Politics How Kellyanne Conway became one of America's most powerful political operatives

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Despite her high-profile role now, Donald Trump's senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, comes from modest roots

Kellyanne Conway. play

Kellyanne Conway.

(AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

In a single year, senior presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway has gone from an obscure political pundit and operative to a household name.

Widely revered by Trump supporters, she's largely credited with helping Trump make the ascent from billionaire entertainer to the White House, and rarely a day goes by that she isn't being interviewed on TV as the face of the Trump administration.

Contrary to her high-profile role now, Conway comes from a relatively modest background.

Check out the photos below to see her journey from a small-town native to one of the most influential women in the country.

Kellyanne Conway was born Kellyanne Fitzpatrick in Camden, New Jersey to a mother who was a banker and a father who owned a small trucking business. Her parents divorced when she was 3, and Conway was raised by her mother, two aunts, and grandmother.

Kellyanne Conway was born Kellyanne Fitzpatrick in Camden, New Jersey to a mother who was a banker and a father who owned a small trucking business. Her parents divorced when she was 3, and Conway was raised by her mother, two aunts, and grandmother. play

Kellyanne Conway was born Kellyanne Fitzpatrick in Camden, New Jersey to a mother who was a banker and a father who owned a small trucking business. Her parents divorced when she was 3, and Conway was raised by her mother, two aunts, and grandmother.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Conway worked at a blueberry farm for eight summers. "Everything I learned about life and business started on that farm," she told NJ Advance Media. "The faster you went, the more money you'd make. I wouldn't stop to drink for hours. I would just keep going," she said. Conway even won the world championship Blueberry Packing Competition when she was 20.

Conway worked at a blueberry farm for eight summers. "Everything I learned about life and business started on that farm," she told NJ Advance Media. "The faster you went, the more money you'd make. I wouldn't stop to drink for hours. I would just keep going," she said. Conway even won the world championship Blueberry Packing Competition when she was 20. play

Conway worked at a blueberry farm for eight summers. "Everything I learned about life and business started on that farm," she told NJ Advance Media. "The faster you went, the more money you'd make. I wouldn't stop to drink for hours. I would just keep going," she said. Conway even won the world championship Blueberry Packing Competition when she was 20.

(Thomson Reuters)

 

Source: NJ.com

Though she was raised in New Jersey, Conway has called Washington, D.C. her adopted home. She graduated magna cum laude from Trinity College with a degree in political science, and later attended George Washington University Law School, graduating with honors. She was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious honor society.

Though she was raised in New Jersey, Conway has called Washington, D.C. her adopted home. She graduated magna cum laude from Trinity College with a degree in political science, and later attended George Washington University Law School, graduating with honors. She was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious honor society. play

Though she was raised in New Jersey, Conway has called Washington, D.C. her adopted home. She graduated magna cum laude from Trinity College with a degree in political science, and later attended George Washington University Law School, graduating with honors. She was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious honor society.

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Conway is married to litigation partner George T. Conway III, who works at the law firm, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The couple has four children together, and they used to live in New York City before eventually moving to NJ right before Bill de Blasio became mayor. "I wanted to count as part of the de Blasio flight to the suburbs," Conway said.

Kellyanne Conway arrives at Trump Tower with her daughter in New York City, U.S. January 2, 2017. play

Kellyanne Conway arrives at Trump Tower with her daughter in New York City, U.S. January 2, 2017.

(Thomson Reuters)

Source: NJ.com

Kellyanne Conway launched her career as a political strategist when she began working for Dick Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan's pollster. In 1995, she founded her own polling firm, The Polling Company. The firm's clients have included Newt Gingrich, Todd Akin, Rep. Steve King, Michele Bachmann, and Vice President Mike Pence. It has also done work for the National Rifle Association and the Heritage Foundation.

Kellyanne Conway launched her career as a political strategist when she began working for Dick Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan's pollster. In 1995, she founded her own polling firm, The Polling Company. The firm's clients have included Newt Gingrich, Todd Akin, Rep. Steve King, Michele Bachmann, and Vice President Mike Pence. It has also done work for the National Rifle Association and the Heritage Foundation. play

Kellyanne Conway launched her career as a political strategist when she began working for Dick Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan's pollster. In 1995, she founded her own polling firm, The Polling Company. The firm's clients have included Newt Gingrich, Todd Akin, Rep. Steve King, Michele Bachmann, and Vice President Mike Pence. It has also done work for the National Rifle Association and the Heritage Foundation.

