The 2020 election is well underway and everyone is running and that’s great, whatever, but we are here today to talk about this week’s most important noncandidate: mystery ranch woman. Who is mystery ranch woman, you ask? She’s the breakout star of a video from a Kirsten Gillibrand campaign stop in Iowa. Gillibrand is talking to a bar full of people on Monday about something important, I’m sure, but the true celebrity is mystery ranch woman (MRW) who, when caught trying to shimmy past Gillibrand and her crowd, says only that she’s “just trying to get some ranch” and moves on her way.
Yes. Okay. I see. But who is mystery ranch woman really, you’re still asking? Intelligencer caught up with MRW — her real name is Hanna Kinney and she’s a 22-year-old college student — to find out, well, as much as there is to find out about a 17-second video clip. (Kinney noted on Twitter she didn’t want to talk politics, only ranch.)
Hi, Hanna. Thanks for taking a minutes away from class to chat. What are you guys studying today?
It’s a class on C.S. Lewis. We just finished The Screwtape Letters and now we’re reading Perelandra, which is sort of when he started writing more science fiction. It’s not my favorite, but you know … gotta read it for class.
Where are you a student?
The University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. Basically just “Iowa” a whole bunch of times. I was born in Waterloo, Iowa, and I’m still living in Iowa.
You’ve never been a viral star before, yeah?
Ha, no. This came out of nowhere.
What were you doing at the Airliner that night?
I lead a Bible study for a campus ministry and we always meet on the second story of the bar. I had no idea what was going on. I’m a pretty political-minded person, but with senior year, everything has been coming at me. I figured … the election is still two years away. By the time I got to the Airliner around seven, people were starting to gather. I knew something was going on, but I wasn’t aware they were going to shove like 100 people into the busiest part of the restaurant.
So about the ranch …
Like I said on Twitter, their ranch is amazing. I love it and sometimes they bring it up to us and sometimes they don’t. It’s one of those restaurants that make it homemade, which is very common in Iowa, to be honest. I was going down there to grab it — it’s not just me, a few of my other friends in Bible study enjoy the ranch — because it’s sort of my job in the group. My friends have been joking like, “Yes, Hanna was finally recognized for the deed she has always done for our people.” The funny thing is I was just trying to get to the back quietly and a lot of articles have said “person snubs political candidate” and I honestly wasn’t trying to snub her. I was pushing through people in the nicest way possible. ’Cause you know, “Iowa nice.”
Right, did people think you were maybe trying to get closer to Gillibrand?
I didn’t want people to think that, I really was just trying to get to the ranch. People were looking at me weird, which was when I said, “I’m just trying to get to the ranch.” It was all the way in the back of the restaurant. I finally got through and when I came back holding a squirt ranch bottle I said something like, “I got my ranch.” People were literally yelling “yes, queen” and “she got her ranch!” I was just like, “Thank you, I’m going to go back upstairs now.”
Did you happen to catch anything Gillibrand was saying?
I was a girl on a mission. Tunnel vision. It was also a little overwhelming. I’m only five-foot-two, so I’m shorter than most people. You can see in the video I’m just trying to wiggle my way through.
My final question is obviously the most important. What was the ranch for?
Some people have been saying, “Oh, this girl needed ranch for her wings,” but while the Airliner has good wings they also have really good pizza. We give free pizza to all the people who come to the Bible study every single week. The pizza is amazing. The ranch is amazing. Together it’s probably the best thing you’ll have in the entire world.