Wendy Davis: from Trailer Park to Style Icon

Rick Perry Calls Texas Legislature Back For Special Second SessionWendy Davis, the State Senator from Texas, who famously sported pink sneakers to filibuster for 13 hours on the Texas Senate floor in an attempt to block an anti-abortion bill, is getting a lot of attention.  So much attention that orange is literally the new black in Texas. Supporters chose orange as the color to support her, and Texas has been flooded in orange ever since. 

As so often happens to women in politics (think the never-ending Hilary hair diaries), her looks seem to have led to a grand underestimation of her brains and determination.  Political blogger Erick Erickson dubbed her “abortion Barbie” in a recent tweet.  But don’t let her big blonde hair and high heels give you the wrong impression.

Sure, you can read about her and her fabulous fashion proclivities – from relaxing in Lulu Lemon to dressing up in Miu Miu – in the September issue of Vogue.  And many media outlets are talking about her wearing heels and not sneakers in that photo shoot; they, of course, are mightily missing the point of her big brains…No one wears heels for 13 hours! She also wore a back brace, but no one seems to be pontificating over why she’s not always wearing that.

I personally find her history even more fascinating than her fashion choices.

At an intimate lunch this weekend in Mill Valley, California, she recounted with a smile how the Republicans didn’t believe she could stand and talk for as long as she did.  But they must not have read her bio. Davis is used to hard work and a good fight. Raised by a single mother, who had a 6th grade education, Davis started working at 14.  By 19 she was a single mother herself working two jobs and living in a trailer park.  She put herself through college (the first in her family to do so) and graduated top of her class.  She moved from a Texas trailer park to Boston, where she was accepted into Harvard Law School.  All this while raising her young daughter.

In person, when pressed about the negative media/political backlash, Davis maintained her relaxed southern manor.  She seems to be taking all the interest in her in stride.  In recent interviews she discusses everything from politics to fashion, and at lunch she was approachable and very at ease in her own skin.  Davis is one of the least political heroines I have met.

Not only is she a fresh style icon, but she is also thoughtful, kind, fun and smart as a whip.  My favorite kind of icons are strong women whose iconic status has a deep meaning. Wendy Davis is just that. 

If you have the urge to run out a buy a pair of Mizuno sneakers or an orange shirt in support, hold your wallet. The best thing you can do is to take that money and donate it to her campaign.  She will be able to use that money in a Gubernatorial race if she chooses to run.