First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom spoke candidly about being in a childhood accident that killed her sister, explaining that it inspired her to serve others.
Siebel Newsom, who married California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2008, told the Los Angeles Times that she and her older sister Stacey had been playing with golf carts during a Hawaiian vacation in 1981.
She was unaware that her 8-year-old sister was hiding behind her cart when it reversed, killing her. Siebel Newsom was days away from turning 7 years old.
The Stanford University alumna explained that she felt pressure to compensate for the tragic death of her sister.
“I felt the pressure to be perfect, to make my parents forget, by being two daughters instead of one,” Siebel Newsom recalled. She went on to play soccer for the U.S. Soccer’s youth team before eventually graduating from Stanford Graduate School of Business with an MBA.
The golf cart incident was not the only traumatic incident Siebel Newsom has gone through, she said. The “Miss Representation” filmmaker also took the stand against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein at his rape trial last November.
She testified to being sexually assaulted by Weinstein in a Beverly Hills suite in 2005, and claimed that the trial was as painful as the assault itself.
“It was a horrific experience. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone,” she recalled. The jury had deadlocked on the charges in her case, adding to her hurt.
But Siebel Newsom explained that due to her past traumatic experiences, she finds purpose in helping others.
“I’m sure there was survivor’s guilt, and I’m sure, in my subconscious, it’s like I have to make up for that loss, and I have to do something to improve other people’s lives or have an impact, double my own, which is a little crazy,” Siebel Newsom told the LA Times.
“[Helping others] is my survival mechanism,” she said. “I think that’s what I learned as a kid to survive. I think so many of us learn to survive by trying to find what good we can make.”