SANTA MONICA, Calif. — If the clothes make the woman, Nicole Phillis’ sweatshirt says it all: “I’m speaking.”

“I think it means this is my time and you owe me respect,” said the Santa Monica lawyer, who’s deployed the phrase in the courtroom just like her ‘hero’ Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. 

Phillis has supported Harris since she was California’s attorney general. They met on a panel in 2014. When Harris dropped out of the presidential race, Phillis was crushed.

Watching Harris bounce back as Joe Biden’s pick for VP and then win the election, has been a full circle moment for Phillis. She’s eager to watch the inauguration on Wednesday.

“What happens on that particular day will not define their administration,” Phillis said. “What I care most about is what they do with that power once they have it.”

Phillis said Harris is paving the way for more women in politics. Currently an elected member of Santa Monica’s Rent Control Board, Phillis does not plan to run for higher office.

“There are so many different ways that you can be politically engaged and, candidly, I like creating more space than I take up,” she said.

In any other year, Phillis would have booked a ticket to see her idol take the oath of office. But with Coronavirus still surging, she’ll be watching from home and waiting for Harris’ turn to speak.