Condoleezza Rice: Right-Hand Woman
Fiercely private and unattached ("I never found anybody I wanted to live with," she has said), Rice works 15-to 16-hour days but also knows how to unwind. She works out to Led Zeppelin, cooks a mean seafood gumbo and loves to shop. "On a Sunday after Meet the Press, don't be surprised if you see me at the mall," she told Glamour. "She has a definite girlish streak," confirms journalist pal Elizabeth Drew. The only child of a minister and a music teacher, Rice grew up in segregated Birmingham, Ala. Named for the musical directive con dolcezza ("with sweetness"), she studied piano and at 19 graduated from the University of Denver, where she later earned a Ph.D. in political science. A Stanford professor, she became provost at 38, the youngest to hold the post, as well as the first woman and first African-American. Comfortable breaking barriers, Rice "understands she is helping to wage a war for civilization," says Ken Adelman, Ronald Reagan's arms control guru. "This is her historic moment and mission in life."