Ella Emhoff, VP Harris’s 21-yr-old stepdaughter, signs up with IMG Models too

Biden takes the Oath of Office as the 46th President of the US

There were several “a star is born” moments at Joe Biden’s inauguration last week. Amanda Gorman was probably the most notable one, and of course Amanda is getting tons of opportunities and new gigs now, and I’m so happy for her. But Ella Emhoff also had her own quirky A Star is Born moment. I’m not sure the average voter knew much about Kamala Harris’s family, or the fact that she’s stepmom to two adult children, Ella and Cole. Once we got a good look at Ella, people were like “oh, okay, she’s a cute little hipster.” And she is! She lives in Brooklyn and goes to Parsons. She had her own side-business as a knitter who worked on commission. And she wore an adorable Miu Miu coat to the inauguration, and people were obsessed. So obsessed that now Ella has signed on with IMG Models.

Ella Emhoff, stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris and daughter of Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, is breaking into the modeling business. The 21-year-old, who is currently a senior at Parsons School of Design in New York City studying fine arts with a focus on textiles, landed a major modeling contract with one of the most prestigious agencies in the world: IMG Models. The agency’s known to represent top supermodels including Gisele Bündchen, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Stephanie Seymour, Lily Aldridge and more.

“It’s not really about shape, size or gender any more,” said Ivan Bart, the president of IMG Models, told the New York Times. “Ella communicates this moment in time. There’s a cheekiness and a joy she exudes.”

According to the New York Times, Emhoff caught Bart’s eye “as soon as she walked in the door” during the presidential primaries over the summer. Shortly after, the two began discussing the idea of joining IMG Models.

“I was pretty surprised when everything with IMG was happening because when I was younger, I never saw that as being part of my timeline. 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. But she’s looking forward to being a part of the change occurring in the modeling industry that allows for more diversity and authenticity, whether she shows herself through what she calls her “funky haircut” or “weird tattoos.” (She has around 18 tattoos, many of which she “did herself during quarantine” adding that her parents “may not know” about all of them.)

“I pick and choose the times I want to show my style,” she told the outlet.

Emhoff already caught the eye of the fashion industry when she arrived at the presidential inauguration wearing an embellished Miu Miu coat. And while she’s excited to join the style sphere, she hopes she can “do some good” through this new platform. “There are a lot of people out there that need a lot of help,” she said. “If I can do anything to help with that, I want to, and I think this opportunity will be really beneficial toward that.”

[From People]

I love what she said about how this kind of thing was never on her radar and she too has struggled with self confidence. Very real-girl. Which, I assume, would be her vibe as a model too. Just like IMG signing Amanda Gorman, I’m not sure this is traditional modeling work, like sending Amanda and Ella off to Paris for fashion week. But I could totally see Ella getting some editorial work. And maybe the connections she makes in the fashion and modeling industry will help her when – I assume – she starts her own label, or her own knitted-goods company.

PS… The Biden granddaughters are gorgeous, where’s their modeling contract??

ella emhoff3

ella emhoff1

Photos courtesy of Instagram, Avalon Red.

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62 Responses to “Ella Emhoff, VP Harris’s 21-yr-old stepdaughter, signs up with IMG Models too”

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  1. Mignionette says:

    I can see IMG’s strategy here.

    Increasingly influencers have taken up more and more of SM advertising space, especially instagram. And those profits do not always meed to be shared with an Agent. As an FYI the likes of James Charles can command up to $150k per instagram post. So this is a very profitable area, to the point that even celebs have entered this space (especially during the pandemic).

    By signing influential young people in the public space IMG can re-insert themselves back into influencer led spaces.

    The advantage with Amanda and Ella is that it’s clear what they stand for and already have size-able followings, so they can easily be positioned in the market.

  2. Aang says:

    She’s tall, thin, has big eyes and well defined bone structure. Plus she has a personality that you can see in the pics. She seems like perfect model material.

    • Esmom says:

      Agreed. I feel like Amanda is in the camp of Stella Tennant. She was maybe not as quirky as Amanda but had those key physical qualities and intriguing “it” factor.

    • Giddy says:

      Plus Ella did that hilarious dancing eyebrow moment staring right into the camera. I think the video is on YouTube.

    • Bibi says:

      agreed. there is something about her face, her personality that is absolutely charming. Whatever IMG strategy is, I hope that the future will have more models of all sorts of types, Bridgerton type.

    • missskitttin says:

      Also finally a fashion icon my girls like!

  3. Aurora says:

    What I like about today’s generation is the nearly wholesale rejection of the “Ideal Model look”. Gen Z is not looking for models with unattainable image but simply look for people similar to themselves who dress and live the way they’d like. Social media influencers come in so many races, shapes and sizes. Victoria’s Secret didn’t get the memo and is facing bankruptcy because they were still operating under the assumption everyone aspired to be a 5’10 super-skinny White model. Plus the quality of their lingerie was crap.

    • Mignionette says:

      I never understood the obsession with Vitoria’s secret. I have never owned a single item from VS not even their tacky body washes.

      • Justwastingtime says:

        The entire Victoria’s Secret line was shoddy and I’ll fitting and the stores stank of cheap perfume.

    • Kcat says:

      Um, except for the whole Instagram Face where 90% of the influencers have plastic surgery and/or extreme photoshop to be some sort of Kardashian-alien planet clone. Over-inflated lips and ass, wasp waist, wide tilted eyes, shaved down nose, jutting jawline and cheekbones.

    • Gab says:

      Ella actually does look to be quite tall and thin as well. Very quirky style but could probably be made up to look more like the Victoria Secret models did. Side note, I recently received a VS catalog in the mail and they have done a big overhaul on their style. It looks more like the Third Love ads now.

    • Godwina says:

      Yeah, another not-surprising nepo-model here, in terms of physique and connections (the agency understandably sees dollar signs). But her calling herself “diverse” because she has tats and a haircut? *stares in privilege*

  4. Sofia says:

    There 100% is a rise in more “influencer” models and this is probably IMG trying to get in on it. People don’t need to buy a magazine to see what their favourite model wore, they can just look them up on Instagram. Trends and popularity are practically all decided online. Traditional modelling agencies have practically been replaced by Instagram and the public.

  5. Badrockandroll says:

    IMG Models is currently run by Ari Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, who was, among other things, Obama’s Chief of Staff. So perhaps “the connections [Ella Emhoff] makes in the fashion and modeling industry” have already been made.

  6. Watson says:

    Ella made waves on inauguration night via her fashion and her major art girl vibes. Even though Biden’s grand daughters are more conventionally beautiful they just didn’t make the same impact. Ella has an IT factor about her: different, weird and confident.

  7. Gab says:

    The Biden granddaughter that wore the pink coat with tall boots is a very pretty girl, albeit a less “quirky look”, but to me was the most striking.

  8. Size Does Matter says:

    There is no substance to this comment, but I just can’t with the headband, sorry.

  9. KateMonroe says:

    Just wondering if we’re going to see a trend away from the vapid, kardashians, hadids etc, and the nepo-models, Beckham, moss, etc., to models with more depth who have a positive message? Or is this just a blip?

    • Gab says:

      You really can’t say this is not a nepotism choice.

      • KhaoManee says:

        It’s totally nepotism. I’m shocked that everyone is fawning over this girl. I’m sure she is a lovely person but a model? Nope. If this were a Pence relative getting an IMG contract everyone here would be apoplectic with rage. I’m a staunch democrat and love VP Harris but this is no different than Kate Moss’ very average looking daughter modeling because of who her mom is.

      • milliemollie says:

        Yeah, this is nepotism at its finest.
        @Khao Manee, I don’t get the fawning either. You’re right. No one here would be fawning over this if it were a Pence relative.

      • Mustang Sally says:

        Agree heavily with all of you. Also – it’s a $2,600 Miu Miu coat she was wearing – that wasn’t suspect? The sparse, hipster lifestyle (as my sister calls it, as she is mom to 2 hipsters) generally eschew such pricey garb. It stands to reason this whole IMG modeling thing was in place prior to the inauguration. I also noticed the picture of her with her hairy armpits is not shown above.

  10. lunchcoma says:

    I think the Biden girls are headed in other directions. Ella is a fashion student, her father was an entertainment lawyer, and her brother works for Brad Pitt’s film production agency. Doing some modeling probably fits well with her career plans.

    Naomi Biden is pretty obviously looking toward a political career. Finnegan is very private and keeps her social media locked. Maisy might be interested in something like that? She’s on TikTok. Beau’s daughter Natalie is still in high school. So for the most part, I think they’re looking in other directions, which is fine too.

    • L4frimaire says:

      I think there is a lot more to life than modeling contracts and Biden’s family is right to step back. Remember they have been in public life much longer, with him having been VP, and he is now our head of state. After the in your face interfering of the Trump kids, and the focus on Hunter Biden, it is very prudent for them to step back and focus on their individual lives and careers. Harris’ family have a steeper learning curve, and need more direction in keeping it locked down to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest. After the initial flurry of announcements and excitement , it would behoove them to step back a bit from the spotlight. Also, they all may have more complicated security concerns with the current atmosphere with all these angry people out there who have no where to put it after the Capitol riot. Yes the press is thirsty for feel good stories and a first and second family they can embrace, but it’s a tightrope walk.

