The stars of the video that launched Hillary Clinton’s second bid for president Sunday are the everyday Americans who the former Secretary of State hopes to showcase as she tries to win the White House. And many of them have one thing in common: They’re fans of Hillary Clinton.
In order to make the two-and-a-half minute video that kicked off Clinton’s second presidential campaign, her video team found volunteers through the large circles of people who have supported Democratic campaigns in the past. The video features Hispanic brothers opening their first business, an African-American couple expecting a baby boy, a worker starting a job at a fifth-generation family-owned manufacturing facility. And it also showed Democrats who volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign.
The subjects were surprised on Sunday to find themselves as part of Clinton’s 2016 campaign launch. The video was kept secret until its release, so most of the participants only knew it was intended to support her candidacy.
In the minutes before Clinton’s campaign launched, participants told TIME, they got calls from Clinton staffers who warned them they were about to get a lot of attention from their friends.
“I was in the garden and someone on the campaign staff called and said, ‘Oh, by the way, you made the video, and it’ll start to get crazy in about five minutes,'” said Julie Stauch, whose tomato garden was featured and who received enthusiastic phone calls and Facebook messages from her friends.
TIME spoke to some of the people in the video.
Jared Milrad and Nate Johnson
The engaged couple preparing for the wedding this summer are Milrad, who is the director at a legal nonprofit, and Johnson, who works at a health care consulting company. The couple met in Boston a few days after the 2008 election, when Johnson supported Clinton in the primaries and Milrad volunteered for Obama. Clinton’s team shot the video of the two in Chicago, where the couple lives.
They told the video team about their wedding plans (after seeing the launch video, they invited Hillary—but no word on whether she’ll come) and their relationship. “We talked about how important it is for us to be legally recognized and married,” Johnson said. “My parents have been together for over 30 years, my grandparents for over 55 years, and for me to married and have it be legally recognized was very important for me.”
When Clinton’s team shot the video, the duo was asked to kiss as the tape was rolling. “It was a little awkward,” Milrad said. “We accidentally butted heads.”
The “legendary” neighborhood tomatoes belong to Julie Stauch, an organizational consultant in West Des Moines. Stauch, who volunteered for Clinton in 2007 and 2008, hosted Clinton’s videographers for a couple hours in March, and showed them a bedspread she was knitting and her garden. During the filming, as she stood outside her house holding her garden clippers, Julie said she got a little bit silly. “I held the clippers in the air and said ‘I have the power!'” she said, “and they didn’t use that in the final cut, thank god.”
Sean, Vidhya and Harry Bagniewski
Harry is the rambunctious lab puppy in the video, and Sean and Vidhya are his owners. “Harry was causing chaos and havoc the entire time” they were filming, Sean Bagniewski said. “It was two hours and we finally had to let him out of the kennel.”
Sean, who is an attorney, said he was a poor fifth-grader from a trailer park when he first met Bill Clinton in 1994. Since then, he’s been interested in politics, and he later joined former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack’s administration and volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008. Vidhya, his wife, is the daughter of parents who immigrated from India, and is also an attorney.
One of Sean’s recent endeavors in politics ended with a loss—and then a win. “I ran for city council two years ago and lost,” he said. “They said if you want a friend in poltics, get a dog. That’s a Harry Truman quote. So we got a dog and named him Harry.”
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