Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Most Inspiring Quotes Yet

By: Michelle Zuluaga

Traditionally, as women, we have not always been deemed worthy of a seat at the table. Yet, it is with immense pride that we can now acknowledge that times are changing and a new dawn is upon us. Many notable women have fought throughout time for the rights that our gender deserves, to crack that glass ceiling just a little bit more for the next woman in line. Recently emerged, one of our modern-day pioneers is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a U.S. representative for the 14th district of New York. To begin unraveling her sphere of power, she is a 29-year old Latina woman from the Bronx, who is now historically the youngest representative ever sworn into Congress. That sentence alone breaks more barriers for women than we can imagine. It is women like her who empower others to persist in their own strides, so to keep the cycle moving let’s look at Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s most inspiring moments for all of us to break barriers in our own way.

Photography: Gillian Laub

Photography: Gillian Laub

Owning Our Slay:

Being under scrutiny for more than just her political views, Ocasio-Cortez has received criticism on her wardrobe choices on many different occasions which has allowed her to master the art of the clapback in retaliation. Social media went into frenzy when an interview with Interview Magazine went live with shots of Ocasio-Cortez in an all green Gabriela Heart suit and Manolo Blahnik pumps. The masses criticized her outfit choice for being expensive and designer to which she quickly reminded them that in photoshoots, you don’t get to keep the clothes. Her ultimate clapback and gem of a statement was, “Get used to me slaying lewks because I am an excellent thrift shopper,” reminding all women to own our slay no matter the circumstance.

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Defying Beauty Standards:

Unrealistic beauty standards are the cherry on top of what women have to endure as an exterior pressure to our expectations. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made her presence known through her statement red lips and iconic hoop earrings. She has managed to defy standards in a political industry that is not accustomed to having women in the field. Hoop earrings are traditionally not seen as professional attire as well as red lipstick which has a history of being associated with “scandalous women.” Her response to these standards is that the “Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a Congresswoman.” Ocasio-Cortez stuck to her iconic look to inspire other women to feel free in expressing who they are, without apologies.

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Dance Like Nobody's Watching:

Women are the backbone of our communities, especially our families. What many fail to realize is that the gift of strength can also come with immense pressure and responsibility to always maintain our composure. Just like any other situation, we must balance responsibility with freedom - freedom to simply stop and breathe sometimes. Ocasio-Cortez is a Congresswoman, who outside of policies likes to stop and dance for a minute. So after being criticized for an older video of her dancing, she responded the best way she knew how - she kept dancing. As women, we are the only ones who truly understand what we go through so if you ever feel like you need to dance like nobody’s watching, do it. You deserve to breathe too, sis.

Photography: Patrick Semansky

Photography: Patrick Semansky

Say My Name:

One of the most unique qualities of each individual are our names. Names bear the history of our ancestors and are a key puzzle piece to our identities. It is for this reason that Ocasio-Cortez has made it a point for others to say her name correctly as a basic sign of respect. In an immediate response to Fox News she called them out asking, “...why can’t any of your anchors say my name correctly? It’s been 5 months.” The pride she takes in her full name and its enunciation inspires us women to do the same. From now on, say our names correctly or don’t say them at all.

Photography: Jim Benett

Photography: Jim Benett

Trust the Timing of Your Life:

Life does not always go as planned, our paths often shift in other directions. Yet, these should not be seen as failures but rather divine misdirection. Ocasio-Cortez has proved this firsthand through her own journey. When talking about her story she explains how at 25, she went from just waitressing to survive to turning 28 and winning her first primary for Congress with no personal health insurance plan. Her advice to inspire other women is, “You’re never too late, too early, or too imperfect to care for yourself or pursue your dreams.” If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can teach us anything, it is a lesson in faith and the passion in fighting for your dreams.