What People Don't Know About Ella Emhoff

All eyes were on the incoming first and second families when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took the stage to be sworn in as the 46th president and vice president of the United States, respectively, on January 20th, 2021. While much has been said about Michelle Obama's all-purple ensemble, or Dr. Jill Biden's blue coat and gloves, or Kamala Harris' presidential look (even Ashley Biden got some love for her chic silk suit), it was Ella Emhoff, Harris' stepdaughter, who stole the show.

Emhoff stunned as she descended the steps on the balcony of the capitol building wearing a Miu Miu coat and mostly hidden Batsheva dress underneath, per The Daily Beast. She carried a small black bag casually draped over her long leather-gloved fingers. She was, in short, the essence of cool. She looked at once as though she'd just stepped off the runway and out of the coolest coffee shop in Bushwick. 

Who is this girl, anyway? She seemingly materialized out of nowhere as the anti-Ivanka the nation craves. It turns out there's a lot more to Emhoff than just an impeccable fashion taste and an obscenely large budget for coats.

Ella Emhoff is a talented designer and artist

It's no surprise that Ella Emhoff won the fashion game at the 2021 inauguration. She is, after all, a sartorial connoisseur. As it turns out, Emhoff was actually a student at the Parson's School of Design in New York City. Choosing an incredibly chic ensemble likely felt like second nature to Emhoff, who studied textiles, and graduated in May 2021, per E!

It makes sense that Emhoff studied textiles, as she's a burgeoning designer. Her Instagram page (which you should check out of you want some fashion inspo and/or are desperately missing Man Repeller) is full of brightly-colored creations she's knit or crocheted by herself. 

To add just one more factor to Emhoff's already off-the-charts coolness, you might be interested to know that Emhoff, who has numerous tattoos (including a very chic cow on her forearm), does her own body art when she gets bored, according to The Daily Beast. If that isn't the most un-Invanka thing you've ever heard, we don't know what is.

Ella Emhoff landed a high profile job

Almost as soon as Ella Emhoff made her now-famous debut in Miu Miu at the 2021 presidential inauguration, she landed a coveted modeling contract at IMG, the same agency that reps Karlie Kloss and Chrissy Tiegen. "As someone who, like a lot of young girls out there, had self-confidence issues, it is intimidating and scary to go into this world that is hyper-focused on you and the body," Emhoff told The New York Times in 2021.

Emhoff may see herself as decidedly "unmodel-esque," but that's not how higher-ups at IMG see it. "It's not really about shape, size or gender anymore," the president of IMG Models told the outlet. "Ella communicates this moment in time. There's a cheekiness and a joy she exudes." Brands are noticing her authenticity too. Just months after joining IMG, Ella made her NYFW debut walking for Proenza Schoeler, per USA Today. She then took her style international and modeled for Balenciaga in Paris (via Buzzfeed).

More than just an excuse to wear pretty clothes, Emhoff is looking forward to using her new career and growing platform to raise awareness about issues close to her heart. "There are a lot of people out there that need a lot of help," she told The New York Times. "If I can do anything to help with that, I want to, and I think this opportunity will be really beneficial toward that."

Ella Emhoff attended the Met Gala

After landing a modeling contract and walking in fashion weeks around the world, the next serious step for any model is a Met Gala appearance. Ella Emhoff crossed that off her list in September 2021. Emhoff made her Met Gala debut decked out head to toe in a Stella McCartney red mesh bodysuit, per USA Today. The outfit in question contained mesh sneakers, a mesh and sequined bodice, and shiny oversized red pants. We assume Emhoff opted for red because the Met Gala theme was "America."

According to Emhoff, wearability is just as important as adhering to a theme. "I'm someone who's really passionate about comfort," said told The New York Times. "Even though this is the Met, everyone is allowed to still feel comfortable in their own skin, their own style. There's no playbook to how you dress to this." Emhoff's fans liked the outfit just as much as she did. Ella Emhoff looked gorgeous in the face at the met gala," one fan tweeted.

Ultimately, Emhoff's first and foremost concern was feeling comfortable both at the event and in her own skin. "It's definitely something I would wear in my own day-to-day life," Ms. Emhoff told the outlet. "It makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin, in this environment that I'm not really used to."

