Tell us about yourself!
I’m a political operative who started my career on Capitol Hill and then began moving around the country to work on Democratic campaigns. I find myself back in Washington DC between election cycles, where I cox for a women’s crew team and participate in a competitive karaoke league.
You have a very impressive career in strategic communications and political campaigning. How did you first get interested in this?
In my early 20s I dabbled in public policy and even got a Masters degree in global security studies before I pivoted to digital organizing, so that’s really where I first began exploring messaging and strategic communications - in the online space, but I certainly hadn’t planned to end up there. I was intrigued by the potential of social media to build communities and connect people. After a few years of doing digital organizing, fundraising, and advocacy for political campaigns, I expanded my roles to include broader communications.
Stacey Abrams has emerged as one of the MVPs of the 2020 election season. I know you served as her Director of Strategic Communications for her 2018 gubernatorial campaign. Tell us more about the work that she and others have been doing in Georgia since then.
Working in Georgia the past few years has been really fascinating, especially coming from DC and spending my career all over the country, but never in the South. What struck me the most was how much of recent successes in Georgia have been the result of the work done by people like Stacey and organizers of color over decades on the ground here. These were folks organizing in rural communities to sign their neighbors up for the Affordable Care Act back in 2011 and 2012, and registering their friends to vote in 2013 and 2014. Everything we did in 2018, and in 2020, has all just been a continuation of that work. More than a million people in Georgia have registered to vote since 2018, and the electorate is expanding - and turning more Democratic - every year. And in November 2020, those efforts paid off when Georgia delivered its 16 electoral votes to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, supporting the Democratic ticket for the first time in 28 years. I can’t wait to see that work continue as we head into the January 5th runoff elections for the two US Senate races. It’s a really exciting time to be working in Georgia.
We’ve all had to adjust our working styles this year -- what are your thoughts on staying centered while working from home?
In all honesty, I’ve found working from home every day for months on end to be incredibly hard. There are so many benefits for people to have this option more often, especially for working parents or caregivers, but in a field like mine, where you’re engaged in crisis communications and rapid response in an election year, there’s just no substitute for fast, creative brainstorming while physically in a room with your coworkers. But I’ve tried to add some newer elements to my living space that can make me feel happy if not connected - putting up a Hamilton calendar with some favorite lyrics, decorating my desk with unicorn pens and notepads, and other things that visually remind me of magic and beauty. Flowers are, of course, a part of that!
When did you and Cameron, Poppy founder, become friends?
We met in 2012 at the Democratic National Convention, where we were both working with the digital team.
I see that you love musical theater! Tell us more!
I grew up just outside New York City, and annual trips to Broadway were a cherished tradition in my family, so I spent my childhood sprawled out on my bedroom floor listening to the original cast recordings of classics like Guys and Dolls and Showboat and Hello Dolly! Then as I got older and embarked on a career in progressive political activism, I began to think more seriously about the overlap of themes with musical theater as it tackles issues of societal construct and social justice, from Rent to Les Miserables to Hamilton. Particularly in recent years as our country has faced a reckoning on racial justice and immigration, I’ve been listening to a lot of Ragtime, which is a show about diverse families in America each facing unique challenges as they pursue the American dream. It’s a musical that is both hopeful and heartbreaking, which is often how I feel about political activism, so my interests all end up intertwining in the end.
You did a gorgeous job designing the Bon Vivant bouquet — where did you learn to do it? Do you have any tips?
I actually started by looking at the different vases I had available at home and planned the “structure” of the bouquets first, that way I could account for stem length and the number of each flower I would need or could fit into each vase. That gave me at least some direction, so I wasn’t just randomly throwing things together, which isn’t usually something that works out well for me. But once I had a sense of how tall or large I wanted the bouquets to be, then I was able to be a little more free-flowing and creative as I was putting it together.
When it’s finally safe to travel again, where are you most looking forward to visiting?
I’ll be heading to Italy for a dear friend’s wedding, which has been postponed a few different times now. It’ll be just the kind of celebration we’ll all need by then.
Any shows/books you’re binging right now?
A couple friends and I have gotten really swept up in the Korean drama craze. The quarantining has been an unexpectedly wonderful opportunity to explore other cultures through film, so we’ve been learning a lot while enjoying a new kind of storytelling. My favorites have been Start-Up, Romance is a Bonus Book, Descendents of the Sun, and Something in the Rain. And of course, that’s all spurred a renewed interest in k-pop, so you’ll find a lot of BTS and BlackPink on my playlists these days. I’m really pulling for BTS’s “Dynamite” to take home a Grammy in January, so fingers crossed!
Abigail joined us for our weekly Instagram Live series, Wednesday Strip Club, on December 2nd. Check it out!