Kamala Harris's Stepchildren Are Responsible for Her Sweet Nickname

Leena Kim
·2 min read
Photo credit: Win McNamee - Getty Images
Photo credit: Win McNamee - Getty Images

From Town & Country

In her first speech as Joe Biden's running mate back in August, vice president elect Kamala Harris stressed the importance of family. "Family is everything to me, too. And I cannot wait for America to get to know my husband, Doug, and our amazing kids, Cole and Ella," she said. "And I've had a lot of titles over my career, and certainly 'vice president' will be great. But 'Momala' will always be the one that means the most."

When America's future veep married former entertainment lawyer Douglas Emhoff in 2014, she became stepmom to his two children, Cole and Ella, from his first marriage to Kerstin Emhoff. (The two split amicably in 2008, after 16 years of marriage.) Here is what we know about the siblings, who are actually the ones who came up with Harris's beloved nickname, "Momala."

They all got along wonderfully from the start

In an essay she penned for ELLE on motherhood, Harris revealed that she took things slow when it came to meeting Ella and Cole, who are named for Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane. "As a child of divorce, I knew how hard it could be when your parents start to date other people. And I was determined not to insert myself in their lives until Doug and I had established we were in this for the long haul. Children need consistency," she wrote.

It turned out to be a very successful first meet. "I think for all of us, it was love at first sight," Cole told Glamour. "It felt like we had known each other forever. And I think what was important was getting to know her as a person first—a person before a politician," added Ella.

The siblings now live on opposite coasts

Cole, 26, graduated from Colorado College in 2017 and has been working in the entertainment industry. After a stint at William Morris Endeavor, he is now an executive assistant Plan B Entertainment, the production company founded by Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt (Pitt is now its sole owner). Meanwhile, 21-year-old Ella is a student at Parsons School of Design in New York, where she is majoring in apparel and textiles. She has her own website, where she also takes commissions.

The family still gets together regularly—via Zoom

Sunday family dinners have been a weekly ritual in the Harris-Emhoff household. Even with the hectic campaign, Covid, and everyone now scattered throughout the country, the tight-knit foursome finds a way to catch up regularly. "We have a Sunday Zoom, and we talk during the week. Not as much as I’d like, but we talk," Doug told Glamour.

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