Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Kamala Harris



Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Kamala Harris

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Whoever you voted for, there are a lot of fascinating things you didn't know about Kamala Harris. Our countdown includes she went to Howard, she was friends with Beau Biden, she collects Chuck Taylors, and more!

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Kamala Harris

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 things you didn't know about Kamala Harris.

For this list, we’ll be looking at interesting facts about the vice president-elect of the United States.

Did you know these details about Kamala Harris? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Her Ancestry Is Indian & Jamaican

Kamala Harris was born in California in 1964. Her mother was a cancer researcher from India named Shyamala Gopalan and her father was Donald J. Harris, an economist from Jamaica. Her parents met while they were both studying at UC Berkeley and pursuing activism. Growing up in a multicultural household certainly affected her worldview. And after her parents got divorced, she lived in West Berkeley, a neighborhood with a significant Black population. She attended both a Hindu temple and a Black Baptist church, where she was part of the children’s choir.

#9: She Led a Demonstration at the Age of 13

Kamala has a long history with activism. Her parents would even take her to protests when she was an infant. When Kamala was 12 years old, she moved with her mother and younger sister Maya to Montreal, Quebec, Canada where Shyamala Gopalan was teaching at the Jewish General Hospital, which is affiliated with McGill University. At the young age of 13, Kamala held a demonstration in front of their apartment building, with her sister’s help, to protest the fact that children weren’t allowed to play on the front lawn. Their efforts were successful and they managed to have the policy turned around.

#8: She Went to Howard

Kamala attended French elementary school Notre-Dame-des-Neiges in Montreal, before enrolling in Westmount High where she completed her high school education in Canada. She then attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., which is known as one of the top historically black schools in America. Her major was in political science and economics, which was the perfect stepping stone for a career in politics. She also managed to have some fun as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. After graduating, she went to law school back in California at the Hastings College of the Law.

#7: She Was California's First Black Female DA

Kamala Harris’s official career in the world of politics began when she got a job with the Alameda County District Attorney's Office as a deputy DA. She later moved to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. It was there that she made history as the first person of color to become the district attorney in San Francisco. She simultaneously became the first black female DA in all of California. In 2010, she made history again as the first woman of color to be elected as the Attorney General of California. She was later chosen to continue the role for a second time in 2014.

#6: She Was Friends with Beau Biden

When Kamala was Attorney General, she became friends with Joe Biden’s late son, Beau Biden. Their relationship formed while he was Delaware's Attorney General. Over time, their professional relationship became a more personal one. They worked together in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis when they were both tasked with dealing with developing housing issues. In her memoir, which was released in 2019, Harris said, “There were periods, when I was taking the heat, when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day." He sadly passed away in 2015. Judging by Kamala’s words, she’ll never forget the time she spent with Beau.

#5: She Got Married for the First Time at 49

Anyone who still hasn’t found their true love later in life can take inspiration from Kamala Harris’s story. She married attorney Douglas Emhoff in California in 2014 when she was 49 years old. Although she once dated Montel Williams - yes, the talk show host - Harris had never previously married and didn’t have any children. Emhoff had two children of his own from a previous marriage and they adorably call their stepmom, Kamala “Momala,” as a term of endearment. It just goes to show that sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for the perfect love story!

#4: Her Favorite Books

In 2019, Kelly Jensen of Book Riot reached out to a number of presidential candidates to ask them about their favorite books. Kamala Harris was the first of the Democratic candidates to answer the request and named five books among her favorites. We learned that she loved “Native Son” by Richard Wright and “The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan. Harris was also a fan of enduring classic “Song of Solomon” by Toni Morrison as well as the extremely popular novel “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. But most people would likely identify with her love for childhood favorite, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.

#3: She Collects Chuck Taylors

We’re used to seeing female politicians in sensible pumps during their campaign events. So, the world was surprised and thrilled when Kamala Harris appeared in a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors while on the campaign trail in 2020. According to an interview with The Cut, she has deemed them her “airport sneakers” and has an entire collection of them. Her Chuck Taylor collection is large enough to match certain outfits and fit different weather conditions. Harris even has pairs reserved for when she doesn’t feel like tying her shoes that day. It’s good to see her using her shoe collection in such a versatile and relatable way.

#2: She’s Friends with Barack Obama

After seeing both of these politicians in the public eye, it should come as a surprise to no one that they’re friends. Kamala and Barack Obama are longtime buddies. There were even rumors that Obama considered her for a position on the Supreme Court and as his Attorney General. Back in 2008, she was one of the first prominent figures in California to endorse his presidential run. On one occasion, Obama got into a bit of hot water when some thought he was a little too friendly towards Harris. When he referred to Kamala as the “best-looking attorney general in the country,” his critics deemed the comment inappropriate.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Her Supporters Are Called the #KHive

She Loves French Fries

Her Grandfather Was a Public Servant & Her Grandmother Was an Activist

#1: The Meaning of Her Name

Kamala Harris’s name has been a hot topic since she was announced as Joe Biden’s running mate because many people seemed to have trouble pronouncing it. She got her name from her mother, who chose it because of their Indian roots. Kamala primarily means “lotus”. Her name also makes reference to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi and stands for female empowerment. There’s one more thing Kamala got from her mother: her motto. She lives by the words, “You may be the first, but make sure you’re not the last.” Those words certainly seem more poignant than ever now that she has been elected as the first female Vice President of the United States.