- As a senator and former attorney general, Vice President Kamala Harris's career is stacked, but we can't help but be curious about her personal life.
- Below, everything we know about her stepchildren Cole and Ella, her husband Douglas Emhoff's kids from his first marriage.
On August 11, 2020, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ushered in political history when he announced that now-Vice President Kamala Harris would be his running mate for the 2020 election. And on November 7, when Biden's official victory was called, Harris became the first Black and South-Asian American woman in that role.
Though Harris, 56, a lawyer and former attorney general of California, has been in politics for over a decade, she's become even more of a household name this year. From her personal background and the policies she's passionate about, to her inspiring parents, and equally talented sister and niece, we want to know it all.
Her love story with her husband of six years, Douglas Emhoff, is one of our favorite aspects of her bio. Harris herself didn't have children before marrying Emhoff, but after they met she became a stepmom to his two kids, Cole and Ella. And we spotted both children by her side during the inauguration. (Ella may have gone viral because of her embellished Miu Miu coat).
Below, everything we know about the close-knit relationship between the children and Harris.
Vice President Kamala Harris is stepmom—or "Momala"—to her husband's two children.
Emhoff has two children from his previous relationship with his ex-wife Kerstin Emhoff: daughter Ella and son Cole. Harris wrote in an essay for Elle that the two are named for the musicians Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane. She officially became their stepmom in 2015 when she and Emhoff were married, and they both call her "Momala" because they all "agreed that we didn’t like the term 'stepmom,'” she wrote.
The politician explained that when she and Emhoff first met, they decided to take some time before she met the kids, but when she finally did, she brought along a tin of cookies that were tied neatly with a bow. "I was determined not to insert myself in their lives until Doug and I had established we were in this for the long haul," she said. "Children need consistency; I didn’t want to insert myself into their lives as a temporary fixture because I didn’t want to disappoint them. There’s nothing worse than disappointing a child."
As for Cole and Ella's take on Harris's parenting style, Cole told The New York Times, "I was a senior when they got together, and I remember I saw a tweet that someone did. It was a photo of Kamala at the Kavanaugh hearing, and someone tweeted, like, 'I’d hate to have to look at that face and explain why I’m late for curfew.' And I was thinking, 'I’ve literally had to do that.'”
Harris said that Cole and Ella are "brilliant, talented [and] funny."
Though both Cole and Ella are relatively quiet when it comes to public life, Cole is in the spotlight even less. What we do know from a 2018 Vogue article is that he graduated from Colorado College in May 2017 and at the time was working as an assistant at William Morris Endeavor, a Beverly Hills talent and media agency. Oh, and he has a longtime girlfriend, according to his Instagram account.
"I went to school in Colorado, and it was kind of a, not to say 'hippie' school but, like, very outdoorsy crunchy, if you will," he told The New York Times. "And one of my friends wanted to go backpacking when she graduated, and Kamala was like, 'OK, so then what are you going to do with that after? Then what? And then what?' And my friend still quotes that conversation as having kind of reframed what she felt like her path would be—in terms of having goals that were not in her immediate future. But I think they just want us and people to be intentional."
Ella, 21, is a a student at Parsons School of Design in New York City, where she majors in apparel and textiles according to her LinkedIn profile. She shares many of her designs on her Instagram account and even has her own website, ellaemhoff.com, where she accepts commissions for her work.
"They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults," Harris wrote in Elle. "I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in."
They are a happy, blended family.
The Vice President explained that she and Emhoff's ex-wife Kerstin are "dear friends" and became incredibly close once she entered Cole and Ella's lives.
"She and I became a duo of cheerleaders in the bleachers at Ella’s swim meets and basketball games, often to Ella’s embarrassment. We sometimes joke that our modern family is almost a little too functional," she said.
Ella said in The New York Times, "The level of parenting between the three of them is very different now that we’re both in our 20s and are kind of able to make decisions. So with hair and tattoos and things like that, I think they’re all in the realm of like, 'I don’t understand it, but I want you to be who you want to be.' They have good communication between the three of them. They are really a unit, like a three-person parenting squad. It’s really cool."
Cole and Ella believe their dad is ready to be the first second gentleman.
When speaking to The New York Times, the siblings were confident that their father–who they affectionately call "Doug"—was ready to take on his new job as the country's first-ever second gentleman.
"I think Doug is a bit of a chameleon, and that’s why everyone loves him," Cole said. "Like, he can fit in in any room. I think of all people, Doug was like randomly born for this."
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