She's going to be the voice of women in the Trump Administration.
This week, it was announced that Kellyanne Conway was appointed as a counselor to President-Elect Donald Trump, officially making her the highest-ranking woman in Trump’s White House.
Conway has been a political strategist for decades, but she definitely emerged into the mainstream consciousness when she took over as Trump’s campaign manager in August 2016.
She became a bit of media sensation in that public role — winning her praise, derision, and a fairly brutal Kate McKinnon impression on Saturday Night Live — but, regardless of how you feel about her style as a campaign manager, she definitely was a major force in getting Donald Trump elected to the presidency. And her new position in the White House reflects that.
But what does the average person really know about Conway — beyond the soundbites and SNL skits? Even if you’re not a fan of hers personally, she is about to become one of the most powerful women in American politics, so it’s worth hearing what she’s all about.
If you want to know more about who will be representing women in the White House in 2017, here are 12 things that are definitely worth learning about Kellyanne Conway.
1. She’s spent the last three decades advising Republicans how to appeal to female voters.
After working in political polling for years, Conway founded her own business, The Polling Company, which quickly became a powerful force in consumer trend polling and revamping the polling structure of the Republican Party. According to her bio on The Polling Company website, Conway was hired by the Republican National Committee to help “defeat the so-called ‘War on Women.’”
Her clients have included former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Senator Ted Cruz, and Governor Mike Pence. (And, of course, Donald Trump.)
2. Her polling record was hit-and-miss.
According to The Polling Company, “[Conway] and her team were among the few on the GOP side to predict the outcomes of major races in 2012. In 2014, all of their general election candidates won.” However, in 2008, she was publicly adamant that John McCain would win the presidential election against Barack Obama. (He did not.)
3. She is strongly anti-abortion.
In a September 1996 article in The Atlantic, Conway — then Kellyanne Fitzpatrick — argued that the abortion debate should not revolve around the right to choose, but rather the question of whether or not fetuses are living beings. She said, “You can't appeal to [women] through our wombs. We're pro-life. The fetus beat us. We grew up with sonograms. We know life when we see it."
Conway (formerly Fitzgerald) was married to litigation lawyer George T. Conway III in 2001. George worked on the sexual harassment lawsuit Paula Jones brought against former President Bill Clinton and, in 1998, it was reported in the media that George leaked details of the lawsuit to the conservative website, The Drudge Report.
5. Kellyanne and George have four children.
But they are fiercely protective of their privacy and rarely post pictures of them to social media. A few family pictures have been released and we do know that the couple have a pair of fraternal twins named Claudia and George.
6. Conway is a former beauty pageant winner.
In 1982, she won the title of "New Jersey Blueberry Princess" in the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant. She was also known as the World Champion Blueberry Packer, because she was the fastest blueberry packer on the farm she grew up on.
7. Conway was raised by strong women who recognized her early potential.
Conway grew up in Waterford Township in Camden County, New Jersey, and was primarily raised by her mother, Diane Fitzpatrick, her grandmother, Antoinette DiNatale, and her two aunts, Rita and Marie DiNatale.
Talking about Conway’s early aptitudes, her mother noted, “Kellyanne was reading by the age of 3. She loved to learn.” Another aunt, Angela Coia, said, “[Kellyanne] just had to be first. She’d stay up until 1 a.m. studying, sleep, then get up again at 3 a.m. to study some more.”
8. She earned her B.A in Political Science from Trinity College in Washington.
After graduating magna cum laude from Trinity College in Washington, she went on to study at Oxford University, and eventually earned a law degree (with honors) at George Washington University Law Center.
9. She wrote a book titled What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change The Way We Live.
Conway co-wrote this book in 2005, which, according to the promotional copy, aims to start a conversation about how modern women are "breaking the old rules about when and whether to marry and have children, living fully and equally as singles, and creating flexible, inclusive workplaces that don't sacrifice family or sanity."
10. She hasn’t always agreed with established GOP platforms.
In 2014, Conway was one of 16 GOP pollsters who signed a memo touting the benefits of comprehensive immigration form — a policy that Donald Trump openly disagrees with. The memo noted the “broad support” for such reform and argued that "most Americans don't believe deportation is a viable policy." The memo also stated that “supporting this new immigration reform proposal should be good electoral politics for Republicans.”
11. Conway and Trump don’t always agree either (allegedly).
Following the election, MSNBC reported that Trump was allegedly furious with Conway for publicly stating that many of Trump’s supporters would feel “betrayed” if he considered Mitt Romney for a cabinet position.
Conway responded to the controversy by stating that the report was categorically “false” and “sexist,” going on to note that her position was so strong with Trump, "I [can] have any job I want.” (Apparently, she was right.)
12. Conway has known Donald Trump personally for 10 years.
Conway first met Trump in early 2006 when she lived in one of his buildings. She was on the condo board of the Trump World Tower in Manhattan and admitted that she was surprised to see how personally involved Trump was with his properties. The two became friendly, and Trump started calling her to ask her opinion on certain topics.
Conway and Trump met again in 2015 to discuss his presidential bid. During this time, Trump offered her a job on his campaign.
And the rest, literally now, is presidential history.