RESTRICTED: Jenna Bush All Grown Up

It was 4 a.m. and Jenna Bush just wanted to sleep. She and her boyfriend, Henry Hager, were camping out in Maine’s Acadia National Park Aug. 15, and Hager had woken her up in the dark. His plan? To hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the East coast. Jenna got up groggily, and the nature-lovers set off, wearing head lamps to light the way. As they neared the summit, Hager, 29, suggested stopping for an energy bar. Then as the sun began to rise, he proposed. “I was in shock,” says Jenna, her custom-made, platinum-set round diamond-and-sapphire ring now sparkling on her left hand. “I acted the complete opposite of how I thought I would: I was quiet. He said, ‘Are you excited?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know!'”

If the First Daughter is experiencing some deer-in-the-headlights moments these days, it’s hardly surprising. There are big changes afoot in her life: Even as her father’s Presidency winds down (“It will be fun to have some of him back,” she says), the resolutely private 25-year-old is stepping into the limelight, prepping for a publicity tour for her first book, a nonfiction work for teens called Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope, about a 17-year-old single mother with HIV she met in ’06 during a nine-month stint as a UNICEF intern in Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s a slightly daunting prospect. “I don’t get recognized much, knock on wood,” says Jenna, who is followed by a discreet security detail. “I had a safe, private life.”

Not that she needs to worry about the impression she’ll make. Passionate about her work as a teacher, the University of Texas at Austin grad has put the party-girl image (remember those underage drinking offenses?) behind her. “I’ve grown in the past five years,” she says. “I’ve become really disciplined.” Yet still fun. Says twin sister Barbara, who works in education programming at New York City’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum: “She makes any situation enjoyable. She’s so funny!”

Ana, whom Jenna first met at a community meeting (for Ana’s privacy she won’t name the country she lives in), certainly took to her, and vice versa. “Ana stood up and said, ‘I want everyone to know that we are living with HIV, not dying from it,'” says Jenna, who speaks conversational Spanish. “I was in tears. She had so much hope.”

The pair became pals, and Jenna, who was recording the experiences of adolescents for UNICEF, decided Ana’s story deserved a wider audience. “It’s important for kids in the U.S. to know they’re lucky,” she says. “I wanted to raise awareness of how children live all over the world.”

Jenna amassed hours of taped conversation with her new friend, who for months had no clue who Jenna’s father was. “I’d told her he was the head of our government,” Jenna says, laughing. “Then one day she mentioned Presidente Bush, and I said, ‘Ana, you know he’s my father …’ and she said, ‘PRESIDENTE BUSH?’ She hadn’t put it together.”

Jenna spent long hours writing at the UNICEF office, to her mother’s occasional concern. “I called her one Saturday walking to work,” she says. “She said, ‘Are you happy?’ She knew I was, but she was like, ‘It’s 6 a.m.! Can’t you just hang out?'” Mrs. Bush—a former teacher who will publish a children’s book with her daughter next spring—also offered edits. “If I tried anything I thought was creative,” says Jenna, “she’d say, ‘Why not stick with short, choppy sentences?” But the First Lady is thrilled with the finished product: “I’m proud,” Laura Bush says, “that Jenna is sharing what she learned.”

As a teacher Jenna has already proved she excels at that. After campaigning for her father in ’04—and meeting Hager, the son of the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, who was working for Karl Rove—she applied to teach at D.C.’s bilingual Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School. Her classroom demonstration wowed Dean of Students Bobby Caballero: “I said, ‘We have to get her!'” She came early, stayed late and dressed up as the Cat in the Hat on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. “Even if you’re exhausted,” says Jenna, who taught third grade, “the kids say something funny and snap you out of it.”

As a child in Midland, Texas, Jenna too was entertaining. “If I was mad, I’d cry into my air-conditioner vent because I thought it would go into my parents’ room,” she says. “It never did.” She played alone with dolls so often, “making up dramatic stories—Barbie would cheat on somebody”—that Mrs. Bush “was worried,” Jenna says. “Then she read that Toni Morrison did the same thing and thought, ‘She may be a writer.'”

Jenna credits her parents with nurturing her talents and never comparing their girls. “Barbara was brilliant; I had a harder time,” she says. Jenna played soccer, rode her bike while her dad ran nearby and wrote stories. “If we were taught one of us was better, it could have been devastating,” she says. “For me, probably!”

These days the twins are still best friends. Their nicknames for each other have ranged from Hermie (short for the Spanish “hermana,” meaning “sister”) to their current choice: Beast. (“I don’t know why,” says Jenna.) They see plays in Manhattan, take spinning classes in D.C. and ran a 10K in Virginia together last year. Both, says Jenna, are “very, very close” to their parents and proud of their dad’s years in office. “I think he has done a really great job,” Jenna says. “He’s obviously under a lot of stress.” What’s it like to hear him criticized? “It’s difficult; we’re protective,” she admits. “We just don’t watch that much television! But I see him as a totally different person than the rest of the world. He’s my father and that’s a different role.”

What he’s like in it: “So funny and goofy; he keeps me laughing,” she says. “As a child I was more like him—I liked sports. But now I’ve picked up my mom’s tendencies. She’s organized, a ‘routine’ person. My passions are things she likes.”

Jenna spent much of the summer living with her parents while teaching writing at EWS. Asked if the White House feels like home, she says, “Yes and no. My ranch [in Crawford, Texas] is familiar and smaller. But I’m used to it.” When she’s there, she has dinner with her parents and sometimes walks around barefoot. “I’m sure people are like, ‘Put on some shoes!'”

This month she embarks on a 25-city book tour, during which she and pal Mia Baxter, who took the photos in Ana’s Story, will speak at high schools. And then, perhaps, a White House wedding? “I really haven’t thought about it,” she insists. Nor can she say where she and Hager, a business student at the University of Virginia, will settle. “Wherever he gets a job and I get a job. We won’t know.” One thing she does know: She won’t follow in her father’s footsteps. “I’m not interested in traditional politics,” she says, smiling. “Nope, no way.”

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