From unknown to US Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says sudden fame is like 'a tattoo on your face'

Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got real in an interview with the Huffington Post about the toll of sudden fame.

The 30-year-old arrived in the national spotlight in 2018 after defeating a well-known and powerful incumbent in New York's 14th congressional district while working as a waitress. At 29, she became the youngest congresswoman ever. She has 5.5 million Twitter followers, is consistently targeted by President Donald Trump, and repeatedly makes national headlines and appearances on television.

She told HuffPo, “Sometimes I just want to be a human being. And you don’t get to be a human anymore. Everything you do from wearing sweatpants to the bodega to getting a haircut ― every personal decision you make for yourself is never going to be yours anymore.” 

Earlier this month, AOC shot back after a story in the conservative Washington Times criticized her for a "high-dollar hairdo," after spending $300 on her haircut, lowlights, and the tip. 

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The interview from AOC comes just days after American-born Duchess Meghan Markle of Sussex gave a raw interview on British television about the hardships of fame that went viral.

AOC had responded to the interview via tweet, “Sudden prominence is a very dehumanizing experience. There’s a part of your life that you lose, & it later dawns on you that you’ll never get it back.” 

“The people who treat you like a human make all the difference,” she continued.

AOC told HuffPo that while she has accepted her privacy will never return to normal, she added, “You kind of grieve for that. It has its highs and it has its lows. A lot of people look at the highs, but sometimes it feels like you got a tattoo on your face that you didn’t ask for. It’s hard. It’s very hard. Sometimes you just want to get a drink or eat a hamburger.”

Despite mixed feelings about all the attention, AOC said, “I can’t afford to be hidden away. In order for me to do my job, I need to be connected to people. My job is to love people. And that’s very difficult sometimes given the amount of barriers.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: AOC on sudden fame: ‘Sometimes I just want to be a human being’