses. There are not many female Hispanic leaders in the conservative movement, so meeting Rachel and sharing our stories reminded me that, in America, anyone who works hard can achieve their dreams and positively shape this country’s future. Rachel was so kind and down to earth, she genuinely took the time to connect with me. Meeting her was an unforgettable experience that solidified her spot in my mind as a conservative icon.

Aryssa: Jeb Bush

I met my conservative hero, Jeb Bush, when he came to speak at my school during my senior year of college. I’d actually met him before at an event at CPAC, but this was a chance to spend more time with him and actually speak to him, instead of getting shuffled through a photo op line. Not only was it amazing to sit down with him in an intimate setting and talk about his thoughts on education policy and the future of the American electorate, but I was lucky enough to get the chance to walk him back to his hotel. Along that walk, we talked books (he had published a book with the company I was working for at the time), my own history with conservatism, but more than that, I was amazed how often we were stopped by random people on the street who just wanted to shake his hand and thank him. He was so gracious with each and every one of them. 

Marissa: Dana Perino

A few months before my 16th birthday, my mother wrote a letter to Dana Perino, telling her that she was my biggest role model, and that I was an avid fan of hers. My mom got a prompt response from the producer of The Five inviting me to come meet Dana and watch a taping of her show. On my 16th birthday, I got a sealed envelope with a note: I would be going to New York City to meet Dana! From the moment we met, Dana treated me with the utmost respect, like I was a colleague of hers! She took time to get to know me, and my aspirations for the future. We have kept in touch since that day over a year ago. I couldn’t be more grateful to my conservative hero for her kindness and mentorship. It is something I hope to emulate in my life, as I remember to help the “next guy in line.” 

Bailey: Ted Cruz

The summer of 2018 I was interning for Congress. Being a conservative in Seattle is never easy, therefore when I had the opportunity to work in Washington DC, surrounded by some like-minded individuals for the first time, I jumped at the opportunity. While elected officials are all around I was most hopeful to meet Senator Ted Cruz from the state of Texas. I had been a long time fan of his since around 2015. Then, I learned that he and his staff hosted a “Texas Tuesday” meet and greet whenever he was in town, open to both his constituents and the public. I immediately asked my boss for the morning off and was graciously granted time to head to the senate building and finally meet my conservative hero. Wearing my best outfit and eagerly waiting in line, I was like a child on Christmas morning, except I was twenty years old and about to shake hands with a senator. I was flooded with excitement. What would I say? How could I sum up my admiration as well as all of the questions I wanted to ask him into a simple one minute interaction? When it was my turn I strolled toward him and shook his hand. We exchanged introductions and then I proceeded to ask him what his advice would be to a college conservative living on a very liberal campus in a liberal state. He pondered the question then confidently replied that I should always stand for liberty and have fun, because I was only in college once and I should use that to enjoy my time as well as work hard for my future. A photo was taken and we said goodbye. The entire encounter seemed to have flown by and I excitedly called my family to tell them all about it . Later that day  I was walking through the underground tunnel system and to my surprise Senator Cruz was heading toward me, surrounded by a team of press and staffers. He was engulfed in an interview so I tried to remain to the side of the hallway so as not to get in his way but amidst his conversation he turned to me, smiled and gave a wave. He remembered meeting me! I couldn’t stop smiling thrilled having seen my conservative hero twice! This experience remains one of the most treasured times I shared during my internship. I will continue to uphold liberty as long and of course, make sure to have fun! 

Kendall: President Trump

When I was a senior in high school, I was selected as a delegate to the United States Senate Youth Program. Through this program, we had the opportunity to visit the White House and meet President Trump (we also took a group picture that actually made it onto his official Instagram). I was amazed at the warmth he exuded and the kindness he showed towards us. He took the time to shake as many hands as possible and congratulate us all for our accomplishment. It felt more like a dream than reality, to meet such an amazing hero of mine and to be met with such welcome and kindness beyond what I even expected. VP Pence was also in attendance and was kind and welcoming, shaking hands as well, as the president joked around with him. It was so bizarre to see someone as powerful and iconic as our president cracking jokes and being so normal and fun. First Lady Melania showed up as well, surprising even the president, and she blew me away with the warmth that surrounded her. She was even more beautiful in person, primarily because of her big smile and the joy that she exuded in that room with us. The whole experience brought tears to my eyes, as well as really humanized the office of the president, and it is one that I will forever cherish so dearly.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member