Jun 19, 2018
Themis Klarides has made a career of defying expectations.
Earlier this year, the Connecticut House minority speaker resisted pressure to run for the open governor’s race in her state. Instead, she's making a play to form a Republican majority and become Speaker.
Klarides, 52, the first woman leader of the House Republicans in Connecticut history, was first elected to the legislature two decades ago. Her path wasn't the most traditional route to public office: A former model and competitive body-builder, Klarides also did a stint as a "ring girl" for World Wrestling Entertainment. Early political opponents tried to hold that against her, she says. "I was the state rep who was a swimsuit model and worked for the WWE," says Klarides, who studied for her bar exams backstage between television tapings of Monday Night RAW.