Ella Emhoff, Kamala Harris's stepdaughter, opens up about new mullet: 'I’m really drawn to that almost ugly-chic look'

·3-min read

The internet has fallen in love with Vice President Kamala Harris’s stylish stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff. Now, they have another reason to be obsessed with the girl who is popularly referred to as the “First Daughter of Bushwick.” 

In her first Vogue photoshoot, Emhoff, 22, revealed a new mullet! 

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Although she’s rocked a light mullet for a few weeks now, her new “mullet shape up” sized up the ‘do — so much so that her Instagram followers are having a field day. 

“The more you have this style, the more you want to push the limits of how mullet-y you can get it,” Emhoff, the biological daughter of Douglas Emhoff, Second Gentleman of the United States, told Vogue. “I feel like in the past, the mullet was deemed unattractive and kind of odd, and I’m really drawn to that almost ugly-chic look.” 

In the playful, quirky shoot photographed by Brianna Capozzi for Vogue, Emhoff wears a fuzzy ribbed yellow cardigan and white-striped dress shirt with a ruffled collar from Celine by Hedi Slimane. 

The hair was styled by New York City-based hairstylist Masami Hosono, who runs the gender-neutral hair salon Vacancy Project in the East Village. For the shoot, Hosono said they added texture at the top to make it more “jellyfish-looking” rather than the typical box shape most mullets tend to be. 

“Everybody used to make fun of mullets,” Hosono told Vogue. “Now everybody wants one.”

It’s true that the mullet is indeed making a comeback, but the larger question is how (and why)? Well, according to British hair historian, Rachel Gibson, who runs the Instagram account @thehairhistorian, which profiles hair, art and history, mullets have been around for centuries dating all the way back to the Vikings and Romans. 

Apparently, the art of business in the front and party in the back helped warriors’s hair from not being yanked by their adversaries during battle, she explained to Vogue. While the style has had numerous alterations in the last century thanks to artists like David Bowie, Doja Cat, and Miley Cyrus, Gibson says these days it's all about how the mullet can be reimagined in the 21st century. 

“These days, hairdressers bemoan that while hair is still styled, we don’t see interesting cuts anymore,” she said. “But adversity tends to breed creativity, and a lot more unconventional hair choices are coming out of lockdown.” 

Emhoff, who was an apparel and textiles major at the Parsons School of Design, continues to make big fashion statements on her Instagram. Her posts are often androgynous, boundary-pushing and fearless in their storytelling — ranging from rib dresses and housecoats to knit pants, hats and shorts. 

Emhoff solidified her status as a fashion idol on Inauguration Day on January 20, when her stepmother was sworn in as the first female vice president and the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history, as well as the first African American and first Asian American vice president. Emhoff collaborated with designer Batsheva Hay to create a head-turning outfit: a Miu Miu tartan coat with crystal-encrusted shoulders and a theatrical pilgrim collar over a burgundy Batsheva dress.

Ella Emhoff arrives for the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington. (Credit: Win McNamee/Pool Photo via AP)
Ella Emhoff arrives for the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington. (Photo: Win McNamee/Pool Photo via AP)
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Furthermore, Emhoff has used her new platform to support the LGBTQ community. Last year, she premiered a knit pants raffle that encouraged followers to donate $10 to For The Growls, a trans-led fund that helps Black trans people pay for rent, gender-affirming surgeries, travel and other medical expenses. 

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Check out some of our favorite Ella Emhoff styles: 

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