Breaking News
More () »

Inside Stacey Abrams' living room where she enjoys country music and meditation

The candidate for governor reveals she loves to cook, she collects teapots from around the world, she started meditating every morning about a year ago and she's a huge fan of country music, especially artist Lyle Lovett.

ATLANTA -- If you've lived in the state of Georgia for at least a few days, you know Stacey Abrams or least heard the name or you might have seen the lawn signs that line street after street across the state.

Watch the full profile tonight on 11Alive at 6PM

The 44-year-old is a democrat running to replace current Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

She's been in politics for about 12 years and her ads all over television proclaim what she stands for and what she promises to do as governor. Her path into politics began as a tax attorney turned Deputy City Attorney for the City of Atlanta.

RELATED | Three Questions for Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for governor

MORE | Abrams unveils military, veterans campaign platforms

She decided to run for office in 2006 and has since been in the political arena. She was recently House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District

But what about Abrams the person? Who is she when the cameras aren't rolling?

11Alive's Faith Abubey spent a morning with her to find out.

"God will. But I won't. That's the difference between God and me," Abrams sang along to the country-musician Lyle Lovett's track she found on her phone's music app.

It's about 10 A.M. on a Tuesday and she's sitting at her dinning table.

"I love Lyle Lovett. l own everything he's ever recorded," she added, after telling Faith Abubey her favorite genre of music is Country.

Then she clarified: Country music before 1998 because, according to Abrams, that's when the genre started veering into pop. Her only exception, country music artist Brandy Clark, a 2015 Grammy Awards nominee.

THE RACE | Stacey vs. Stacey: Race emerges in Democrats' contest for Georgia governor

By the time Abubey arrived at Abram's condo, she's already dressed for a packed day on her agenda.

The candidate for governor walks Abubey into her kitchen where she reveals she's a tea lover, and then starts heating up water.

"You'll have one of my favorite teas...which are my 'Novel-Teas'," she chuckles, referring to the cleverly-named tea brand.

"My grandmother actually used to collect teapots. And, so, when I was really young, I started doing the same."

Abrams opens one of her cabinets, and reveals her neatly arranged collection. "I've got Chinese, I've got Japanese, I've got Korean," she said, pointing to each teapot while explaining where she got them from.

Soon, she reveals she also loves to cook.

Her specialty? Parmesan-crusted chicken and bell pepper risotto with asparagus. She even makes her own marinara sauce and meatballs when she fancies a pasta dish.

"Oh, I love cooking!" she exclaimed.

When not in the kitchen, you might find Abrams in front of one of her many bookcases in her condo.

"If you noticed, I love books. A lot," she said, smiling.

She's published eight books of her own. Six of them romance-suspense novels under the name 'Selena Montgomery.'

"I love [the TV show] 'BeWitched.' Elizabeth Montgomery was the star. I was watching a biography of her at two in the morning, and, so, I was like, 'ooh, I like Montgomery.' And her evil cousin on the show, Samantha's evil cousin, was Serena. I didn't like my 'Rs' but I love my 'Ls' so I became 'Selena Montgomery'," Abrams explained about her penname.

The 44-year-old was born in Wisconsin and is the second of six children. All raised by her mother and father. At the age of 16, her family moved to Georgia where she completed high school and went on to earn a B.A. from Spelman College. She also earned a Master's Degree at the University of Austin before going to Yale Law School for her J.D.

Abrams said she hasn't always lived a life of privilege.

"We grew up poor," she said. "We had the water cutoff. My mom called that 'urban camping.' We had a meal that we used to love. It's called "Mom's Specialty" and it wasn't until we were older that we realized, 'Mom's Specialty' was [food] that was leftover that was cheap."

That humble upbringing has informed much of Abrams' political platform. As she campaigns to become governor, the historic prospects aren't lost on her. If she wins, she'd be the first woman governor and the first African-American governor for the state of Georgia.

Important firsts, for a politician who was also the "first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives.

And, if you want to go back to her school days, she says she's been told she was also the first African-American girl to be the valedictorian of her high school.

"I appreciate what this moment means," she said.

But it's a lot of work crisscrossing the state and we've also learned meditation is what keeps Abrams centered.

"I started probably about a year ago," she said. "I find that by taking that time in the morning, 15-20 minutes, it really makes it easier to get through the day and when the bad things happen, when stress happen, when the unexpected happens."

FULL COVERAGE | Georgia Votes 2018

Like when news of her $200,000 debt made national headlines and many suggested she not run for governor

"I have a real life," she said, with emotion in her voice.

"If you believe this [running for governor] is the right thing, then you should believe in all of who you are. And, you have to tell your whole story. You have to tell your whole truth. You don't get to keep parts of it back because they are embarrassing."

She explains part of the debt is from student loans, credit cards and back taxes. She says she fell into debt when her parents needed help after they were struck by Hurricane Katrina and a series of family events led to the couple adopting Abrams' niece.

Despite everything, she says through all her ups and downs, her family has kept her grounded.

As she walked across her living room, pointing out family members in pictures that line her mantel, she turns to the camera and says, "I'm just grateful to have grown up with a family that loves and protects us and also challenges us to be better people."

As the race to find Georgia's next governor heats up, 11Alive will be profiling several of the candidates who will appear on the ballot.

Also, look for more extensive coverage of this race and others until Election Day, Nov. 6, as Georgia Votes 2018.

Before You Leave, Check This Out