Clarissa: My day with Michelle

first_imgIt was quite secretive – I was told not to tell anyone about it so I didn’t. I got an email from the White House just asking whether I’d be interested in meeting the First Lady and when the White House comes aknockin’ you don’t say no! It was very West Wing.It was quite secretive – I was told not to tell anyone about it so I didn’t. I got an email from the White House asking whether I’d be interested in meeting the First Lady and when the White House comes aknockin’ you don’t say no! It was very West Wing.It was bizarre being held up as a role model, nobody thinks about themselves in that way. But I think it was such a good experience for the girls. There’s so much in the press about the type of background university applicants do or don’t come from, but when I was speaking to them it was great to hear that they thought their grades were the issue, rather than where they were from. That wasn’t even a factor. They were so curious about Oxford. We visited some renowned female professors and there was a real focus on female leadership. I think Mrs Obama translated that into her speech when she talked about solodarity amongst women. I couldn’t get over the symbolism of the day: Mrs Obama behind a podium with all these portraits of dead white men hanging up behind her and such a strong female gathering in front of her.When I spoke to Mrs Obama,  she was gracious and loving and told me how amazing and interesting she thought I was. I just thought ‘No, I’m the one who’s amazed!’ What I really took away from the day was what she said about deconstructing labels. There’s so much stress on how it doesn’t matter what background you’re from and that’s true – obviously, people like her and her husband are testimony to that – but she was so interested in what people think about themselves as opposed to what other people say about them. That message of solidarity, being confident and believing in yourself was the most important. thing. Once you know who you are you can do anything. It was quite secretive – I was told not to tell anyone about it so I didn’t. I got an email from the White House asking whether I’d be interested in meeting the First Lady and when the White House comes aknockin’ you don’t say no! It was very West Wing.It was bizarre being held up as a role model, nobody thinks about themselves in that way. But I think it was such a good experience for the girls.There’s so much in the press about the type of background university applicants do or don’t come from, but when I was speaking to them it was great to hear that they thought their grades were the issue, rather than where they were from. That wasn’t even a factor. They were so curious about Oxford.We visited some renowned female professors and there was a real focus on female leadership. I think Mrs Obama translated that into her speech when she talked about solodarity amongst women.I couldn’t get over the symbolism of the day: Mrs Obama behind a podium with all these portraits of dead white men hanging up behind her and such a strong female gathering in front of her.When I spoke to Mrs Obama,  she was gracious and loving and told me how amazing and interesting she thought I was.I just thought ‘No, I’m the one who’s amazed!’ What I really took away from the day was what she said about deconstructing labels.There’s so much stress on how it doesn’t matter what background you’re from and that’s true – obviously, people like her and her husband are testimony to that – but she was so interested in what people think about themselves as opposed to what other people say about them.That message of solidarity, being confident and believing in yourself was the most important. thing. Once you know who you are you can do anything.last_img

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