The stunning transformation of Megyn Kelly

Megyn Kelly became a household name during the 2016 presidential election. Whether you like her views or not, as one of the highest paid TV News personalities, it doesn't seem like Kelly is going anywhere anytime soon. But even before your great-grandmother had an opinion about what she wore for the Republican National Convention, Kelly has been making waves with her fashion choices and her no-holds-barred style of reporting. Equal parts sassy, sexy, and direct, the personal and professional transformation of Megyn Kelly is certainly one to behold.

Destined for news

Kelly grew up in Delmar, NY (a suburb of Albany) where her mother was a nurse and her father was a college professor. While attending Bethlehem Central High School she took a career aptitude test, which suggested she was well-suited for news. She applied to the Syracuse communications program, but while she was accepted to the school, she was not accepted into the communications program. So after graduating from high school in 1988, she was off to Syracuse to major in political science instead.

She started out with a career in law

That's right, she was an attorney first. Kelly graduated from Albany Law School, where she served as editor of the Albany Law Review, in 1995. Kelly practiced law as a corporate litigator at Jones Day for nine years and was an associate in the Chicago office of the law firm Bickel & Brewer LLP. "I started off as a lawyer for almost a decade before I decided I was completely burned out," Kelly told Business Insider. "When choosing a new profession, I just said to myself: 'What can I do that would utilize some of these skills, but that I would enjoy a little more and will also be fun and still intellectually stimulating?' And this was an obvious choice."

Reporting before Fox News

Before joining Fox News in 2004 as a network correspondent, Kelly worked as a general assignment reporter for WJLA-TV (ABC 7) based in Washington, D.C. During her time at WJLA-TV she covered national and local stories, including the 2004 presidential race and the D.C. sniper saga. Known at the time as Megyn Kendall after taking the last name of her then-husband, anesthesiologist Daniel Kendall, Kelly was destined for bigger things. She got her demo tape into the hands of Kim Hume, wife of news correspondent Brit Hume, who then got it in front of Fox News chair Roger Ailes. The rest is Fox News history.

Her second marriage

Kelly and then-husband Daniel Kendall divorced in 2006 after four and a half years of marriage. In 2008 Kelly married Douglas Brunt, who at the time was a CEO, but these days makes his living as a novelist. Brunt has been very supportive of Kelly's career and wanted to defend her from Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election cycle.

Professionalism is paramount

In addition to her marriage to Douglas Brunt, 2008 was a big year for Kelly professionally as well. That year she attended the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was at this convention that we got our first peek at Kelly's style in addition to her media presence. She wore a plain brown skirt with a matching vest over a white collared shirt at the convention, with a look that was classic and professional. With a V-neck that showed just a bit of skin and a flashy, beaded necklace visible under her long blonde hair, there was clearly a bit of playfulness under her vest that was anything but brown and olive drab.

Taking on Britney

In January 2009, Megyn Kelly criticized Britney Spears for the song "If You Seek Amy" for the reportedly sexually explicit and profane lyrics in the song. During her segment on Fox News, Kelly called for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban the song or to play it "only during the hours that children are not listening." In response, Britney's video of the song begins and ends with a parody of Kelly in the form of a blond news anchor on a show called "American News" (a play on the show America's Newsroom on which Kelly first criticized the song). According to Huffington Post, Kelly then challenged Britney to come on her program, saying "Bring it, Britney."

Her first baby

Maybe her takedown of Britney had something to do with Megyn Kelly's mama bear instincts kicking in. Nine months after criticizing the lyrics to "If You Seek Amy" on America's Newsroom, Kelly delivered her first child, Edward Yates Brunt on September 25, 2009.

Just a few months later she attended the premiere of It's Complicated at the Paris Theatre in New York. Despite being just two months postpartum, she wore a form fitting and skin baring black gown with a black sequined collar. The dress was one of the first among many to come that also showed off Kelly's fabulously toned arms and showed women everywhere that there is style after baby.

Appearance on Howard Stern's show

In April of 2010, just a year after criticizing Britney Spears for sexually explicit lyrics, and comparing her use of coded language to that of Howard Stern, Megyn Kelly appeared on Stern's show. Topics included her legs, pre-marital sex, when she lost her virginity, her sex life with her husband, sex in the TV news business, and porn. This 2010 appearance became news again in 2016 when Donald Trump used its existence to frame Megyn Kelly as a hypocrite after she called his comments about women sexist.

Pretty in peplum

A few months after she appeared on Howard Stern's show, she also attended the 6th Annual BGC Charity Day at BGC Partners, Inc. After her not-so-conservative interview with Stern, Kelly's black peplum dress hearkened back to a more conservative short sleeve. The skirt was, however, form fitting and well above the knee, fairly uncommon for Kelly whose dresses prior to this event normally hit just about knee level. Still, Megyn Kelly wouldn't be Megyn Kelly without a little bit of bling, this time with delicate gold earrings and stacked gold bangle bracelets.

