The New York politicians who have flirted with celebrity

“I guess they thought I had that something.”

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, also known as AD the Voice

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, also known as AD the Voice Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of the Governor

Politicians and government officials are their own kind of celebrity. Rather than needing to make the perfect track or nail a scene, it’s about getting the right sound bites and passing the right bills. But some of them double-dipped, searching for validation in popular culture before ginning up the courage to run for public office or run a state department.

Some lawmakers have implied that the slog of the job can make one weary, but it must be better than callbacks. A handful of lawmakers dabbled in music, television and the arts before or during their current positions. Usually, we care about celebrities who get involved in the New York political scene, but here are some politicians and officials who’ve dazzled outside of a hearing or session.

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado / David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

“13 monthly listeners award” – Antonio Delgado

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado isn’t just one of the tallest lawmakers in the state. Before he was elected, he tried his hand at hip-hop, the revelation of which during his 2018 congressional run landed a prominent political scientist in hot water for his analysis. Was Delgado ever going to go to the Grammys? Most likely, no. But he is on Spotify as “AD the Voice” should anyone hope to peek at his oeuvre.

Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz / Lori Van Buren/Albany Times Union via Getty Images

“Best cameo” – Jeffrey Dinowitz

Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz is mostly known for his prominent role in Bronx politics. But a few decades ago, Dinowitz was going toe-to-toe with actor Ralph Fiennes on screen. In 2002’s “Maid in Manhattan,” he parlayed consultation on how an Assembly member would look and act into the role of “Congressman Gray,” a politician from whom Fiennes’ character hoped to get an endorsement. He told The New York Times ahead of the film’s premiere, “I guess they thought I had that something.”

City Council Member Justin Brannan / NYC Council Media Unit

“Will teach you guitar award” – Justin Brannan

New York City Council Member Justin Brannan knows a thing or two about disrupting the status quo, in politics and in music. Before he shifted his life toward public service, Brannan was a guitarist on New York City’s hardcore punk scene in the 1990s and early aughts, co-founding bands Indecision and Most Precious Blood. Not a household name by any means, but for fans of the genre his bands’ impacts are still felt, and tattooed.

Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon / Mike Groll / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

“Booked and busy award” – Roberta Reardon 

State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon had a past life as an actor, appearing in countless commercials, television programs and plays before rising to leadership positions within the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. When that organization merged with the Screen Actors Guild, she became co-president of SAG-AFTRA and was later chosen by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo for her current role. If you can star in 50 commercials a year, one supposes you can keep New York’s labor initiatives on an even keel.