When Kelly Ann Conway opened her Twitter account in August, she was shocked to see thousands of notifications. "I was, like, 'Oh my gosh, did I go viral?'" the 24-year-old recalled. "What’d I do that was embarrassing?" The answer, it turned out, was completely out of Conway's control. The running coach and Lululemon store manager in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, happens to share a name with Donald Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. “There’s no E in my middle name, but everything is spelled the same as the other Kellyanne Conway,” she said. That coincidence has brought her surprises, laughter, and much unwanted attention since Trump became the Republican nominee. Her Twitter handle is @kellyannconway while Trump’s campaign manager’s handle is @kellyannepolls. That difference hasn’t stopped news organisations and political supporters on both sides of the aisle from tagging the wrong woman in their posts.
I was, like, 'Oh my gosh, did I go viral? What’d I do that was embarrassing?'"
Kelly Ann Conway
"The first one that made me laugh was a tweet that said something, like, 'You can make Trump’s turds look like a flower garden,'" Conway said. "I can’t even find it now because there are literally thousands of mentions." Those mentions started on Twitter, but eventually followed on Instagram. She’s been called “tired and raggedy looking” and a “waste of space and oxygen,” while also being accused of doing drugs. With more than 200,000 followers and frequent appearances on cable news, Conway, the campaign pro, is likely subject to far more online hate. A request for comment from the Trump campaign was not returned. The negative attention doesn’t get to the 24-year-old Conway — it just makes her laugh. She thought about changing her security settings to private, but decided against it because she never felt threatened or in harm’s way.
During an election filled with so much hatred and bullying, Conway has decided to roll her eyes in the face of confusion. Recently, she was registering her car with a new insurance and gave her full name, to which she was asked if she was the Kellyanne Conway. “I just laughed and said, 'No, I’m about 20 years younger,' but I don’t like that people instantly think of Donald Trump when I say my name,” she said. Conway’s flood of negative notifications has come with the sporadic supporter, but mostly, they’ve all been reminders of how ugly the election has gotten. She tries to fight the negativity by sticking to her yoga practice and sharing her hate messages with friends on Facebook, where it seems everyone can see the humour and get a break from the news cycle that’s causing anxiety across the country. But the Hillary Clinton supporter doesn't find anything funny about Trump's positions — or her name doppelgänger's support for him. "It’s certainly a very difficult job, so props to Kellyanne for taking it on, but she’s still adamantly defending him and making excuses for him [after] the things [Trump has] said about women and how he's treated women, and as a woman campaign manager, I've really lost all respect for her that she isn’t speaking up," she said. "The things she says are so ridiculous, just trying to cover everything up or direct it at a totally different thing that has nothing to do with the issues."
The first one that made me laugh was a tweet that said something, like, 'You can make Trump’s turds look like a flower garden.'
Kelly Ann Conway
This is the first time Conway is voting in a presidential election. She said apathy kept her away from the polls in 2012. But she said the effects of having a Twitter twin this time around has actually made her feel more engaged in this year's crazy election. "Since June or July, it sparked my interest when my inboxes started getting flooded with different things, and I started paying attention to all the hate messages I was accidentally getting, like, Why are all these people saying these horrible things?" she said. "It made me want to do more research." While she’s confident she’ll see the country elect its first female president in a few weeks, she’s wary the name comparison nonsense will die down anytime soon, in part thanks to Kate McKinnon’s "hilarious" impression of Trump’s campaign manager on Saturday Night Live. "I think the social media hate will subside a bit," she said. "But even after that election, I don’t think they will be out of the news for a while."