The XX Factor

Was Michelle Obama Jealous of Desirée Rogers?

There is an implied mystery in the coverage of White House social secretary Desirée Rogers’ firing that I would love to have cleared up: Was Michelle Obama jealous? The two women were old friends. At the White House, Rogers described herself as the “eyes and ears of Mrs. Obama.” From the outset, Rogers did not seem like a Washington type: She used New York ad-speak to describe the president (Brand Obama). She posed in outrageously expensive clothing and jewelry for glossy magazines. She attended fashion week with Anna Wintour. From there, the narrative could have gone two ways. Michelle and Desirée could have bonded as the tough, fashion-forward Chicago sisters in a dull, alien city. Or Michelle could have decided that there was only room for one of them. And lately, Rogers seemed to be really stepping over the line. Look at her poses in this Wall Street Journal profile . Note the dress, which a First Lady could never get away with. See how Michelle’s garden becomes just a backdrop for Desirée’s fabulousness. See how Desiree shows off her own beautifully toned arms. Note the opening tone of mythology: “Desirée Glapion Rogers is the descendant of a Creole voodoo priestess named Marie Laveau Glapion.”

Photograph of Desirée Rogers and Michelle Obama by Alex Wong/Getty Images.