The Next Hunter? Kamala Harris's Stepdaughter Cashes in on Biden Presidency

Brooklyn 'artist' Ella Emhoff scores modeling deal with firm run by Democratic donors

January 29, 2021

Hunter Biden's gravy train may be stalled on the tracks until federal authorities conclude their investigation into his finances, but that doesn't mean other Biden-Harris family members can't cash in on their proximity to power.

Ella Emhoff, the 21-year-old stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, recently scored a major modeling contract with IMG Models, a firm with deep ties to the Democratic Party.

Prior to signing with IMG, the Brooklyn-based "artist" was best known for wearing a weird coat to the inauguration ceremony, and for the inability of journalists to contain their excitement in response to said coat. For example:

  • "Ella Emhoff, Second Daughter, Is The First Style Icon of the Biden Presidency" (Glamour)
  • "Meet Ella Emhoff, the U.S. presidential inauguration's breakout fashion star" (CNN)
  • "Ella Emhoff, Kamala Harris's Stepdaughter, Showed Everyone Else Up at the Inauguration" (Town & Country)
  • "Ella Emhoff's Inauguration Day Stylists Share the Story Behind Her Instantly Iconic Miu Miu Coat" (E! Online)
  • "There's a Lot More to Ella Emhoff, Inauguration Star, Than Her Fabulous Coat" (Daily Beast)

Here's how the New York Times described the Second Stepdaughter's alternative appeal in an article announcing her new modeling gig:

Ms. Emhoff throws a crocheted grenade at the image of typical D.C. political offspring, with a style that could be termed Wes Anderson chic. In her selfies, she doesn’t wear much makeup and doesn’t carefully blow-dry her naturally curly hair. She shows off her armpit hair and cartoonish tattoos, which include eggs and bacon in the shape of a smiley face and a cow.

As Ivan Bart, president of IMG Models, explained in an interview with the Times, being a model is "not really about shape, size or gender anymore." Emhoff was a perfect fit for the organization, Bart said, because she exudes "cheekiness" and "joy," and "communicates this moment in time."

While most journalists seemed to agree with that assessment, there were a few exceptions. Slate published an article expressing frustration with "the way Emhoff’s deal has been conveyed and celebrated" as a norm-destroying coup, pointing out that there isn't anything particularly revolutionary or diverse about being a rich, white, tall, thin, female Brooklynite with tattoos and armpit hair.

See for yourself:

Bart was an early max donor to Harris's failed presidential campaign, according to federal election records. He reportedly met Emhoff at the fundraiser where he presumably wrote the check for $2,700.

In the summer of 2020, around the time Joe Biden picked Harris as his running mate, Bart and Emhoff began discussing the possibility of a modeling contract with IMG. It would seem, however, that a final decision wasn't made until Harris was sworn in as vice president.

IMG is part of an entertainment conglomerate run by Ari Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, the former Obama chief of staff, and Patrick Whitesell, a prolific Democratic donor who contributed more than $150,000 to Democratic candidates and committees in the 2020 election cycle.

Emhoff isn't the only member of Harris's family cashing in on the success of the Biden-Harris ticket.

Kamala's niece, Meena Harris, published a Kamala-themed children's book in 2020, and a second book released on the eve of the inauguration. She also started her own apparel company specializing in #Resistance swag, including this $52 Anthony Fauci mug. Lawyers for the Biden-Harris transition team were concerned enough to warn the ambitious niece against profiting off her aunt's image.

Hunter Biden's ongoing legal challenges haven't stopped other members of the Biden family from blatantly exploiting their ties to the president for financial gain. Joe Biden's younger brother, Frank Biden, promoted his relationship with the president in an ad published on Inauguration Day in a Florida business journal.

"My brother is a model for how to go about doing this work," Frank Biden says in the ad for the Florida-based litigation firm where he works as a non-attorney senior adviser. The younger Biden has previously bragged about his success in lobbying his brother on behalf of moneyed interests during the Obama administration.