Mandatory Facts: 10 Things You Might Not Know About New Veep Candidate Kamala Harris
It’s time to get to know Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s newly named pick for vice president. Harris is a trailblazer in more ways than one. She was the first Black woman in California to be elected district attorney and she’s the first woman of color on a major U.S. party’s presidential ticket. History-making labels aside, what makes the California senator tick? We’ve done some digging and come up with 10 things you might not know about the new veep candidate.
Cover Photo: Drew Angerer / Staff (Getty Images)
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Her name is imbued with meaning.
The senator’s full name is Kamala Devi Harris. (And it’s pronounced “comma-la,” BTW.) Kamala means “lotus” and is another name for the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Devi is a Sanskrit word that means “goddess” in Hinduism.
She has a multicultural background.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, to an Indian mother and Jamaican father. As a child, she sang in the choir of a Black Baptist church and attended a Hindu temple. As a child, she traveled to both Jamaica and India; she also lived in Montreal, Canada, during her teen years.
She got involved in politics from a young age.
Before she could even understand politics, she was politically active. Her parents used to attend protests with little Kamala in a stroller. She’s said that her earliest memories “are of a sea of legs marching around the streets and the sounds of shouting.”
She once dated a man 30 years her senior.
Harris had a May-December romance with Willie Brown, a Democratic politician three decades older than her, in the mid-‘90s. When he was speaker of the state assembly of California, he put Harris on the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Medical Assistance Commission. After he was elected mayor of San Francisco, however, Harris ended the relationship, citing its lack of “permanency.”
She has a dicey history with Obama.
The former president once called Harris the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” He was later called out for the sexist nature of the comment and apologized. While they are now considered friends, don't call her "the female Obama." As she's said, "I have my own legacy."
She collects Converse sneakers.
The senator wears Chuck Taylors when she travels.
She’s a foodie.
Harris is a healthy-eating advocate who loves to cook and reads recipes to relax. He go-to meal? Roast chicken.
She's an exercise enthusiast.
Harris like to get up early and hit the ground running -- literally. She works ups a sweat on the treadmill, the Elliptical, or at Soul Cycle. “You’ve got to work out,” she has said. “It has nothing to do with your weight. It's about your mind.”
Her supporters have a unique moniker.
Harris' online fans are called the "K-hive," inspired by Beyonce's "Beyhive."
Her mother gave her a powerful motto.
“You may be the first, but make sure you’re not the last.”
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