Very few can draw a VIP Hollywood crowd on time and early in the morning without their jeans, tees, tennies and their Starbucks. But Michelle Obama can.
AFTRA, Directors, Producers and Writers Guilds hosted “Joining Forces Inter-Guild Task Force” for production support for Mrs. Obama’s new initiative program with Dr. Jill Biden. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are producing a series of PSA’s to be launched next month. Oprah Winfrey appears in one.
Held at the WGA, this event encouraged Hollywood professionals to write storylines about military families’ challenges in film, television and digital media. It felt very presidential when doors were locked after we showed ID, walked through metal detectors, and had purses searched. By chance, I sat next to a very sweet Shirley MacLaine, who read a book, worked her Blackberry and greeted a few pals before the event. We spotted Blair Underwood, Chaz Bono, Lily Tomlin, Michael Chiklis, Tamera Mowry, Kate Linder, Gil Cates, Elliott Gould and Connie Stevens.
Secret service in place. An emotional video showed military family members’ inspirational stories. Obama ultimately shared the stage with a National Guard pilot, a retired soldier and the wife of an Army officer. Writer-director J.J. Abrams, whose film Super 8 topped the weekend box office, moderated.
The moment we all had been waiting for: A smiling Obama strolled regally down the aisle with a female staffer in front of her and several personnel behind. Tall, slim and gorgeous, Obama was quite the fashionista. Her black dress and jacket (gold jewelry) were accentuated by red pumps.
J.J. Abrams interviewed the First Lady. “I’m so happy I didn’t fall today!” she joked.
“When I was campaigning, I wanted to speak with the working woman to make sure their voices were heard. I didn’t come from a military background. Can you imagine talking to women trying to manage a career, keep it all together, raise her kids, look good, stay fit, manage a tough economic situation, coupled with military deployment time and time again? It took my breath away.
“I thought, ‘Why don’t we know about these families/their struggles?’ I vowed if my husband got elected that I would use my platform to explore this. These families are strong, they don’t complain, they don’t ask for much. That’s what you do in military: You don’t complain.”
She notes that one percent of our population serves. “My husband says that every time he goes to Afghanistan or visits troops, they aren’t asking for better equipment. The one thing they want to know is if their families are good.”
Obama thanked “Hollywood” for the positive stories already on the big and small screens. “The stories are already compelling. It’s not that hard. The real work happens when the men and women are home and they are dealing with the ramifications of war and integrating into society. This is a forever battle.”
She kidded, “Today I am the coolest Mom on the face of the planet. My children don’t believe that I am going to be on iCarly. (Carly is a military kid.) I am terrified. I can speak in front of all of you, but this is frightening!”
Sue Facter’s news agency promotes luxury lifestyle brand development. Her credits include: “USA Today,” “Wall Street Journal,” “Los Angeles Times,” “Women’s Day Australia,” “TV Guide” and more.