Ella Emhoff has a serious boyfriend

With a fancy new fashion career, comes a fancy new fashion boyfriend. Not long after Ella Emhoff signed with IMG did she meet a very fashionable new flame. We are talking, of course, about her much-publicized relationship with Sam Hine, a fashion editor at GQ. Besides posting a plethora of Instagram pics of each other, the pair have been spotted out all over New York City in high fashion outfits, each more quirky than the last. It's unclear when they started dating, though they were first linked by the New York Post in March 2021. However, it seems like Hine might have admired her from a distance if GQ's comments were any indication. Following Ella's inauguration debut, the magazine wrote at length about how she has one of the best outfits of the day.

Emhoff officially confirmed the relationship during an August 2021 interview with Vanity Fair. She also added that their favorite go-to date is buying the weirdest thing they can find at the grocery store and figuring out how to make a meal out of it...which is, umm, definitely quirky.

Her dad wants her to look into a more serious career

When IMG first contacted Ella Emhoff about signing with their company after spotting her at Biden's inauguration, her family was skeptical. "Modeling can be a pretty intense industry — they were a little protective of me," Emhoff told The New York Times, adding that they softened their stance "when they saw my interest in it and saw what is changing in that world. I think they're pretty excited I can be part of that."

One person who may be slightly less excited about Emhoff's blossoming career is her father, Doug Emhoff. In fact, according to Ella ever since she started modeling and selling her crocheted works, her dad has been on her case about finding a more stable job. "My dad asks me very often, 'So have you reconsidered law school?'" Ella told Vanity Fair in 2021. "And I keep saying, 'Doug, not happening. I'm going to leave it to you, and I will be the artist.'"

While Ella hasn't necessarily ruled out law school or some other more academic career in the future, it seems like right now she's perfectly happy where she is — whether or not dad approves.

Ella is still adjusting to life in the spotlight

Ella Emhoff's life has changed a lot since her stepmother, Kamala Harris, became the vice president. For one, she got a modeling contract and a few hundred thousand new Instagram followers. The level of attention she now receives is quite a chance for the relatively quiet life she led as a New York City-based art student until January 2021.

It's of little surprise that adjusting to life in the public eye and a new family dynamic has been a lot for Emhoff to take in. "When we went to see [Doug Emhoff and Harris] for Election Day, it really hit me, like, Whoa. Seeing them is a lot different now," she explained while speaking to The New York Times. "There's a lot more people. I think the idea of sharing our parents with the world is kind of insane."

To make a long story short, it seems like Ella is still very much processing her feelings about her and her family's newfound fame. "Like, it's a really cool thing to wrap your head around — because you get to share all the great things," she said. "But it's also like, Huh?!"

Ella Emhoff and her brother look up to Kamala Harris

Creating a copacetic relationship with your dad's new wife can be complicated, but for Ella Emhoff when it comes to her relationship with Kamala Harris everything is easy-peasy. Ella and her brother Cole opened up about the dynamic in a 2021 interview with The New York Times. Ella shared that Harris pushes them to be responsible and think about their future in a mature, adult way. According to Ella, her advice is, "just have a plan."

For her part, Harris speaks just as highly about her stepkids. "They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults," she wrote in Elle. "I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in."

Harris and Ella share an especially close bond, which Harris wrote at length about in the Elle piece. She described her agony at having to miss Ella's senior year swim meets because of scheduling conflicts when she became a senator. "This new job meant that I would be splitting time between California and Washington, D.C., and the hardest part was going to be being away from my Ella," she wrote — adding that they all decided she'd got by "Momala" rather than "Kamala"—which is basically the sweetest thing we've ever heard.

Ella Emhoff paints in her free time

We know, we know, by now it seems like there's literally no time in the day for Ella Emhoff to have an additional hobby. Incredibly though, between doing her own tattoos, keeping up with her favorite TV shows, making her own clothes, traveling the world for her job, and hanging out with her boyfriend, Emhoff somehow still finds time to develop her skills as a painter. According to a 2020 interview with Vice's Garage, Emhoff has always been interested in the medium.

