ESSENCE magazine was granted exclusive access into the White House for its May 2009 issue, which features First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson, on the cover. Before you pick up this must-have special edition issue, view behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot. Plus, check out a sneak peek of ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray’s interview with the nation’s most famous mother-and-daughter duo.
With little time to spare, ESSENCE staffers prepared for the exclusive photo shoot with the First Lady and Mrs. Robinson.
After a bit of supportive teasing, both mother and daughter warm up to the cameras for the exclusive photo shoot.
Here, ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray greets the First Lady and her mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson, in the White House’s East Reception Room before their candid interview.
The First Lady and Mrs. Robinson were all smiles as they prepped for their close-up.
First Lady Michelle Obama is no stranger to the camera. According to ESSENCE Photo Editor Deborah Boardley (whose reflection is seen in the mirror), “Mrs. Obama was very easy to work with and very clear on what she needed to do in front of the camera.”
Known for her stylish hair, Mrs. Michelle Obama takes a break from the flashing lights to primp her tresses for the next shot.
The First Lady and Mrs. Robinson fashioned clothes from their personal wardrobes for the shoot. ESSENCE magazine Beauty & Cover Director Mikki Taylor explains: “We wanted to portray a portrait to remember of mother and daughter, the warmth and the love between them, and capture the image of spring and joy. They each have their own personal style that expresses the season—the layering and the bright colors."
The First Lady admitted that decorating the grounds is still a work in progress. With such a keen eye, Mrs. Obama is sure to add her own personal style to the White House.
Finally, mother and daughter open up to ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray about living in the White House, raising strong children,
and their effect on the future of America.
“We wanted our ESSENCE readers to see firsthand the dynamic bond between First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Marian Robinson. Both of these ladies are phenomenal women in their own right, and are each others’ greatest fans. Their relationship is inspiring—and they are a wonderful example for mothers and daughters everywhere," notes Burt-Murray.
Photographer Timothy White preps the duo for their last take in front of the camera. However, White was not the only one behind a lens. The White House’s personal photographer also captured the entire photo shoot, from start to finish.
ESSENCE staffers pose with the First Lady and Mrs. Robinson after an exciting and very fast-paced morning in the White House. “It literally felt like family,” notes ESSENCE Photo Editor Deborah Boardley. “You could tell they were proud to be doing the shoot.”