Meet Alexandra Pelosi: Nancy Pelosi's Daughter And Renowned Documentary Film Director

Meet Alexandra Pelosi: Nancy Pelosi's Daughter And Renowned Documentary Film Director
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She spent 2018 talking to Trump supporters.

If you want to watch a deep dive TV show into Trump supporters across America, you can check out an HBO film called Outside The Bubble. But you might be surprised that it was directed by the daughter of one of the most liberal politicians in Washington: Nancy Pelosi.

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Alexandra Pelosi is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and husband, Paul Pelosi's daughter but she is also a successful documentary filmmaker. The 49-year-old mother of two is known for her work on films like Citizen USA: A 50 State Road Trip and Meet the Donors: Does Money Talk? Her films explore the ways Americans view politics, even the Americans who are the least similar to her powerful mother and her Democratic colleagues.

Who is Alexandra Pelosi? read on for all the details. 

1. Who is Alexandra Pelosi? 

The filmmaker's mother is none other than Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Speaker Pelosi was born Nancy D'Alesandro in 1940. The Baltimore native grew up as part of a legendary political family in the state of Maryland. Her father Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. was a Democratic Congressman then became Mayor of Baltimore seven years later. Her mother was an active political organizer. Pelosi's brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, was also Mayor of Baltimore, following in their father's footsteps. 

She married in 1963 and moved to San Francisco in 1969 after living in New York while Paul attended graduate school. There, they had five children: Nancy Corinne, Christine, Jacqueline, Alexandra, and Paul. The future Speaker of the House stayed home to raise them, while also volunteering in Democratic politics in California, eventually rising to be chair of the California Democratic Party. By 1987, she made the decision to run for election herself, replacing a dear friend and Member of Congress who died of cancer and asked Pelosi to run for her seat. Alexandra, the youngest of the family, was a senior in high school when she headed to D.C. 

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2. Alexandra didn't mind her mother going into politics.

Before she officially declared she was running, the future Speaker Pelosi checked with her youngest child to make sure it would be ok, saying: “I’d probably be gone about three nights a week. Whatever answer you have is O.K. with me.” The younger Pelosi replied, “Mother, get a life. What teenage girl wouldn’t want her mother out of the house three nights a week?” 

In those days, Pelosi was already doing her own thing and didn't mind being unsupervised. “What you have to know about Alexandra,” Speaker Pelosi once told reporters, “is that when she was a teenager in high school — we didn’t know this until later — but at night she used to sneak out and go up to the University of San Francisco, where they had a radio station, and she used to go and do the graveyard shift.”

Pelosi and her mother at Sundance in 2013. 

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3. Alexandra Pelosi started her career as a news producer.

Her early experience in radio may have fueled her passion for mass communications. She went on to study journalism and went to work at NBC in 1995. After spending a few years producing shows like Dateline, she was assigned to be on NBC's campaign team following George W. Bush as he ran for president in 2000.

4. The Bush campaign inspired her first film.

While she was on the road with the Bush campaign, Pelosi took advantage of the opportunity to observe and film a future president in close quarters. After the campaign, she left NBC and instead, turned her collected footage into a documentary called Journeys With George. HBO picked up the movie and it won an Emmy in Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming. It was nominated for four other Emmys including Outstanding Directing for Non-Fiction Programming and Outstanding Writing for Non-Fiction Programming. 

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5. Pelosi is now one of HBO's most prolific documentary directors.

The success of Journeys With George led to more deals with HBO. Pelosi's personal interest in politics is less about the people in power and more about the people affected by political decisions and what makes those people who they are. “Well, she’s interested in the American people, she’s not particularly interested in politics,” Nancy Pelosi says. “She thinks, basically — she’s told me that we’re talking heads and we're largely boring.”

Her films have reflected that passion. Her films have taken her into worlds that are far removed from the libral seats of power that her mother occupies.  In Friends of God she explored the beliefs and practices of American Evangelicals. She also explored the Tea Party with Right America: Feeling Wronged.

Pelosi at work in 2017. 

6. She took on Trump supporters in her most recent project.

In 2018, Pelosi directed Outside The Bubble: On The Road With Alexandra Pelosi. The film sought to get beyond the made-for-TV nature of political debate and talk to people directly about how they think and feel. “There’s too much profit being made right now on the divide,” she said, criticizing cable news channels. “How many people in those cable news studios ever really go spend the night in America, not just in the Four Seasons in wherever Trump is at the moment, but I mean really go to somebody’s house, have dinner and talk to them?”  Pelosi did just that, touring America with her young sons and her camera and talking to Trump supporters about everything form the border wall to climate change. HBO released he film in late 2018.

These days, Alexandra Pelosi lives in New York with her husband, journalist Michiel Vos and their sons Paul and Thomas who are 14 and 13 years old.

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.

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