Is there any living politician who has reinvented themselves quite as much as Kamala Harris?
Born in 1964 in Oakland, California to Jamaican and Indian immigrants, Harris rose from humble beginnings to become the first female Vice President of the United States, as well as the first African-American and person of South Asian descent to hold the position.
Her career in politics started with her role as the District Attorney of San Francisco and later Attorney General of California.
But there are aspects of Kamala Harris’s life the public is not so familiar with, including her childhood, teenage years, college days, and even her early celebrity romances. Here is the Kamala Harris you’ve never seen, in rare early photos of her life.
Mother and daughter
Every great story has to start somewhere! Here, we can see Kamala Harris as a baby being nursed by her mother Shyamala Gopalan.
Father knows best
Her parents would eventually get divorced. But Kamala still has this great photo of her and her father Donald Harris in 1965, back when her folks were still together.
We all scream for ice cream
Sometimes, it’s tough to relate to politicians. But this photo shows a young Kamala doing something very relatable: throwing down on some yummy ice cream!
Kamala Harris remains very close with her younger sister Maya Harris. But as you can tell from this Christmas 1968 photo, they’ve always had a special bond.
Sister and mom make three
The influence of her mother and sister helped shape Kamala Harris into who she is today. This photo from 1970 kind of gives new meaning to the term “girl power!”
In case you didn’t know, Kamala’s dad is from Jamaica. This led to occasional trips where she was able to meet other family members and learn more about her cultural heritage.
Before attending law school, Kamala went to Howard University. In this photo from 1982, we see her and classmate Gwen Whitfield protesting apartheid, which was one of their most frequent activities.
Making friends and influencing people
Kamala Harris made many friends while attending Howard University. Here, she is striking a pose with them in all her ’80s glory!
School photo queen
If we had a time machine, most of us would go back in time and make sure our awful school photos never ended up in a yearbook. But that’s because our photos don’t look as good as Kamala’s Howard University photo.
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She is the law
As you may already know, Kamala Harris didn’t stop with a single degree. She went on to earn her law degree in 1989 from University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Visiting grandma in Jamaica
Those Jamaica visits didn’t stop when Kamala grew up. Here, we can see her visiting her paternal grandmother Beryl while wearing some very comfy clothing.
Meet Kamala’s mentor
Mrs. Regina Shelton was a mentor to Kamala Harris since Kamala was very young. Here, we see her visiting Shelton after beginning her career at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
Dating Montel Williams
It’s almost impossible to imagine Kamala Harris dating talk show host Montel Williams. But the couple had a brief romance in the early 2000s. This photo shows Kamala with Montel and his daughter Ashley at a charity event in 2001.
Kamala as public servant
During Thanksgiving 2003, Kamala Harris was a hopeful candidate for San Francisco district attorney. This photo captures her serving meals at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church.
Bringing home the bacon
Why change a winning strategy? When Kamala Harris was running for Attorney General of California, she served breakfast to union members at LA’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Kamala gets NSYNC
Kamala Harris was a celebrity in her own right when she became California’s Attorney General. But she couldn’t resist getting her picture taken with NSYNC singer Lance Bass and Niche Media founder Jason Binn at New York City nightclub Provocateur in 2011.
It’s “Showtime,” Kamala!
One of the perks of serving in California was access to cool premieres and parties. Here, we see Kamala attending Showtime’s “EMMYEVE” Soiree held at Sunset Tower in West Hollywood back in 2012.
Presiding at the playoffs
A close basketball game can make anyone nervous! In this photo, Kamala is watching the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs play as part of the Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series in 2013.
Rocking an Oscar party
Part of what makes the romance between Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff work is their list of shared interests. Here, we see the two of them living it up at Vanity Fair’s 2015 Oscar Party.
Kamala managed to bond with Doug Emhoff’s children right away when she married him in 2014. Here she is attending stepson Cole Emhoff’s Colorado College graduation in 2017.
In an October 2020 interview with Glamour, Cole describes how his family fell in “love at first sight” with Kamala when he met her while he was still in high school.
“I met her and we had this amazing dinner. And I realized like, Oh, my God, Doug has met someone who is completely unique and totally special.”
Fanning those dreams
Thanks to her parentage, Kamala Harris understands immigration issues better than most. In this 2018 photo taken at the US Capitol in Washington D.C., we see Kamala playing with a child whose mother is an immigrant from Mozambique.
Lunch with Al Sharpton (and uninvited guests)
This lunch with Al Sharpton in 2019 was nothing short of two legends meeting together. Of course, the paparazzi nearly falling through the window kind of ruin the moment.
Eeney, ‘Meena,’ miney, mo
Kamala will be the first to tell you that she couldn’t succeed without the support of her niece Meena Harris. Here, we see her giving Meena a big smooch as a way of saying thanks!
Posing with the fam
Kamala Harris becoming vice president transformed her immediate family, husband Doug Emhoff and stepchildren Cole and Ella Emhoff, into celebrities. But in this cute photo, we can see that they just enjoy being an average family.
These nieces are really great
These days, most of Kamala’s “dancing” involves dancing with politicians to help make legislation happen. But she still finds time to cut a rug with her great-nieces Amara and Leela Ajagu.