We never tire of hearing about Michelle Obama's friend, Desiree Rogers, who is now the White House social secretary. She has promised a "more open" House, and slowly but surely, we're learning what that means.
According to the new Newsweek, Rogers recently invited some students from a local cooking school to talk to the White House head chef — as well as the First Lady — as the staff prepared the Obamas' first state dinner. Rogers will also work with the art collection in the House; she says:
"There is a wonderful collection of art, but what's missing is modern art. And also we'd like to see more diversity of the artists themselves-more women artists, more African-American artists, more Hispanic artists, artists of American-Indian descent, Asian-Americans."
And regular people may have a chance to be in the presidential mansion as well: Last week, Rogers told the Washington Post that she's interested in creating an Internet lottery, where a "lucky winner" will get a seat at a White House dinner or event. Rogers is also getting ideas from Sasha and Malia Obama — opinions on the Easter Egg Hunt, for instance. Plus, there was a Wii at the Super Bowl party, because the girls like playing with the Wii.
Having those who previously would not have been invited to the White House is not only part of Rogers' philosophy, but that of the Obamas, of course — "They understand what it means to feel like you've been left out," Rogers says. Still, she knows that her position — as a kind of gatekeeper — has made her very popular, very suddenly. She tells WaPo that people are not being subtle about wrangling an invitation to the House: "I'm a very direct, kind of honest person. So, if you want it, you just say it, and we'll see what we can do. I mean, I can't accommodate everyone, but people, they want to be here."
The Busiest Woman in Washington [Newsweek]
Managing the Highest-Profile Social Scene, Voices of Power: White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers (transcript) , Voices Of Power: Desiree Rogers, Obama's White House CEO (video) [WaPo]