Interview with GQ

In 2010 Kelly did an interview and photo shoot with GQ that had critics buzzing. It wasn't so much the interview that caused the piece to gain attention, but the revealing black bodycon dress she wore in the photo shoot that accompanied the piece. A Huffington Post article called the photos revealing and while the attention on it died down for a bit after that, it was brought back to the spotlight during the 2016 presidential election after which Kelly defended the photos saying she was not ashamed.

The Megyn Kelly moment

On April 15, 2011, Kelly and her husband welcomed their second baby, Yardley Evans Brunt. This time, she took a longer maternity leave than with her first baby and radio personality Mike Gallagher criticized her for it, calling her maternity leave a racket. Never one to pull punches, Kelly had a few choice words for Gallagher when she brought him on her show in August. She not only defended maternity leave (and paternity leave), she criticized the fact that the United States is the only country in the advanced world that doesn't require paid maternity leave. She finished the segment by asking Gallagher, "What is it about carrying a baby for nine months that you don't think deserves a few months off so bonding and recovery can take place?" Kelly has since become known for calling people out on what they say and asking direct and difficult questions, in what the New York Times has dubbed the "Megyn Kelly Moment."

Thick skin is acquired

While Kelly was praised by many for taking on Mike Gallagher and his comments about maternity leave, not everyone was so impressed. Jon Stewart criticized Kelly in segment on The Daily Show calling her a hypocrite based on her changed views on maternity leave. According to Stewart, Kelly only changed to a more liberal perspective on entitlement programs like maternity leave when it suited her. In 2015 she told Variety that she wept after seeing the segment, but now she's grown a thicker skin; "When you're young and just starting, you think, 'Oh gosh, how much power does he have? Is he going to hurt me?' Frankly, I really no longer listen to Jon Stewart. I think we've stood the test of time."

Just your average Jane

In 2012 Kelly used her celebrity status for good and attended a benefit concert for Army SPC Bryan Dilberain who was critically injured by shrapnel in combat. The event, which was sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation, found Kelly in a look that balanced style and respect for the occasion. Sporting a shorter haircut and a sleeveless indigo mini dress with black tights and booties, Kelly let her dangly silver earrings and a bit of tasteful skin speak for themselves. Her choice for the evening was style meets comfort with a look that you could imagine seeing on one of your girlfriends or even wearing yourself for a casual night out.

Rocking into color

In June 2013, while eight months pregnant with her third child, Kelly interviewed singer Kid Rock about his price cap on concert tickets and politics. With a bit more of a plunge into the color spectrum and away from her previously-usual neutrals, Kelly stuck with her tendency to only bear her arms while at non-network events in a half sleeve purple top. Of course, there was still some bling to be seen. Kelly's thick, studded bangles were the perfect complement to her otherwise demure outfit. To say the pregnant Kelly was glowing would be an understatement. Just a month later on July 23, Kelly and her husband welcomed their third child, Thatcher Bray Brunt.

The Kelly File

When she returned from her maternity leave after her third pregnancy, Kelly launched her own show, The Kelly File. The teaser for the new show promised that viewers would get the information straight, an approach to news and reporting that helped make Kelly famous. In her very first episode she interviewed Ted Cruz and referred to him as "the most hated man in America." In usual Kelly style, she redirected after Cruz's attempted deflection by saying, "Now answer the question."

Showing a little cleavage

When you're being recognized for the impact you've made in a list with other powerful women, it's important to look the part. When Kelly attended Variety's Power of Women event in 2014, she certainly made an impact with a basic black dress with a pop white panel in the back for a little adventure, paired with hoop earrings and a raindrop shaped necklace. While the dress could pass for your basic little black dress if not for the white panel in the back, it was notable not only for its superbly tailored fit and the high quality material, but also because it was our first real glimpse of Kelly embracing her cleavage. The box cut neckline was just low enough to feel a bit dangerous, while the wide straps and longer hemline kept it modest.

Featuring more women

Sticking with the black and white theme, but branching out into patterns for the first time, Kelly wore a geometric print black, gray and white dress to the Hollywood Reporter's 35 Most Powerful People in Media celebration in 2014. Paired with her standard dangle earrings and a bangle bracelet, Kelly was the picture of power and influence as an honoree at the event. That year she said she wanted to feature more women on her show in the coming year to make up for the limited number of powerful and empowering women in prime time, even though she doesn't consider herself a feminist.

Coming out as Independent

In the midst of her rising fame, Kelly took the opportunity in 2015 to set the record straight about her own political beliefs — sort of. Although Jon Stewart criticized Kelly for flip flopping on her views from more conservative to more liberal, Kelly revealed in 2015 that she's actually a registered Independent and has voted for both Democrats and Republicans.

Having been described as liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues, this may not have come as a surprise to many long-time viewers of Kelly. While she remains tight-lipped on her personal stance regarding some issues, like her views on abortion, we've been learning more and more about Kelly over the years.

She would like to take on Hillary Clinton

Attending the Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People in Media celebration again in 2015, Kelly pushed the envelope by opting for a black romper with a plunging neckline, a bold gold bracelet, and her go-to gold dangle earrings. She also sported much longer hair and the beginning of a bolder, smokier eye with respect to her makeup. She told The Hollywood Reporter that Hillary Clinton is her most-wanted interview subject and mused about asking Clinton whether it's time for a female president.

Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit

If one thing was becoming exceptionally clear in 2015, it was that Megyn Kelly was a force to be reckoned with. At Fortune magazine's Most Powerful Women Summit in 2015, Kelly took the stage wearing a sleeveless, knee-length gray dress. At the event she spoke about what power means to her, saying it was synonymous with freedom and having choices. Kelly's presence on the stage was undeniable, and her power to rock any style was clear.

Basic black dress

When Kelly moderated the first 2015 Republican presidential debate, she garnered the attention of women and men everywhere. Despite her show-stopping earrings and form fitting black dress, it was her hard hitting questions for the candidates — particularly for now president-elect Donald Trump — that made people stop and ask themselves, "Who is this woman?" While having already been identified as a powerful woman (and person) in media, it was her performance in this now-iconic black dress that shifted many people's perception of her as a reporter.

Short hair don't care

Returning for the January 2016 Republican Presidential debate, Kelly debuted a brand new, super-short hair style that spoke volumes paired with her black blazer and bold earrings. She was all-business and didn't care who knew it. With laser focus, Kelly continued to ask the hard questions, even without Donald Trump in attendance. Who has time to deal with long hair when you're busy running the show? Not Megyn Kelly, that's for sure.

Skin is in

There's something about moderating a group of male politicians in multiple debates, and the media deciding that you were the winner, that gives you the confidence to take on the world. In this case, taking on the world means showing some skin. Kelly attended the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in February in a long black gown with a sequined, single shoulder top and side cutout that showed not only her famous-in-their-own-right arms, but also a snapshot of her toned and sculpted midsection.

Interviewed by Katie Couric

Pairing her sassy new hairstyle with a pop of color and just-enough skin, Kelly attended Tina Brown's 7th Annual Women in the World Summit in New York City on April 6, 2016. Not only did she once again move away from her neutral grays, browns, blacks, and whites with the bright blue dress, but the keyhole at her sternum, bare arms, and stiletto heels ushered in a brand new era of Kelly's style. She was also interviewed by Katie Couric on stage during which she talked about her parents, taking on Donald Trump, and overcoming adversity.

Understated to make a statement about child abuse

Once again in 2016, Kelly was honored at the Variety Power of Women New York event. Arriving in a fairly modest light pink dress that bared her arms and a little leg, while providing full coverage at the chest, Kelly owned the very feminine, spring look. She used her platform with Variety to bring attention to a non-profit that focuses on stopping and preventing child abuse. Not only has she committed to covering issues of child abuse as a Fox News anchor, she has stayed involved by donating time and appearing at fundraisers. Kelly proves you can be stylish and powerful at the same time, year after year.

Bold and beautiful

Move aside keyhole-glimpses of skin and subtle, understated bling. When Kelly attended the Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology Costume Institute Gala in May 2016, she pulled out all the stops. From the front, Kelly's black, mermaid-tail gown seemed pretty basic and non-descript, albeit beautiful in its own right. When she turned, however, she revealed a gold and silver sequined and gemstone studded detail that demanded the attention of everyone in attendance. It was also one of the few times we've seen Kelly move away from her neutral toned lip color and go for the bold, red lip. Kelly showed us once again that she doesn't just know the news, she also knows fashion.

You can't go wrong with a white blazer

Kelly arrived to the final 2016 Republican Presidential Debate in March 2016 wearing a white skirt and blazer combo that commanded respect. If you don't believe in the power of the white skirt suit, just take a look at Kelly's performance that night. Returning for her third face off with the Republican candidates and continuing what some would call a rivalry with Donald Trump, Kelly forced the candidates to address situations in which they've contradicted themselves, even playing footage of these contradictions. If you're looking for a way to look great while still asserting your power, you just can't go wrong with a white blazer to arm you against anyone's steely approach.

Standing up to Roger Ailes

During the 2016 presidential election, allegations of sexual harassment by Fox News chair Roger Ailes went somewhat under the radar. Once the election came to an end and Kelly released her memoir Settle for More, there has been a lot more talk about those allegations. Specifically, Kelly was one of the more than two dozen women who accused Ailes of harassment that led to his ousting. In her new book, Kelly talks about how she came forward, ultimately to ensure that the allegations were taken seriously and that Ailes couldn't talk his way out of an investigation.

She asks the hard questions and shows off a little bling

From attorney to high profile media personality, conservative clothing to being the talk of the 2016 Republican National Convention for her halter dress, Megyn Kelly has transformed before our very eyes. She has taught us that being bold, sexy, and trend-setting doesn't mean you can't be understated, and it definitely doesn't mean you can't also be powerful. She may not consider herself a feminist, but Kelly's advocacy for other women at Fox and standing up to Donald Trump has paved the way for women everywhere to wear, say, and do what makes them feel comfortable, powerful, and sexy. One thing is for certain: through the years, Megyn Kelly has shown us that everything is better when you ask the hard questions and show off a little bit of bling.