The last place you’d expect Anna Wintour to hire from? The Democratic National Committee. On Wednesday Vogue announced Hildy Kuryk, the DNC’s former finance director, as its new director of communications, a job that also includes the responsibility of acting as Wintour’s personal spokesperson.
News of Kuryk’s hire follows weeks of speculation that Wintour would pick her new communications head from within the political arena. While it’s unclear how Wintour and Kuryk met, it’s a safe bet that the two worked together during one, if not both, of President Obama’s election campaigns, in which Wintour was an active supporter.
Prior to joining Condé Nast, Kuryk served as a finance consultant for Obama’s first campaign, later securing a permanent post at the DNC. She started off as the organization’s deputy finance director from 2009 to 2010 and was then promoted to finance director, a title that she held from 2011 to 2012. (After leaving she reportedly acted as a consultant to the organization from January to March of this year.)
In the last few years, Wintour has become an outspoken Obama supporter. She was one of the president’s top reelection fundraisers—the results of which led to speculation that Wintour might land a plum ambassadorship to either France or England. (But as The New York Times reported in January, when France was off the table, Wintour stepped out of the running altogether.)
Regardless, the editor’s strong ties to the Democratic Party are what likely paved the way for Kuryk’s appointment. Her time at the DNC appears to have been a multi-tasking experience. According to a former co-worker, Kuryk was responsible for raising funds and acting as a liaison and committee ambassador to many key donors and figureheads. While Kuryk has not previously served in a communications role, those who have worked with her suspect that her transition from political fundraising to the fashion world will not be a difficult one. “The pressures of national politics is junior varsity compared to the pressures of working in the fashion world,” Robert Zimmerman, Democratic National Committeeman and fundraiser told The Daily Beast. “She is talented, and handled the incredibly complex and difficult task of national politics with great distinction, specificity and diplomacy—all traits that will make her a great spokesperson.”
In fact, Kuryk’s nearly four-year run at the DNC earned her a good deal of praise. “She has an excellent reputation at the DNC, she is highly regarded,” added Zimmerman. In 2011, Politico named Kuryk one of 50 politicos to watch in the ‘Fundraisers’ category. At the time, her mentor and DNC finance director predecessor Rufus Gifford (who left the organization to head-up Obama’s reelection finances) said of Kuryk:, “She is so detail-oriented, she is so smart, she has such a keen political sense overall.” A spokesperson for the DNC echoed Gifford’s effusive praise, telling The Daily Beast “[It] almost goes without saying—she was hugely important to and popular in the Obama world including the reelection campaign.” A representative from Vogue declined to comment.
Kuryk officially started at Vogue last week, giving her time to learn the magazine’s ropes before her predecessor, Megan Salt, departs to a similar position at Amazon Fashion. Zimmerman thinks Kuryk should be excited for what’s ahead: “Being selected by Anna Wintour is as great a stamp of approval as being selecting by the President,” he says. “But it has a lot more perks.”