ELLE magazine hired an 11-year-old girl to conduct an interview with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton―and then headlined the article as Clinton’s “toughest interviewer yet.”
Clinton was interviewed by 11-year-old Marley Dias, who is the editor of her own online ‘zine for ELLE.com and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, “a book drive to collect stories about young black girls.”
While professional members of the corporate media may not be giving Dias much competition for being Clinton’s “toughest interviewer,” Dias’ interview was indeed insightful and revealing.
Among other news to come out of Dias’ interview, Clinton revealed that before her failed presidential bid in 2008, she had already tried running for president, and lost―during her senior year of high school. Clinton also told Dias that her most embarrassing moment as a young girl was when a friend accidentally yanked off Clinton’s fake ponytail during her freshman year.
In the interview, Clinton also reaffirmed her love for snacking on chocolate―writing that “chocolate to snack on” was one of Clinton’s three must-have items if she were to be stuck on a deserted island.
Dias explained that she reached out to Clinton in order to learn more about the Democratic nominee as a child:
“People don’t really talk a lot about what she did when she was a kid like me. It turns out she’s always been an activist. She’s always wanted to make a difference. I know, because I asked her! I emailed Hillary Clinton to find out what she was like when she was in middle school, why she loves her favorite books, and what happened when she got one really bad haircut… Reading our interview, I think it’s very obvious that Hillary Clinton can be deep and funny at the same time… She’s a real person—just like I am, just like my mom is, just like you are.”
Dias first question for Clinton was: “What was the first book you ever saw yourself in?”
Clinton told Dias that she identified with tomboy Jo March in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
“When I was young, I really identified with Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, particularly the character of Jo,” Clinton wrote. “I remember reading that book and thinking, I want to be like that when I grew up.”
Clinton later told Dias that her “favorite black girl book” is Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Dias also asked Clinton about her insecurities: “You are confident now, but what were your insecurities in middle school?”
Interestingly, Clinton told Dias that her insecurities were about her hair and involved her wearing a “fake ponytail” during her freshman year of high school:
“It was my first week of high school, and I was excited and nervous. At that time, I wore my hair in a ponytail or held back with a headband. When I saw the older girls with their hair in little bobs, I thought that looked so much more grown-up, so I begged my mother to take me to a real beauty parlor to get my hair cut. Our neighbor recommended a man who had a small shop behind a grocery store, and he got distracted talking to my mother and hacked off a huge chunk of my hair! I was mortified. So I tried to fix it by wearing a fake ponytail to school. And then a friend of mine accidentally pulled it off in front of everyone. Which of course was a nightmare. At the time, I felt like it might have been the worst moment of my life… I’m glad I didn’t know back then that I had a whole life ahead of me of people commenting on my hair!
When Dias asked about “a time that someone took credit for something you did, and how did you deal with it,” Clinton revealed that she ran for her senior class president in high school―and lost.
“When I was a senior, I ran for class president. And I lost,” Clinton wrote. “One of my opponents even told me I was ‘really stupid’ if I thought a girl could be elected president. Fine. But then the boy who won asked me to be the chair of the Organizations Committee. This meant that he got to be president, but I had to do most of the work.”
When asked “what three things” Clinton would want to have with her on a deserted island, Clinton told Dias that she would want, “a phone to FaceTime with my grandkids, some chocolate to snack on, and of course, a really great book.”
Clinton’s love for snacking on chocolate has been documented in previous occasions along the campaign trail―most recently, when Clinton used chocolate snacks as a way to refuse answering questions from the press.