When Chiara de Blasio voted for the first time, her father's name was on the ballot. The 18-year-old daughter of New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio spoke to the Cut the morning after her dad's Democratic primary opponent conceded. After spending the summer campaigning — and watching little brother Dante become a viral video star — Chiara is heading back to college, where she plans to major in environmental studies. Over oatmeal at Park Slope's Little Purity diner, she discussed Dante's Afro, her signature flower crown, and sleeping over in an East Harlem housing project.
How was freshman year of college?
It was a difficult transition. I go to school in California, and it was very different from New York. It's a pretty small campus and wasn't really diverse, racially or economically. My main reason for going was scholarship purposes. The way that people pay for college nowadays will affect them for decades, having to get crazy loans and stuff. It was hard, but I'm really excited to go back now. I'm going back on Friday. I live in the dorms.
What do you think of the excitement surrounding your brother?
I think it's well deserved! I mean, he hasn't cut his hair in, like, seven years.
You used to have an Afro, too. Do you regret changing it?
Oh, I change my hair all the time. Right now I'm dreading it, so I won't change it for a long time now, but I probably changed my hair about once a year for the past several years. I think the natural-hair movement going on these years is amazing. Black women go through so much effort to make their hair look like white people's hair, which it never will unless they get a weave. It's so much money and stress.
Your dad once said, "I am very proud of the fact that my wife and I have raised two vegetarians." Were you raised that way from the start?
When we were really young, we were raised mainly vegetarian. I think we ate fish sticks, and that's about it. My mom was the one who was really proactive about it. So for several years of my life I only ate fish sparingly, and then I started eating some red meats because my dad was the meat eater in the family. But I soon rejected that. I was vegan for my whole freshman year of high school, but it wasn't too healthy for me.
It's hard to do!
Yeah. I have a lot of allergies. It was mainly an ethical thing, in terms of animal rights. I love animals and don't see any need to eat them. I learned a lot in my environment ethics class last semester, and there's so many environmental and health reasons to do it, too, so I don't plan to eat meat ever again.
Do you read articles about your mom and dad?
I don't read every article, but I read a lot of them. It's a little hard to keep up with all the ones about my dad now.
Have you found out anything new about them?
I found out they went to Cuba for their honeymoon! In one of the forums, during the lightning round, the moderator asked if the candidates had ever been to Cuba. They had always told me they went to Canada. They actually flew out of there to go to Cuba, but they'd never told us. I thought it was awesome. I was like, "Why didn't you tell me that? That's so badass."
What did you mean when you said your dad was not "some boring white guy"?
I meant that a lot of politicians are white and may not have cultural knowledge or interest in every racial or social background. But my dad went to Nicaragua during the Sandinista movement. He has visited multiple countries in Africa. He's a very worldly person, and I think that a lot of people could look at him and just see the color of his skin, but it's so much deeper than that.
What did you like best on the campaign trail?
I like understanding what's going on better. In every way I think that I'm lucky to live the life that I live. I don't have a lot of the problems that other people have. It's very important for me to see what other people go through.
Like when you accompanied your father on the mayoral candidates' sleepover in a Harlem housing project.
Yeah. I'd never been inside a projects apartment before. Just to see those people who had just, by a totally unfortunate turn of events, they had ended up living in this place that was totally subpar living conditions. That just totally broke my heart. The family I stayed with had had a fire at their house. And the woman's husband had health issues and so they had to pay for his treatment, and he couldn’t live there because the elevators didn't work and he had a wheelchair. That can tear a family apart. Not everybody can have the best of luck, but I think it's crucial to pay attention to people like that.
Tell me about your flower crown.
I really like living things. I like plants. I'm a pretty happy person, and I guess I just like to have an ethereal thing going on. I got it at Urban Outfitters, as was suspected.
And your piercings? When did you get them?
Hmmm, let me think. I started stretching my ears several years ago, probably when I was 15. I got my eyebrow pierced last April, and I got my nose pierced this April. My mom used to have a nose ring, too.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Most Viewed Stories
This Conspiracy Theory Will Change How You Feel About the Bachelor Villain
The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for the Women’s March
Here’s the Official List of Speakers for the Women’s March on Washington
15 Protest Sign Ideas for the Women’s March on Washington
Sexual Assault in the Amazon
The Sheer Perfection of Donald Trump’s Golden Shower
Things to Keep You Warm and Dry at a Protest
Your Guide to Peeing During the Women’s March on Washington
TMZ Reports Trump Will Actually Have Really Cool Inauguration Performers
Your Guide to NYC Inauguration Weekend Protests
From Our Partners
The Fashion Spot
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesA Holiday Season Weekend Through London
A good guide for avid The Crown fans.It’s About Time You Learned Tove Lo’s Name
The singer has crafted pop hits you’ve heard a thousand times by now.Marina Abramovic Has Outlasted Her Lovers and, She Hopes, Her Critics
The world's most famous performance artist at 70.The Wing: Do Women Still Need a Space of Their Own?
This exclusive social club for women, is part sorority, part start-up.In Virtual Reality, Women Run the World
A new generation of female artists is making VR the most diverse corner of the male-dominated tech space.The Novelist Disguised As a Housewife
Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children — and she couldn't have had a successful career without them.Ava DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.Unknown NFL Player Tries to Get Attention by Asking Aly Raisman Out in Video
That’s one way to do it.Don’t Mess This Up, Mischa Barton
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.