Palin's Old Pals Wonder: Where Did That Shy Girl Go?

Political career a surprise move for quiet youngster
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 24, 2008 9:51 AM CDT
This 1964 photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with her mother Sally Heath in Wasilla.   (AP Photo/Heath Family)
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(Newser) – Those close to Sarah Palin as she was growing up remember her as quiet and reserved—“almost a wallflower type,” said one friend, a far cry from the tough, outspoken campaigner she has become. “I don’t think Sarah ever wanted to lead,” notes a college buddy. But somewhere between high school basketball, beauty pageants, a sportscasting job, and the Wasilla City Council, something changed, the New York Times reports in a profile.

Her years on the basketball court were “a life-changing experience for me,” requiring discipline and goal-setting, Palin has said. In performing at beauty pageants for tuition money, the “shy” young woman seemed to realize, “Hey, I can do this, and maybe I can do even better,” said a fellow contestant. Eventually she was invited to run for a city council seeking a youthful edge, thus beginning her career in politics.