Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has received death threats frequently enough that her staff “stiffens” every time someone knocks on the door of her office.
The realities of Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s time in Congress as the US representative of New York's 14th congressional district have been revealed in a new Time profile, which displays the youngest-ever Congresswoman on the cover.
According to the profile, the outspoken Congresswoman has made many fans and enemies in her first few months in office, with the latter leading Capitol Police to train her staff in performing risk assessments of all visitors - even those just leaving positive Post-it notes.
The immense public attention she’s acquired since being elected in 2018 has also slightly taken a toll on the 29-year-old, who told the magazine that she misses being able to go outside without being watched.
“I miss being able to go outside in sweats,” she said. “I can’t go anywhere in public and just be a person without a lot of people watching everything I do.”
But, as she told the magazine this month, despite the frequent backlash from both sides of the political spectrum, Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist, is dedicated to pushing for legislation that will have a lasting impact.
Acknowledging that the process of approving new legislation can often take years, she said: “So everything we introduce needs to have 2025 or our kids in mind.”
The profile also discusses her background, growing up in the Bronx, and the death of her father during her sophomore year of college at Boston University.
After she’d graduated, Ms Ocasio-Cortez slowly found her way into politics, through grassroots community organising to electoral organising.
It was a trip to Flint, Michigan, and then to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation that proved “transformational” for the Congresswoman - as she saw first-hand the effects of environmental degradation.
The trip “galvanised” her and encouraged her to take more risks.
From there, Ms Ocasio-Cortez started her run for Congress, and eventually succeeded.
But despite her persona online as someone willing to stand up to anyone, including President Trump, in person she is reportedly much more reserved, according to one congressional source, who described her as “quiet as a mouse”.
However, there are some things the activist Congresswoman will not back down on, such as saving the planet, her hope with the Green New Deal.
“I don’t think that we can compromise on transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy,” she said. “We cannot compromise on saving our planet. We can’t compromise on saving kids.
“We have to do these things. If we want to do them in different ways, that’s fine. But we can’t not do them.”