It’s easy to feel like you know Jenna Bush Hager, especially if you live in Dallas. One half of the White House’s inaugural First Twins, Bush Hager and her family regularly popped up in our living rooms for years. In the post-Bush era, her family can occasionally be seen on SMU’s campus (particularly at Moody Coliseum), where her father’s presidential library resides. And now that she’s an NBC News correspondent, Bush Hager makes even more regular appearances in our living rooms. (If you missed the clip of her adorable daughters crashing her guest host gig with Kathie Lee Gifford, set aside some time to be charmed today.)
A quick phone chat with the Dallas native affirmed the authenticity of her warm, gregarious personality. Just a few minutes after wrapping a segment on The Today Show, Bush Hager hopped on a call to give her earnest thoughts on the Park Cities, the incredible Dallas design scene, and her love of Tex-Mex ahead of her April 11 speaking engagement at Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s Distinguished Speaker Luncheon.
On preservation in Dallas.
I think it’s really important our beautiful country and our heritage and culture. And Park Cities History and Preservation Society does it so well. The Park Cities is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in our country. The fact that this organization is trying to keep it that way so that my kids can enjoy it is really important to me.
On her love for the Park Cities.
Most of my childhood was spent in Dallas. I have so many memories hanging out with friends in Highland Park Village, and eating, of course. A lot of what made Dallas such a wonderful place to grow up was that it had this really strong, incredible community.
On what distinguishes the design community in Dallas.
It’s funny. I live in New York now, and almost my entire apartment is a mix of mid-century modern furniture that was either my mom’s or was purchased at the modern stores in Dallas. Some friends just wrote me and told me they want to go down to Dallas and look for modern furniture, and I told them it’s the best place to do that.
I also have a lot of artists in my home that are Texan or from Dallas, and I think that’s because there is the incredible amount of talent there — you can feel it. The works are authentic to the city, which is important to me as a homesick Texan in New York. So I think that’s what Dallas might have that other cities don’t.
On the best part about coming home.
My family and a ton of friends are here, so that’s awesome. I’m going to bring the girls down to Texas for two weeks during spring break. Both sides of our family are Texan, so for them to have an understanding about that heritage is super important to me. Maybe it’s not the exotic beaches some of their friends will be going to, but I think heading to where a lot of my heart is is important for them. I’m thrilled about it.
So family first, but then also the food. There isn’t a lot of great Mexican food in New York, I hate to say, so we’re already planning our meals for the next couple of weeks.
And honestly, just being able to be outdoors. When my daughter was younger, she used to think the moon was a fictional thing. When we walked out onto our ranch in Crawford, she was like, “The moon!” She couldn’t believe it. So for them to just get barefoot and run in my parents’ backyard is really important to me.