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‘First Partner’ has the celebrity touch

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom, watches a basketball game Sacramento in Sacramento. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

California’s “First Partner” Jennifer Siebel Newsom is smart, articulate, idealistic — and cautious.

Well, most of the time she’s cautious.

In a recent appearance before a capacity crowd at the Sacramento Press Club, Newsom, a film-maker with an MBA from Stanford, acidly dismissed President Trump as the “the embodiment of toxic masculinity.”

As well as writing, directing, and producing, films, Newsom has also done her fair share of work in front of the camera.

In a brief interview following her hour-long appearance, Newsom, the wife of the governor, said her summation of Trump was part of her contention, in public statements and in her documentary films, that the deck is unfairly stacked against women and the president is an example of the uber-masculinity that has, over the decades, created that unfair situation.

Newsom’s film, Miss Representation, makes the case that the media has underrepresented women in positions of power. The film premiered in the documentary competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Her second film, which she wrote, produced, and directed, was The Mask You Live In, an examination of American society’s definition of masculinity. It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Festival.

As well as writing, directing, and producing, films, Newsom has also done her fair share of work in front of the camera. Some of her acting credits include Rent, Mad Men, In the Valley of Ellah and Something’s Gotta Give. Newsom is the founder and chief executive director of Girls Club Entertainment, a company established to create films about women empowerment.

Newsom is also a public speaker, addressing numerous groups, including TedxWomen, Wells Fargo, AT&T, Google, MIT, Georgetown University, Stanford University, Harvard University, and Women’s Foundation of America.

“I think we educate each other. I’m really proud of him because he listens.” — Jennifer Siebel Newsom, referring to the governor.

The First Partner, which Newsom was asked to be called because it is more inclusive than “First Lady,” repeatedly emphasized her women empowerment theme during the Q & A session with KCRA’s Edie Lambert.

“Women earn only 80 percent of what men earn,” she told the assemblage of Capitol staffers, political consultants and reporters. “We need to speak out.”

“Women in the legislature have really been chomping at the bit to introduce legislation leveling the playing field for women,” she said. “It’s an exciting time.”

Other observations adhered to standard Newsom themes:

  • Children – “They’re our future.”
  • “It’s a beautiful marriage. Gavin and I have a really enlightened partnership. It’s really extraordinary what we’ve been doing.” Does she and the governor ever disagree on public policy? “I think we educate each other. I’m really proud of him because he listens.”
  • Other than the remark about “toxic masculinity,” any thoughts on Trump? (Dead silence until a ripple of laughter spread through the audience.)
  • She has “tremendous respect” for Maria Shriver and Anne Gust Brown
  • She and the governor “used to meditate, but that’s fallen by the wayside” because of the demands of the governor’s office.
  • “Journalism and storytelling is more valuable than ever.”
  • During her Hollywood acting days, her agent told her not to mention to casting directors that she had an MBA from Stanford.

Newsom is the oldest of four daughters raised in Ross, an upscale Marin community. Her family was politically conservative, but everyone’s friendly now. “Gavin is a calming influence” at family gatherings, his wife said.

Gavin and Jennifer Newsom met on a blind date in 2006, after Newsom’s divorce from Kimberly Guilfoyle, a TV personality and attorney who is currently dating Don Trump Jr. After dating for 2 years, Gavin proposed while on a vacation to Hawaii on December 29, 2007 and they got married in 2008.

They have four children, all with distinctive names: Montana Tessa Siebel Newsom, age nine; Hunter Siebel Newsom, age seven; Brooklynn Siebel Newsom, age five; and their youngest son,  Dutch William Siebel Newsom, age three.

What about her own political ambitions?

“I have no aspirations. I’m busy now,” she said.

 

 


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