Peep her website, and you see some of her better creations. Among the standouts are her oil paintings of eggs, a Pop-Tart, and some ice cream. Bonus points if you note the creepy broken doll painting halfway down the page. "A lot of my work is super vibrant and a lot of color clashing," she told the outlet.

Additionally, Emhoff has taken advantage of the unique opportunities that living in New York can afford a young artist to learn about the medium. Emhoff likes to explore trendy shops like Cafe Forgot, or Frankie Shop, when she wanders around the city for inspiration.

Ella Emhoffs parents divorced when she was young

One of the defining moments of Ella Emhoff's life happened in her early childhood when her mother and father divorced. What might have been a jarring experience for many children, actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Ella and her parents.

When Doug and Kerstin Emhoff split, Doug moved into an apartment complex called the Palazzo in Los Angeles and then to a few other apartments before finding somewhere more permanent. The experience of moving from place to place and spending so much alone time with her dad and brother created a special connection between Ella and the men in her family. "It definitely, for the three of us, was really bonding," she told The New York Times in 2021. "And I think we do have that sense of like, we made it through the random apartments, figuring out the dynamic of it being just us."

The transition was made easier for the kids by the fact that Kerstin and Doug were on such good terms after the split. "I just thought we were a family with divorced parents who get along. Like it wasn't something crazy," Ella told the outlet, adding that things have stayed copacetic. "It's a cool dynamic we all have. And I think it is a good model to show that you can have this and this isn't weird."

She makes sure to keep up with her dad and Kamala Harris

These days Ella Emhoff is probably just about as busy being a model/artist as her dad, Doug Emhoff and her stepmom Kamala Harris, are being the vice president and second spouse of the United States. Despite their hectic schedules, the group tries their best to keep in touch as much as possible even while living and working in different parts of the country — and often, the world.

Back in 2020 when Harris was in the midst of her VP run, Ella told Glamour that her stepmom somehow always carves out time to give her a call. "It'll just be something sweet like, 'Hi, I was just thinking about you, hope your day is good," Ella said. The model also joked that if her parents bothered to leave voicemails when she missed their calls she'd be quicker to call back.

Ella also revealed that when Doug or Harris are particularly desperate for a callback, Doug will send Ella a reminder in the form of a text consisting of several hearts and American flag emojis.

Ella Emhoff does her own tattoos

It's well established that Ella Emhoff has an artistic temperament — after all, she designs her own clothes–but she takes it a step further by applying her own permanent tattoos. Peep her Instagram and you'll see a color collection of tats, including a cow, a birthday cake, and a dog. The more she's practiced, the better she's gotten. "[First] I did the classic: I did my dog's name, and I did a little flower," she told Garage, adding that she's advanced to more complicated designs since then. "I recently did my first big boy: [a] salmon fish with a flower hanging out of its mouth. It's super fun," she said. Emhoff isn't interested in pursuing it professionally, however. She's more than content to tattoo as a hobby. "It's fun to just do it to yourself or do it to a friend. And if you can do it, definitely go for it."

Proving that stars are, in fact, just like us, Emhoff also let slip in an interview with The New York Times that her parents didn't find out about her tattoos until they saw them on Instagram. "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,'" she said of her mother, father, and stepmother. "They have good communication between the three of them. They are really a unit, like a three-person parenting squad. It's really cool."

Ella Emhoff is a TV buff

When she isn't modeling, knitting, painting, or playing phone tag with her stepmom, Ella Emhoff likes to unwind by chilling out in front of the TV. "I just started watching 'Naruto,'" she told Garage in 2021. However, she admits that the Netflix anime isn't her usual vibe. "I'm usually not a person who watches anime, but my friend recommended it and they were saying it's just very sweet and very friendship-centered and good action, and I think for right now it's the perfect escape," she added. Otherwise, Emhoff likes watching classics like "Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead."

With such a hectic schedule, Emhoff prefers a show she can watch and kind of zone out to after a long day. "I watch a lot of TV when I knit, so I have to stick to these shows that are a little mindless in a sense, that I can just passively watch," she said. As for what's next Emhoff thinks maybe "The Haunting of Hill House" or "The Queen's Gambit."