Augusta native Allison Samuels has written a book to help women live with substance and style – the Michelle Obama way.
In What Would Michelle Do?: A Modern-Day Guide to Living with Substance and Style, Samuels takes women on a journey into the life of one of the most celebrated first ladies of the United States, detailing how Obama balances home, work, life and friends and how other women can, too.
The senior writer for Newsweek’s The Daily Beast, who lives in Los Angeles, said the book is the third in a popular series, after What Would Audrey Do? and What Would Jackie Do? by other authors.
“I love those two books, but I never thought about writing one until I met Michelle and interviewed her a couple of times,” Samuels said. “At the same point, I also saw the increase of negative reality shows featuring black women.
“I just couldn’t connect how we could have an African-American woman in the White House with so much class, style and poise, but still have these images on TV and for those to be the only images.”
Samuels volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club and said she felt that young girls, in particular, need to focus on the first lady, who is “an amazing role model.”
“They need a different type of reminder of what it is to be a successful woman, with the fairy tale,” Samuels said. “To me, Michelle is living a fairy tale in the best way, and it’s not marrying one of the 300 NBA players or a rapper.
“That’s not reality, but it is reality that if you go to school and better yourself, you might be able to meet this great guy who might one day be something amazing.”
She said the White House doesn’t permit the president or first lady to endorse books, but she was able to speak with Obama’s closest friends, her brother, her hairdresser from Chicago and a Harvard professor that taught her and the president and saw their relationship blossom.
“I wanted a big part of the book to be about their relationship and how women can apply that to their own lives,” she said.
Samuels said she doesn’t think women have shown enough appreciation for what Obama represents and how she’s been able to balance work and life in the White House, while handling the pressure with “so much class, sophistication and calm.” She also looks great while doing it, she said.
“There are so many lessons to learn from her and the way she’s handled things, not just in the White House, but prior to the White House,” Samuels said.
During the pre-White House years, she said, Michelle was the one with the great job and large salary, while Barack Obama chose to be a community servant and earned much less.
“So many other women would have looked the other way. She was able to see beyond that and see down the road. To me, that’s also something that women should be influenced by,” she said.
In the book, Samuels also discusses how the first lady always puts her children first and makes time to maintain relationships with her girlfriends.
The book also includes some of her fashion and beauty secrets.