Vice President Kamala Harris' stepdaughter stole my heart when she walked into the Inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 wearing an orange-bejeweled Miu Miu coat. And I'm far from the only one who was struck by her fashion sense. Barely a week after she made headlines for being one of the new administration's most fashionable players, Ella Emhoff has been signed to IMG Models as its newest face. The 21-year-old has modeled on and off over the past year, but this partnership will bring her onto an entirely new platform. As if being in the Second Family wasn't enough change.
This leap has actually been in the works for a few months, long before Emhoff debuted her iconic look at her stepmother's inauguration. At a fundraiser for Harris back in 2020, Emhoff caught the eye of Ivan Bart, president of IMG Models. "Wow, she's communicating fashion," he told the New York Times. “It’s not really about shape, size, or gender any more. Ella communicates this moment in time. There’s a cheekiness and a joy she exudes."
This move for Emhoff, a senior at Parson's School of Design, makes sense. She's studying fine arts with a focus on textiles, so the fashion world likely feels like second nature. Her Instagram alone has been garnering attention throughout Harris' campaign, thanks to Emhoff's bright, crocheted-filled outfits and funky aesthetic.
Even so, she does have her concerns. “As someone who, like a lot of young girls out there, had self-confidence issues, it's intimidating and scary to go into this world that is hyper-focused on you and the body,” she said. However, those reserves are part of her reasoning for signing with IMG in the first place. The modeling world has gotten more diverse in recent years, and as someone with creative passion, quirky tattoos, armpit hair, and a self-described "kind of funky haircut," she creates even more space for people who don't always see themselves represented in media.
The remaining question, of course, is where will fans see Emhoff first. Bart made some allusions to fashion spreads, a brand association, and possibly a podcast down the line, but nothing is for sure yet. No matter where her new modeling career takes her, however, Emhoff's focused on the greater good. "I’ve obviously got a bigger platform now, and I’m excited to share a lot of things I really care about, and do some good.”