Hillary Clinton confidant Huma Abedin is profiled in a lengthy Vogue article by Nathan Heller that called her “the engine at the center of Clinton’s well-run machine.” Abedin is the Democratic presidential candidate’s longest-serving staffer and started as an intern back in 1996.
Abedin was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to an Indian-born father and Palestinian mother who moved to Saudi Arabia when their daughter was very young.
“I grew up in a country where there was no such thing as electoral politics. I mean, we didn’t vote,” she told Vogue. Things have worked out quite well for Abedin ever since, here are five takeaways from the profile.
1. She is even tighter with Hillary than you thought
We already knew Clinton and Abedin were close, but the Vogue article makes them appear inseparable.
“To onlookers, Clinton and Abedin seem to travel the world as a single entity joined by complementary strengths,” Heller wrote. “If Clinton, in her bold suits and impeccable coifs, distills a certain era of feminist empowerment, Abedin, with her breezy downtown dresses and mobile power-dialing, is the professional face of a younger, more wired-in female generation.”
“The nature of our relationship has changed,” Abedin told Vogue. “Over the years, we’ve shared stories about our lives, we’ve shared more meals than I can count, we’ve celebrated together, we’ve mourned together.”
2. It wasn’t love at first sight with husband Anthony Weiner
“Our recollection is not identical,” Abedin told Vogue about the first time she met her husband, former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, which happened at Democratic retreat in 2001. “But we both remember that I ordered tea, and then left to use the ladies’ room, and then never came back. That was our first meeting.”
“One of the things that, because we became friendly, I found striking about Anthony was how smart he was, what a great debater he was. He was smart, he was passionate,” she told the magazine before calling his passion “very attractive.” The two married in 2010.
Weiner famously put Abedin in the public eye when a sexting scandal became tabloid fodder in 2011 and forced Weiner had to resign from Congress. Abedin stood by his side through the scandal, much like Hillary did with Bill Clinton.
3. Her Muslim faith is very important to her
The 2000 Camp David summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was “fascinating” to Abedin because she got to speak Arabic, according to Vogue.
Abedin is a practicing Muslim and said her faith helped her get through her husband’s sexting scandal. Her father was born in India and her mother was born in Pakistan. Her father even started a nonprofit, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs.
Her parents made sure she was educated on various aspects of her faith. “I’d come home, and my father would say, ‘We’re only doing Urdu or Hindi in the house today,'” she told Vogue.
4. She buries herself in work
Abedin doesn’t mind spending her career in Clinton’s shadow. “I feel like, in some small way, I’m helping her help other people,” she told Vogue.
Her single-minded devotion to her job has a down side. “When someone recently asked for a restaurant recommendation near the office, Abedin didn’t know a single eatery in downtown Brooklyn: In a year and a half of working there, she’d never once left the building for lunch,” Heller wrote.
But she declined to speculate about her own future in politics or a possible Hillary Clinton administratio. “I’ve never really thought about my job as one in which eventually I’m trying to be the boss of the organization,” Abedin told Vogue. “I don’t have that need — that ambition, in a way, or that identity crisis.”
5. She’s very into fashion, but wasn’t always
She arrived at the White House in “Beltway-basic J.Crew suits” but now prefers high-fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang, and Alexander McQueen.
“I have often thought that if I weren’t in politics I would work in fashion,” she told the magazine.