Fiona Hill tells the sad ending to her viral pigtail story

Kathryn Krawczyk

Fiona Hill has been in tougher spots than this.

While a panel of congressmembers staring down at you in an impeachment hearing seems undeniably intimidating, Hill, a former National Security expert on Russia, seemed unmoved throughout her testimony Thursday. But her unflappable attitude didn't come out of nowhere. As The New York Times reports and Hill confirmed Thursday, she's been issuing nonchalant responses to risky situations since her grade school days.

Hill often tells the story of a time when she was 11 years old and taking a test in her classroom. While she worked, a boy in her class set one of her pigtails on fire. But Hill didn't overreact; instead, she used her hand to put out the flames and turned back to her work.

After the story started circulating Thursday, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) brought it up to Hill during her testimony. Hill confirmed it was true, and without a hint of a smile, said it was a story she "often tell[s] because it had some very unfortunate consequences."

"Afterwards, my mother gave me a bowl haircut," Hill continued. "So for the school photograph later in that week, I looked like Richard the Third, or as if I'm going to be a permanent play."

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