  11. Kalana says:

    She’s very by-the-numbers quirky right down to the knitting and tats and MiuMiu coat. It’s not very interesting or innovative. I don’t know how long this whole thing will last but it’s a good way to network seeing as she attends Parsons.

    • SlipperyPeople says:

      Yeah, I don’t find her original or interesting. She reminds of hundreds of ‘quirky’ girls living in Brooklyn or any other major city and college town. I found her eyebrow raising at the inauguration annoying. Anyway, good for her, I guess. It is nice to see more diversity in the modeling industry.

    • Genevieve says:

      Precisely. The look or presentation of self is not one of originality or “outsider” status as much as it is a forced machination. The woman does not exude personality, she is a young person who dresses up in the style of a costume of something she wants to be not something she is or thought up on her own. She is not as a defined, full person, though she is young. Meh, she’ll get the connections by virtue of nepotism, but if she works well with them, she’ll get whatever it is that she wants. IMG sees obvious opportunity to capitalize and the decision makes all around business sense. Nepotism is not new nor will it die anytime soon.

    • observing says:

      She has that look that some models have — that blank canvas look.

      She’s not Cindy Crawford, but before the existence of the Kardashians models who were blank canvases seemed to be in demand.

      She’d be wearing other people’s clothes so she’ll probably look different when they doll her up.

      All politicians’ kids benefit from connections, though. I can’t think of one who hasn’t. So it seems pointless to me as a criticism to be directed at her unless she’s doing evil things, which she isn’t. Meghan McCain would not have a tv career without being related to someone famous, so…

  12. MissMarierose says:

    Eh. She’s still a tall, very thin white woman. We’re not really breaking any ground here.

    • Godwina says:

      This. And as others have said, she’s not unique. She’s a stereotype. A template. One I personally enjoy being around and looking at and sometimes even inhabiting, but there’s nothing iconoclastic here, move along. People who style themselves like she does are legion now.

      I do think she’s pretty cute.

      • L4frimaire says:

        There’s very few models these days who stand out. I’m sure she’s smart enough to see this as a bit of a lark and a stepping stone into the industry if that’s where her career focus is.

  13. Darla says:

    I am veery out of it, i would not wear any of this stuff. Good for her, the family seems awesome so I’m sure she is too, but I would never look to her for style advice.

  14. BK says:

    I see nepotism is still alive and well, no matter if you’re an R or D! She looked cute at the inauguration but most of her outfits on her IG are just terrible and ridiculous. Sorry lol

  15. K says:

    Good for her! I know they’re strategizing but I would rather see interesting and accomplished, stylish young women get modeling contracts than Kardashians and other vapid parasites.

  16. Zia says:

    Not sure she exudes “joy” lol ..but OK haha

  17. Nina Simone says:

    Ahem. I’m gonna say something unpopular but it has to be said:

    I see this as capitalizing off Kamalas VP role and I’m not okay with it. We were not ok with the Trump kids ways of doing the same. This is giving me grifting. I know Ella has connected parents, if this was truly about her being model material, she would have been signed. Same with Meena Harris who released a book the day of inauguration and has had to be reined in by Bidens lawyers. I personally would prefer politics to be separate from all that.

    • Darla says:

      Nina, what happened with Meena and Biden’s lawyers? I didn’t know about this.

      I think you bring up an interesting perspective actually.

    • SlipperyPeople says:


    • Jules says:

      Well said! You articulated what I had been sensing- that this reeks of nepotism and vultures flying down to profit and make money.

    • Frida_K says:

      I kind of get the same vibe with the Second Gentleman. He had a tweet on day one that had a picture of him a step ahead of VP Harris and it said “Honored and ready to get to work. It was a great first day.” Everyone was cooing and complimenting and I thought: “Huh, what would people have said if Mother had a twee snap of her walking ahead of Pence with this caption?” (Or about any female spouse of a male elected official…would this be viewed as adorable? Or tacky and surprising?)

      He also had a tweet about his first day teaching and asking for advice on how to go about it; again, I thought: “Wow, if I were paying Goddess-knows-how-much to go to that school, would I find it cute to see my professors asking for twitter advice on how to perform their job?” (And if he needs that advice, maybe he is not prepared for the position).

