Bill Gates' daughter Jenn: 'I was born into a huge situation of privilege'

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: (L-R) Jennifer Gates and her parents, Bill and Melinda Gates, listen to former U.S. President Barack Obama speak at the Gates Foundation Inaugural Goalkeepers event on September 20, 2017 in New York City.
(Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Growing up in one of the world's wealthiest families definitely has its perks, and Jennifer Gates — Bill Gates' oldest daughter — recognizes that.

"I was born into a huge situation of privilege," 24-year-old Gates, who goes by the nickname Jenn, told Sidelines Magazine in an interview published on July 17.

"I think it's about using those opportunities and learning from them to find things that I'm passionate about and hopefully make the world a little bit of a better place." 

Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft as a teen after dropping out of Harvard, became the richest man the world in 1995, the year before Jenn Gates was born, with a fortune then worth $12.9 billion, according to NPR. Gates is currently the second richest person in the world, with a net worth of around $112 billion.

Gates plans to use that privilege to do good, at least in part, with a career in medicine, perhaps as a pediatrician or family practitioner. After graduating from Stanford University in 2018, Gates is now heading into her second year as a medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. (The New York Post reported that Bill and Melinda bought Gates a $5 million home on Fifth Avenue adjacent to the campus in 2017.)

Gates says her parents taking their work home may have influenced her decision to be a doctor. 

After her parents founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose mission is to improve the health and quality of life of people around the world, "I grew up hearing about children's mortality at the dinner table, about polio, about the HIV/AIDS epidemic," Gates said.

When she was a kid, her mom even caught her informing one of her dolls that it was HIV positive. (That's when Melinda decided she and Bill were talking "too much about global health at the dinner table," Gates said.)

Gates, who is also an accomplished equestrian and took time off after Stanford to ride competitively, says her parents are very supportive of her goals. 

Jennifer Gates of USA walks the grounds before participating in the CSI5 Global Champions League of Cascais Final against the clock team and individual jumping competition at the final day of Longines Global Champions Tour on July 8, 2017 in Cascais, Portugal. Ms. Gates, Bill Gates daughter, ranks 50 in Longines Global Champions Tour 2017.
(Photo by Horacio Villalobos - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

"They've always had my back," she told Sidelines. "When I was younger, they told me to pursue whatever it was I was interested in, whether it was math or science or reading or writing. I always felt like I really had a good foundation with them believing in me and being willing to support me in any of my pursuits."

Gates also called her parents "incredibly hardworking people. They've obviously had a lot of privilege, but they continue learning and are passionate about making the world a better place." The Gates' foundation, for example, has contributed more than $50 billion to global health and development, U.S. education and other causes to date, including $335 million to fight Covid-19, a Gates spokesperson told CNBC Make It. 

"I think that's really cool, and it has definitely rubbed off on me as I find my way towards my own passions," Gates said.

In a Instagram post on Father's Day, Gates wrote that not only her dad's dedication to philanthropy but also his passion for learning has been an inspiration.

But it's the little things too: She also thanked him for making TikTok videos with her.

At The New York Times DealBook event in November, Bill admitted he relies on his kids (Jenn Gates has siblings Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 17) to help him keep cool and humble.

He said he likes to drive them to school and tries to communicate with each of them via their "preferred" social media platform instead of through email, which he prefers.

"I've got to check Instagram because my youngest daughter likes to communicate there [and] I have to check WhatsApp because another child likes to communicate through that," Gates said.

If he doesn't comply with his kids' requests, they accuse him of "not paying attention" to their lives, he said.

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