Teen girls complete quest to take selfies with every 2016 presidential candidate

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Emma, Addy, and the 2016 presidential candidate field. (Photo: (@PrezSelfieGirls)

If 2016 is indeed the “Selfie Election,” as it has been described by Politico and the New York Times, then consider Emma and Addy Nozell history’s official selfie-takers.

Last summer, the smiling teenage sisters from Merrimack, N.H., set out on a mission to snap a selfie with every major presidential candidate on the campaign trail, chronicling their progress on a dedicated Twitter feed as they crisscrossed the Granite State.

The first candidate to pose with the two was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.


“After Chris Christie, Addy was like, ‘Why not everyone — get everyone?’” Emma, a 16-year-old sophomore, told Yahoo News in an afterschool interview on Presidents Day. (In New Hampshire, they don’t always get Presidents Day off because of the possibility of snow days extending the school year.)

Besides, they were planning to go to see each of the 22 presidential candidates poised to be on the New Hampshire ballot speak — despite the fact that neither is old enough to vote in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary.

“We knew we were going to see all the candidates,” Addy, a 17-year-old senior, explained. “It’s very local. There’s free food. It was easy for Mom and Dad to listen to the candidates and bring the kids. Growing up going to the events every four years, we got used to listening to them and learning about their ideas.”

By mid-July, the sisters had snagged selfies with 13 presidential hopefuls — and with several more than once. But it wasn’t until they got a selfie with Donald Trump that their quest took on a life of its own.

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Emma, Trump and Addy (Photo: @PrezSelfieGirls)

“After Donald Trump, it was like, ‘OK, you have to come talk to these people, but you also have to take a selfie,’” Emma said.

Emma and Addy’s mom, Wendy E.N. Thomas, started fielding press requests from such national media outlets as CNN, ABC, CBS and the Washington Post as the political pics piled up.

“From a parental standpoint, it’s been a priceless,” Thomas said. “Seeing all the candidates, they listened to both sides, and we’d come home and talk about it. And through their selfies, it was a way to humanize the people we see at the debates.”

The girls completed their primary mission in October by nabbing a selfie with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at Saint Anselm College.


There was, however, one notable exception: Jim Webb, the Virginia senator who bowed out of the race before they could snap a selfie with him. (Webb tweeted an apology.)

In December, Hillary Clinton got the coveted Presidential Selfie Girls endorsement — which opened up the sisters’ Twitter feed to plenty of partisan trolling.


No matter. Addy, who plans to pursue a potential degree in criminal justice in the fall, says she dismisses such comments as part of the process. And Emma says the selfie experience has her considering a career in media.

The Presidential Selfie Girls aren’t entirely done with this election cycle. They are planning to snap selfies with the eventual vice presidential nominees (if they haven’t already) and are hoping to do the same with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden soon.

But the real question is, which candidate takes the best selfie?

“Oh boy,” Emma said, pausing to scroll through the shots one more time. “Probably O’Malley and Jeb Bush.”

Addy agreed.


But why them?

“All of the candidates are human,” Emma said. “But they seemed more human. Friendly.”

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