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Nikki Haley 2016: 7 Highlights from Pre-Politics Life of GOP Presidential Hopeful

Image: Nikki Haley 2016: 7 Highlights from Pre-Politics Life of GOP Presidential Hopeful
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By    |   Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 06:07 PM

Nikki Haley made history in the state of South Carolina by being the first woman elected as the state's governor and then re-elected in 2014, making her a potential hopeful for the 2016 Republican nomination for president.

At this point, she isn't considered one of the favorites, but in case she decides to run, here are seven highlights from the pre-politics life of Haley.

1. As part of the first Indian immigrant family living in tiny Bamberg, South Carolina, the 5-year-old Haley was disqualified from a beauty pageant, because, as The New York Times wrote, "The judges of the contest, one that crowned one black queen and one white queen, were so flummoxed that they simply disqualified Nikki and her sister, Simran." Still, little Nikki managed to sing “This Land Is Your Land" before her dismissal.

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2. Haley faced obstacles early in her life because of the color of her skin. In her biography, "Can't Is Not An Option," she described a scene on the kickball field when two groups of classmates, separated by their race, said she couldn't play unless she chose a team: the white team or the black team. Her solution: grab the ball from a girl, run away and yell, "I'm neither. I'm brown." A few minutes later, she was playing kickball with both groups.

3. Haley's full name is Nimrata Randhawa, but her family always has called her Nikki, meaning "little one." The family practiced the Sikh religion, and she's said she and her siblings were made fun of in school for being different. “It’s survival mode,” she told The New York Times. “You learn to try and show people how you’re more alike than you are different.” Haley is now a practicing Christian.

4. As siblings are wont to do, Haley's older brother, Mitti, could manipulate Nikki simply by using a device she called The Claw. In her biography, she described it as such: "He would stand over me with one hand stretched out in a gnarled, half-clenched fist, pretending it had a mind of its own and was going to attack. He could get me to do anything by threatening me with the claw."

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5. When she entered politics, she became Haley after dropping her maiden name of Randhawa. The reason why makes sense. As she once told the Charlotte Observer, her full name "wouldn't fit on a yard sign."

6. Haley got to experience real-world experience when, at the age of 13, she took over as bookkeeper of her family's clothing business, Exotica International. The business was established by her mother, Raj, as a gift shop, but after earning an accounting degree from Clemson University, Haley eventually returned to Exotica as the chief financial officer. As The New York Times pointed out, she helped grow it into a multimillion-dollar business.

7. When Haley met her husband, Bill Haley, he went by his first name. But she convinced him to begin going by his middle name, Michael. Why? According to one of her campaign advisers, she said, "He didn't look like a 'Bill.'"

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Nikki Haley made history in the state of South Carolina by being the first woman elected as the state's governor and then re-elected in 2014, making her a potential hopeful for the 2016 Republican nomination for president.
nikki haley, 2016, pre-politics, highlights
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Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 06:07 PM
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