Michelle Obama adds magazine editor to title
Washington — She’s a wife, mother and lawyer, an advocate for children and military families, and first lady of the United States. Now Michelle Obama has added a new gig: magazine editor.
The first lady is “guest editor” of the July-August issue of More, which bills itself as the magazine for “women of style and substance.”
It was a first for both the White House and the magazine industry, said Lesley Jane Seymour, More’s editor-in-chief.
“There’s never been a first lady who’s ever guest-edited a magazine and certainly not a sitting first lady,” Seymour told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
“She’s really the editor,” Seymour said. She said the edition focuses on Mrs. Obama’s “point of view on the world and it’s from her eyes.”
“Guest editor” wasn’t just a fancy title. The first lady had to pitch story ideas and write and approve copy for the 148-page issue, Seymour said.
She “was reading every page and asking for changes up until the last minute,” Seymour said. “She had to approve absolutely everything. She had to suggest various things, too.” Staff handled stories about fashion and beauty, along with basic functions of the magazine.
The theme of the issue is having “More Impact.”
Mrs. Obama said she welcomed the opportunity to share some of her White House experiences with like-minded readers.
“What I want readers to understand is that impact comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. And hopefully through this issue, what people will see is that you can have impact as a military mom changing careers, or you can be a young person starting a business or you can be the first lady and start a whole initiative,” Mrs. Obama said in a written statement released by More.
The issue highlights the first lady’s four priorities: helping children live healthier lives, supporting military families, encouraging young people to pursue education past high school and helping girls around the world attend and stay in school. It also includes pieces on her long-serving chief of staff and senior adviser, two women who have influenced the first lady’s work.
Mrs. Obama wrote a brief review of “The Light of the World,” a memoir that Obama friend Elizabeth Alexander wrote after her husband’s sudden death three years ago. The first lady says the book “simply took my breath away.” In January 2009, Alexander wrote and delivered a poem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The first lady’s byline appears on a reflective piece about the reaction after she said her top priority is being “mom in chief” to daughters Malia and Sasha.
She also reveals the music on her “chill-out” playlist, including songs by Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and the duo of Tony Bennett and Lada Gaga.
And in a separate feature, Mrs. Obama reveals the stories behind some of her favorite photographs, including of her and her daughters walking along the Great Wall in China during a weeklong trip there last year and a photo of the Obama family on the steps of their Chicago home “before our new life was about to kick off.”
Other photos show Malia sledding on the White House grounds during a 2009 snowstorm, using lunch trays borrowed from the White House mess, and the new president and first lady in a golf cart as they are driven from one inaugural ball to the next inside Washington’s cavernous convention center in 2009.
“What most people don’t realize is that there is not one inaugural ball but 10 separate events,” Mrs. Obama wrote. “So we would walk out, our song would play, we would dance, and then we would move to a freight elevator on our way to the next ball. There were quite a few held all over the convention center. To save my feet, they had a golf cart to shuttle us.”
The first lady was not compensated for her work, Seymour said.
With the issue, due on newsstands on June 23, Mrs. Obama also makes her third appearance on More’s cover.