Kerstin Mackin Emhoff is a California businesswoman and the first wife of Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff. She is the mother of their two children, Cole and Ella, who call Vice President Kamala Harris their “mamala” instead of stepmom or stepmother.
In a piece for Elle magazine, Harris wrote about how much she values her relationship with Cole and Ella. She also wrote about how grateful she feels to the children’s mother.
Harris wrote, “To know Cole and Ella is to know that their mother Kerstin is an incredible mother. Kerstin and I hit it off ourselves and are dear friends…We sometimes joke that our modern family is almost a little too functional.”
Here’s what you need to know about Kerstin Emhoff, Doug Emhoff’s ex wife:
1. She’s the President & Co-Founder of a Production Company Called Prettybird
Prettybird is a production company with offices in New York and Los Angeles. Emhoff established the company in 2008 along with the director Paul Hunter. The company produces content for films, television and live performances. The company describes itself as a “creative think tank” working with clients “across an ever-evolving entertainment and branding landscape.” Prettybird has been described as “arguably one of the strongest and most exciting production companies in the world right now.”
2. She Dreamed of Being a Ballerina When She Was Younger
Emhoff says that she was a “very determined child” who dreamed of a career in the performing arts. She went to a specialized performing arts school and, she says, wanted to be a famous ballerina. But, she says, she realized that she wouldn’t be able to make it as a ballerina and that she didn’t have a future in acting either. That’s when she decided to go to film school instead. Emhoff says that after graduating from film school, she moved to Los Angeles to try and launch a career in film. She got a job working as a waitress and eventually met some advertising executives who helped get her interested in short form films. That led to her career in production.
Emhoff says she started her career working at a small production company where, because the company was so small, she ended up doing a little bit of everything. She said she especially loved working on music videos and enjoyed working on the video for Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.”
3. Emhoff Founded a Non-Profit Aimed at Helping Minorities Find Work in the Entertainment Industry
Emhoff founded an organization called Pipelines, which is aimed at helping minorities find work in entertainment, tech, and the arts. The group works to increase opportunities for young people and minorities in production, entertainment, and related fields, something which Emhoff says has been a passion of hers for many years.
4. Emhoff Grew Up in Minneapolis & Studied Film in Boston
Emhoff was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned her degree in film from Boston University and, after graduating, moved to Los Angeles to start a career in film. She found work with a small production company where, she says, she was involved in every aspect of the production process and fell in love with making music videos.
Emhoff is the president and co-founder of Prettybird, a production company. The company has worked on, among other things, Lady Gaga’s Grammy performance and Beyonce’s Formation video, The Trust.
5. Emhoff Is a Staunch Supporter of Kamala Harris & Often Promotes Her on Social Media
In a recent piece for Elle Magazine, then-presidential hopeful Kamala Harris wrote about how grateful she is to Kerstin Emhoff. Harris said that the two have a warm, supportive relationship and that they have created a very functional “modern family.” Emhoff often uses social media to post about her support for Kamala Harris. Recently, Emhoff posted video clips of Harris grilling Attorney General William Barr during a Senate hearing. Emhoff captioned the post, “She’s damn good!” In a post back in January, Emhoff wrote, “Here we go! This is the voice we need speaking for the people and willing to fight this nasty circus running the White House right now! Go Kamala!”