I put various biographical articles and the text of her Wikipedia page into a few online wordcloud generators to create a more cohesive background. Although the layouts and density were much better, the word selection and placement were not optimal. I elected to extract the terms ranked by frequency and place them by hand into the background, using a variety of font sizes and text orientations. I moved the profile to the left third, creating a natural flow to the contrasted AOC title on the right.
I initially placed her profile in the center of the poster, then added the background text elements from her biography. The green complemented the red and referred visually to her Green New Deal. This layout conveyed the information but wasn't cohesive with the overall layout. The extra whitespace in the background unbalanced the whitespace in the portrait.
Harvested her quotations from various internet sources and set to filling in each figure area. Some were filled with an envelope mask and others with area type. The linear areas, such as the frame of her glasses, was type on a path. Some more difficult areas were filled by hand-placing individual letters and words. Added the red color at the mouth for focus and identity. The typeface is Didonesque, chosen for its formal, classic, and stately feel. 
Smoothed and redrew some paths and shapes for well-defined areas to fill with text.
Exported the black and white clip in PNG to Illustrator and conducted a black and white imagetrace with this result.
Masked her profile in Photoshop to eliminate other dark elements in the background that would bleed into the conversion. Set the clip to black and white to simplify the trace. Posteriorizing the clip in Photoshop did not create well-defined areas, particularly at the jawline, so I elected to do the vector conversion in Illustrator.
Original Photo | epa07436859 Democratic Representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on oversight of the Commerce Department, including 'questions regarding the ongoing preparations for the census, the addition of a citizenship question, and other topics', on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 14 March 2019. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testified at the hearing. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Licensed from EPA via Shutterstock, Order ID SSTK-0926A-DB17

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