One look at Scott Brown’s past, Frank Bruni writes, and you can see that “he’s indisputably self-made” with a “background that’s part Horatio Alger, part Zoolander.” Sure, the “famous truck” was purchased “not so he could haul lumber” but to haul his daughter’s horse, but that consideration was born out of a childhood of hardship. “He’s always said, ‘When I was younger, I made a vow that I would never let my kids down,’” says daughter Arianna.
Before the Cosmo centerfold and a decade as a successful model, Bruni writes in the New York Times, Brown was the latchkey kid of an often single, often abused mother. By sheer determination—“Secret ambition is to play for the Jazz or the Celtics and be outrageously happy,” reads his senior yearbook—and the modeling bucks, he escaped. And that leaves him in a tough spot. “He must not only hold on to a regular-guy image at odds with so much of his past and present,” Bruni writes, “but also find the sweet spot between” the GOP in Washington and his constituents. (Read more Scott Brown stories.)