Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explains how bartending gave her the skills to grill powerful people in Congress

Isobel van Hagen
Wednesday 26 August 2020 15:00
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(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC, is known - among many other things - for her savvy social media-style and Twitter takedowns.

Her Instagram stories are particularly useful when it comes to getting inside the mind of the freshman congresswoman. On her stories earlier this week, AOC allowed us all the understand how she prepares for a task for which she has gained a lot of attention: her sharp and smart questioning during hearings.

"AOC has shown a remarkable ability to extract energizing viral moments from stale bureaucratic meetings. She turns complex political concepts into snappy soundbites and boring old politics into much-talked-about spectacle," Poppy Noor wrote in The Guardian, explaining how the congresswoman has made historically unwatched hearings into 'electrifying moments'.

In sharing her preparation for this process, the popular Democrat from the Bronx described her approach:

To me, the key challenge of a hearing isn’t actually identifying questions to ask - it’s figuring out what to ask & say and fit it into 5 minutes for a high profile, often non-cooperative witness.

In the past, AOC has grilled the likes of Michael Cohen and Mark Zuckerberg, and most recently, the postmaster general Louis DeJoy.

She showed that she uses sticky notes to improve her line of questioning, and that she studies the psychology of the witness beforehand.

I adapt my words and vibe to complement the situation. Where do I learn and refine this psychological skillset? BARTENDING.

Before joining Congress, Ocasio-Cortez worked as a bartender and waitress, and as often attributed her success in government to her experiences in the service industry.

Despite receiving a lot of mocking of her background from her rivals, AOC, as usual, has an apt response.

She tweeted in 2019: “I find it revealing when people mock where I came from… But our job is to serve, not rule.”

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