New York: “Krystal Ball’s Transparent Life”

The current issue of New York magazine features a terrific bio piece on contributing RP Krystal Ball’s unique trajectory from phony-scandal plagued congressional candidate to current media star.  Here’s an excerpt:

Krystal Ball was talking to retirees in rural Virginia when her congressional campaign got weird.

She had just given her stump speech and completed a Q&A. “I looked at my phone, and I had a text message from my husband. And he said, ‘Everything’s fine. But after you’re done there, don’t talk to anyone, don’t check your e-mail, don’t call anyone, just call me immediately. And you may want to be alone. Like, not even with your staffers.’”

This did not sound to Ball like everything was fine. She wrapped up the event, went outside, and called her husband.

“He says, ‘Everything really is fine, but there’s some pictures that came out. Do you remember a party that you went to — ’ and he starts describing them.”

The photos showed Ball wearing a Santa hat with a black bustier at the age of 22.

In her hands were a festive Solo cup and a leash attached to a young man, who wore antlers on his head and a Rudolph-red dildo on his nose. In some of the especially hilarious photos, Ball and her companions fellated the dildo nose.

When her husband texted, the pictures were only on a local conservative blog, but it seemed unlikely they would stay there for long.

Ball’s campaign had always been a long shot: She was a 28-year-old Democrat running against a Republican incumbent in Virginia’s conservative-leaning first district. And if it hadn’t been for those “XXX-Mas” party photos, she might have remained a 2010 congressional also-ran, waiting in obscurity for the next election year. Instead, the photos made their way into the national media — and Ball responded forcefully, acknowledging the pictures anddenouncing sexual double standards. She ended up with regular guest spots on Fox News and MSNBC, and now, two years later, she’s one of four co-hosts on MSNBC’s new daytime show The Cycle.

Sex and scandals sell, particularly when the subjects are young and attractive — this is not news. But what makes Ball’s story interesting is that it demonstrates the power of transparency. She’s staked her career on the belief that personal disclosures aren’t incompatible with professional legitimacy.

“I find it so astonishing how poorly a lot of politicians handle negative whatever in the press,” she says. “You have to just get it all out there. You have to be totally, uncomfortably honest.”

Click here to read the full piece: “Krystal Ball’s Transparent Life”


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