Jenna Bush Hager talks White House sleepovers, twin competition in Facebook chat

She’s taken us skydiving with her Gampy (aka President George H.W. Bush) and soared off a Colorado cliff with Natalie Morales. But Wednesday morning marked a different kind of adventure for Jenna Bush Hager: her first-ever live Facebook chat.

The TODAY correspondent took over TODAY’s Facebook page to answer questions about growing up as the daughter and granddaughter of two living presidents, secret White House passageways, and whether she’ll ever go back to the classroom to teach children again.



Here’s a look at what the correspondent and mother of 1-year-old Mila revealed in her chat:  

Jenna has many fond memories of the executive mansion:

  • Meg Morrill: Did you and your sister ever find any hidden passageways while living in the White House?
  • Jenna Bush Hager: We never actually lived there, but yes, there is a secret passageway or two!! It is such a magical place and we feel so grateful for the opportunity to live history.
  • Debbie Roenneburg: Did you ever have a slumber party in the Lincoln bedroom? Did you bring the Ouija board?
  • JBH: Not in the Lincoln bedroom, but did have some fun slumber parties!!
  • Licha Cruz Jenna: There's so many wonderful historic rooms in the White House, was there ever any room or rooms that was kinda eerie and did you and your sister explore the whole White House?
  • JBH: We loved the FLOWER SHOP!!!
  • Megan Ashley Aguilar: Favorite memory about the White House?
  • JBH: The people that work at the WH are incredible. I have known them for over 20 years and miss them often!

Despite her family's deep political background, she did not feel tremendous pressure while growing up.

  • Ashley Ardito: Considering your family history, has it made you want to go into or stay away from politics? Also, I wasn’t a huge Bush fan, BUT, I truly love you and your work. With that, do you find people judge you based on who you are related to vs who you are as your own person?
  • JBH: Ironically, or maybe not that ironically, Barbara and I are very interested in policy not politics.
  • Carol Fielder Conley: I just wonder what it was like growing up in the White House and how you handled having Secret Service around all the time. Could you ever just be a normal kid?
  • JBH: We became very close with the men and women of the SS! They are awesome. Yes, my parents raised us to live very normal lives!
  • Roslyn Lisk Terhaar: As a twin, do you feel you (when you were growing up) that you had to compete with her. Or did you do your own thing?
  • JBH: Not at all. Barbara and I are really close. My parents raised us to compliment not compete.

While grateful for times spent at the White House, Jenna doesn’t miss it like she misses the first place she ever called home.

  • Alicia Gamble Ramirez: Do you miss Texas?!
  • JBH: YES!!!! I miss Texas everyday!! My parents, the Mexican food, and the people…everything.

Living in New York allows Jenna a chance to blend in with the crowd.

  • Jessi Reed Sperber: Do you get recognized more as the daughter of a president or as a member of the TODAY show?
  • JBH: The great thing about NYC is there is a great anonymity here!

She owes her journalism career to her love for reading and writing.

  • Fabiola Garcia: Would you get into politics?? And what brought you into journalism?
  • JBH: No. Feel so lucky about working for the TODAY Show. It happened serendipitously when I was on the show for books that I wrote.
  • Beth Herring Connell: What has been your favorite TODAY show moment so far?
  • JBH: Interviewing Dr. Maya Angelou!
  • Tess Grosvenor:  Jenna, do you find it difficult to interview and work with people whose views are different from yours? PS, you are on if my biggest role models. Thank you for being the smart, talented, beautiful person you are. 
  • JBH: Aww! Thanks. I don't find it difficult as I like hearing people's views and it helps that ironically I am more interested in policy than politics.

But that doesn’t mean she would reject a chance to return to her former life as a school teacher.

  • Kimberly Glasson Gutierrez: Are you going to go back to teaching?
  • JBH: I hope to go back to education. I am happiest in the classroom.

Jenna's daughter loves to catch her z's, just like her mom! 

  • Cassandra Bogan: Between your baby, your job, your married life and just being a busy working woman how much sleep do you get a night??
  • JBH: Mama loves to sleep!!! I try for 8 hours, but usually get 6 or 7. Luckily, Mila is a GREAT sleeper!

She hopes that her daughter gets some of the same opportunities she had growing up.

  • Pam Hillmer Marquie: What's the one thing or place you really want Mila to experience?
  • JBH: I LOVED taking her to our ranch for the first time so she could run around on Texas soil…would really like to one day take her to Africa. It really changed the trajectory of our lives when my parents took us. 

Check out these other TODAY Facebook chats: