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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Chapel Hill chapter.

When you think of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the immediate visual you get is her signature bright red lip and her dangling gold hoops. AOC’s trademarked look has broken the molds of “professional wear” for young women. 

As the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress, AOC is used to following her intuition and doing the unexpected. Women have always been expected to live up to an extremely high standard when it comes to looking professional. In order to look the part, women have to meticulously plan every single detail of their appearance from the hair, to the makeup, to the outfit just to be taken seriously.

In a beauty secrets video she filmed for Vogue, AOC acknowledges how being a woman in politics comes with many criticisms and obstacles. “In politics, there is so much criticism and nitpicking about how women and fem people present ourselves. Just being a woman is quite politicized here in Washington,” AOC said. 

However, AOC doesn’t let this keep her from breaking these beauty standards. She chooses to stay true to herself by wearing what makes her feel confident and beautiful. As she says, “femininity is power.” 

AOC wears her bold red lip as a way to unapologetically express her individuality as a woman and a proud Latina — red lipstick and hoops being staples of Latinx culture. 

In the same video, AOC pays homage to her Latin culture by saying, “And of course, being Latina, this is like very much our culture where we come from. I will wear a red lip when I want confidence, when I need a boost of confidence.”

Ultimately, as women, we should wear what makes us feel the most unstoppable without fear of what others may think, and AOC is leading by example. With all of the things AOC has accomplished in her still very young political career, she is a perfect example that wearing red lipsticks and hoops does not, in any way, correlate to professionalism. 

AOC’s decision to wear red lipstick is redefining how women dress in a work environment and she is inspiring other women to not be afraid to put their own special twist on everyday work attire. 

Sabrina Ortiz

Chapel Hill '22

Sabrina was born and raise in New York and came to UNC to pursue her passion for journalism. In her free time, you can find her reading, rewatching Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time, or cuddling with her dog. She hopes to use this platform to connect with people through her stories.