If you don’t know Ella Emhoff, then this is the time to get to know her. The model, who just so happens to be the stepdaughter of Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States, is rising through the fashion ranks, appearing on various designer runways and forging her career in textiles.
The 24-year-old is a beacon of creativity, having studied at Parsons School of Design in New York. Her artistic personality is evident upon first glance, as the designer-model is peppered with edgy tattoos.
Ella has at least 18 tattoos, including one of a cow on her left arm, a birthday cake and a flower pot, and a smiley face made up of eggs and bacon. Speaking to Garage in 2021, she revealed she began inking herself during the pandemic: "I did the classic: I did my dog's name, and I did a little flower. I recently did my first big boy: [a] salmon fish with a flower hanging out of its mouth."
Yet, the model’s inkings may be controversial at home with Kamala Harris and father Douglas Emhoff. U.S. Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff is Jewish and has been photographed celebrating Jewish holidays with his wife across the years. However, in Jewish religion and culture, being tattooed is often frowned upon.
The devasting reason behind this has links to the Holocaust. During the Second World War, Jews living in camps were tattooed by the Nazis with a number. While some liberal Jews embraced tattooing as an act of defiance against this harrowing history, many members of the Jewish community are still very much haunted by the memory of tattooing during the Holocaust.
Moreover, according to the Torah (Leviticus 19:28), "You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves". This is a well-known aversion that has led many Jews to avoid the needle.
However, in recent years, an increasing number of Jews have been experimenting with tattoos as the anti-tatt trope is losing its significance. Tattoos are seen more as fashion statements or an outward expression of the inner self in today's zeitgeist, meaning that while the turbulent history of Jews with tattoos remains ever-relevant, followers of the Jewish faith are toying with body art more and more.
So, whether or not the Emhoff clan take issue with Ella’s inkings, it's clear the 24-year-old has positive, artistic intentions behind her needlework. Plus, Ella has not inherited her father’s Jewish faith, as the religion is traditionally passed down through the mother’s side.
Ella recently showed off her body art in a selfie shared to social media. "Can’t even lie, I just made a hot dress," she captioned the post that featured a series of pictures of herself in the cream knit dress that hugged her figure and allowed her arms tattoos to shine.
"That drape in the back is amazing," commented one follower as others praised her for the "hot" look and couldn't believe it was all knitwork.
The fashion student made her New York Fashion Week debut as a designer this past spring. While she is a familiar face on the runway, the star is also the founder of an avant-garde knitwear brand called Ella Likes To Knit and she celebrated her eponymous brand's first pop-up by hosting an event in Spring Studios.
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