That the Obamas have turned to Desiree Rogers to help set the cultural tone of the Obama era makes perfect sense to those who know the 49-year-old White House social secretary.
A poised, 5-foot-10-inch Wellesley graduate with fashionable, close-shorn hair and a flair for designer clothing, Rogers knows how to get things done, as proven by a varied and successful career in business. But Rogers also knows style: Long before she became associated with the White House, Rogers was profiled in the September 2004 issue of Vogue as evidence “that chic and executive can co-exist.”
A native of New Orleans and two-time queen of the Zulu Mardi Gras krewe, Rogers has been a prominent presence on the Chicago social scene since her marriage to (now ex-husband) John Rogers, an Obama confidant and founder of Ariel Investments.
“She’s a wonderful person to have in a room. She’s fun and witty and lovely to look at,” said Linda Johnson Rice, chairwoman and CEO of Johnson Publishing, a longtime friend and frequent guest at Rogers’ Art Deco duplex in Chicago’s Gold Coast. “When you walk into her home, everything is perfect: The candles are the right scent, the flowers are perfect and she’s very welcoming.”
Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, the top-ranking Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, who sat next to Rogers at a recent White House dinner, said, “She’s someone who puts you at ease instantly. You feel like you’ve known her a long time.”
Though Rogers now has an apartment in Washington, she shuttles back and forth to Chicago, returning three weeks ago for a surprise party for interior designer and Table Fifty-Two co-owner Julie Latsko.
Read full story