On June 25, 2014, when Wendy Davis strapped on her hot pink sneakers and headed to the Texas statehouse’s Senate floor, she was just another state senator—if an especially outspoken one. By the time she finally she sat down again, after mounting an epic 13-hour filibuster against a now notorious antiabortion bill, Davis was a feminist icon.
That’s when nation got to know her story—and it’s a remarkable one. A young single mom and college dropout, she worked her way through a two-year paralegal program, got a scholarship to community college, and eventually went on to Harvard Law School. By the time of her 2014 filibuster, she was a rags-to-riches success story.
Then came a long-shot bid to be governor of Texas, a feat that made Davis the first woman to run for that office in two decades—and she lost. She lost big.