      Yes, I notice the Second Gentleman and am not so sure I’m impressed. He should sit back and be invisible for a while, and let his wife do all the shining and attention attracting for being the first of the gender in the given elected position. Later, if he wants to chime in, that’s fine, but he needs to ask himself first: “If a male politician had a wife tweeting this, would it be seen as endearing or would it be not such a good thing? ” and “Am I undermining my wife with my attempts to engage with a public that didn’t elect me?”

      It’s not that he needs to be utterly silent, but he could step back and think about these things, I think. Sort of like the Meena Harris, maybe. Just a little less enthusiasm and a little more decorum while VP gets her bearings, I think.

  18. L4frimaire says:

    She has a cool, quirky androgynous look that appeals to many designers and works for a lot of brands, and like Amanda, she’s also very thin. I could see why she would do this if she’s a student at Parsons. This will give her direct access to designers and brands, which will be great for a textile designer. As others have mentioned, regardless of her connections, she’s gonna have to tone that down so it doesn’t look like she’s taking advantage of it. It’s not exactly getting oil and gas leases or government contracts, but still, people will criticize.

  19. elfie says:

    I am DELIGHTED by this news! Ella is a breath of fresh air. She has a wildly original, unique style and I think she’s beautiful. I love her aesthetic, I hope she continues to be who she is and doesn’t let them take over and make her more mainstream.

  20. Mrs. Peel says:

    I’m shocked – she is not attractive in the least – in fact, she’s very homely with bad skin and an unusually high forehead.

    • Josie Bean says:

      Ditto. If her surname was “Trump” the comments here would be taking a different tone.

      This “model” business makes me very angry. I was thrilled for Kamala Harris and voted for her. However, I do not support her family members getting jobs that they would not have a snow balls chance in hell of getting if they were not related to her.

    • ennie says:

      these jobs are not in the administration, tho. It’d be interesting to know if any relatives or their spouses in the last administrations have somehow received benefits.
      I see this as almost unavoidable. these are perks they will get somehow, and hardly anyone would refuse. Maybe the younger children would (did) not benefit at the moment, but they will eventually do later in life.

      Last administrations : After the Kennedys.

    • Marmalazed says:

      Dang, that’s cold! Us ladies born with a five-head do the best we can with what we’ve got!

    • Cassie says:

      I’m so baffled here. She looks like every hipster girl I went to college with in the 2010s. This is not diversity. There’s nothing unique or striking about her appearance either? She’s perfectly average looking (nothing wrong with that!) and doesn’t really have any sort of presence on camera.

  21. Darla says:

    I just read the last two comments (elfie and mrs. peel) and cracked up. Well, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, or, as my grandma used to say “There’s an ass for every seat”

  22. Sunnyvale says:

    WoW! Good for her getting it but to be honest I was expecting the Biden girls to get it first. Perhaps their parents or grandparents felt they were too young and might need time off intense spotlight

  23. Bunny says:

    Yay, nepotism. Thin, “quirky”, rich white girl with mega-connections gets a modeling contract without having to work for it.

    How inspiring.

  24. Rivkah says:

    Wow!! Another rich, thin, white lady in modeling! how refreshing.

  25. Granger says:

    Sigh. There is nothing to see here but nepotism, riding the coattails of somebody else’s fame, and a company capitalizing on the office of the president to attract young followers and more business. My daughter is super “quirky,” with blonde and pink hair, a nose ring, and some crazy-ass thrift-store outfits, but nobody’s asking her to be a model. Oh, right, maybe it’s because half of her friends are “quirky” too.

  26. Krysha says:

    Honestly, when I saw this headline, I thought it was a joke or a spoof. An onion article, perhaps?

    I mean, it could be that the girl is sweet and hard working and a good person and all that, but a model? Really?

    There’s nothing wrong with looking homely, or having terrible skin or even laughably bad tattoos. Diversity really is what makes makes the world a beautiful place. But it’s another story to call a person featuring all of these undesirable traits and more a MODEL.

    The icky stench of nepotism is alive and well in the Democratic party as is evidenced by this girl’s modeling contract. There’s simply NO chance she would have landed such a thing otherwise.

    And anyone with eyes or a capacity for critical thought can see that.

    I’m left wondering, though, if she and her family acknowledge this, or whether they think she earned or deserves this somehow? That, to me, is the more interesting question…

  27. shanaynay says:

    Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm!!!

  28. Duch says:

    gosh, in that lead photo she looks like the drawing that Cassandra Austen did of Jane Austen!!

    • Duch says:

      (lead photo meaning the contents page, where her curls are peaking out underneath her stocking cap (or bonnet with JA))