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

Source: NJ.com

Source: Cosmopolitan

Conway worked on Ted Cruz's 2016 campaign before joining the Trump team. As the first woman to successfully run a Republican presidential campaign, Conway is no stranger to the cutthroat nature of politics. "I’ve been in a very male-dominated business for decades," she told The New Yorker. "I found, particularly early on, that there’s plenty of room for passion, but there’s very little room for emotion." She added: "I tell people all the time, 'Don’t be fooled, because I am a man by day.'"

Kellyanne Conway and Ted Cruz in June 2015. play

Kellyanne Conway and Ted Cruz in June 2015.

(Thomson Reuters)

 

Source: The New Yorker

Conway has known Trump for over a decade because she used to live in one of his buildings, according to the Washington Post. She was also on the condo board of the Trump World Tower. Conway told the Post that Trump would sometimes call her after seeing her on TV and ask for her opinion on different topics.

Conway has known Trump for over a decade because she used to live in one of his buildings, according to the Washington Post. She was also on the condo board of the Trump World Tower. Conway told the Post that Trump would sometimes call her after seeing her on TV and ask for her opinion on different topics. play

Conway has known Trump for over a decade because she used to live in one of his buildings, according to the Washington Post. She was also on the condo board of the Trump World Tower. Conway told the Post that Trump would sometimes call her after seeing her on TV and ask for her opinion on different topics.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

 

Source: The Washington Post



Trump initially hired Conway in July 2016 to help him appeal to female voters. At the time, he was trailing Hillary Clinton by nearly ten percentage points. A month later, she became his campaign manager, and a few weeks later, Trump was nearly tied with Clinton in the polls.

Trump initially hired Conway in July 2016 to help him appeal to female voters. At the time, he was trailing Hillary Clinton by nearly ten percentage points. A month later, she became his campaign manager, and a few weeks later, Trump was nearly tied with Clinton in the polls. play

Trump initially hired Conway in July 2016 to help him appeal to female voters. At the time, he was trailing Hillary Clinton by nearly ten percentage points. A month later, she became his campaign manager, and a few weeks later, Trump was nearly tied with Clinton in the polls.

(AP/Evan Vucci)


 

Under Conway's leadership, Trump's once-floundering presidential bid took on a life of its own. Conway began to develop a dedicated following among Trump-backers, and she quickly became the face of Trump's campaign. "Did you see the people asking me to sign their posters and hats?" she once said to The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza.

Kellyanne Conway poses for a selfie with supporters. play

Kellyanne Conway poses for a selfie with supporters.

(Thomson Reuters)

 

Source: The New Yorker
 

Trump's eventual victory in the 2016 election – a feat almost no one and not a single poll predicted – was largely credited to Conway's and Steve Bannon's prominent roles in rallying voters to Trump's "America First" message.

Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. play

Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.

(Thomson Reuters)



Since Trump's ascent to the presidency, Conway has taken on a prominent role in his administration, along with Bannon. She now serves as a senior adviser to the president and often appears on major cable news shows to advocate for his agenda.

Since Trump's ascent to the presidency, Conway has taken on a prominent role in his administration, along with Bannon. She now serves as a senior adviser to the president and often appears on major cable news shows to advocate for his agenda. play

Since Trump's ascent to the presidency, Conway has taken on a prominent role in his administration, along with Bannon. She now serves as a senior adviser to the president and often appears on major cable news shows to advocate for his agenda.

(Thomson Reuters)



Though influential within Trump's inner circle, Conway has been consistently slammed by critics for what they say is a loose relationship with the facts. At one point, she famously referred to proven falsehoods that were repeated by Trump administration officials as "alternative facts" and cited the "Bowling Green massacre," which never happened. She has been banned from appearing on Morning Joe as a result of her statements.

Though influential within Trump's inner circle, Conway has been consistently slammed by critics for what they say is a loose relationship with the facts. At one point, she famously referred to proven falsehoods that were repeated by Trump administration officials as "alternative facts" and cited the "Bowling Green massacre," which never happened. She has been banned from appearing on Morning Joe as a result of her statements. play

Though influential within Trump's inner circle, Conway has been consistently slammed by critics for what they say is a loose relationship with the facts. At one point, she famously referred to proven falsehoods that were repeated by Trump administration officials as "alternative facts" and cited the "Bowling Green massacre," which never happened. She has been banned from appearing on Morning Joe as a result of her statements.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)



Conway isn't the only influential woman in Trump's inner circle.

Conway isn't the only influential woman in Trump's inner circle. play

Conway isn't the only influential woman in Trump's inner circle.

(Jemal Countess/Getty Images)