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Kristen Jarvis holding up Michelle Obama’s dress at one of the inaugural balls.

From Newsweek

Michelle Obama’s Body Woman
From the campaign trail to the East Wing, Kristen Jarvis helps the first lady navigate each day.
By Dayo Olopade | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Oct 26, 2009

Renegade, Renaissance, Radiance, and Rosebud, better known as the Obamas (Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha, respectively), were off on Marine One, which meant Kristen Jarvis could relax, briefly. Moments after the first family were whisked off to their vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Jarvis, whose title is special assistant for scheduling and traveling aide for the first lady, took a breather at her East Wing office. Through her indefatigable smile, she ticked off the items that Michelle Obama needed on the presidential campaign trail last year: several Sharpies, her BlackBerry, Oreo cookies, and hand sanitizer. “There’s no time to get sick,” says Jarvis, referring to her boss and herself. “You’re on call.”

Being a young, African-American woman overseeing the affairs for the first black first lady in the White House has its unique, historical responsibilities. During the grueling campaign year Jarvis spent with Mrs. Obama, that meant a shared spreadsheet for black hair salons from Las Vegas to Chicago. “Hairdressers in every state!” she laughs now. “It was a struggle.”

Just as “Obama’s cooler little brother”, Reggie Love knows a thing or two about the president and his needs, Jarvis knows her fair share about the first lady. She calls Michelle “a big sister.”

“I worried a lot about the first lady as the campaign continued and as all of our lives changed,” said Mike Strautmanis, senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett’s chief of staff and Jarvis’s former boss from Obama’s Senate office. “I wanted her to be around people who I knew would take care of her; and Kristen, I knew, would take care of her.”

The effervescent 28-year-old is a graduate of Spelman College, a prestigious historically black women’s college. Her history with the Obamas has given her insight into the couple and a unique vantage point to help the first lady make the transition from Chicago to D.C. “It’s change for them,” says Jarvis, who has introduced the first family to some of her favorite eateries around Washington. “Change is good. She’s very low maintenance. I think just being here together makes all the difference in the world.”

The 2004 election cycle was a blessing in disguirse for Jarvis. A staffer for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, her political world collapsed that November when her boss was bounced from Congress and George W. Bush won reelection. That’s when Pete Rouse, Daschle’s chief of staff and now a senior White House adviser, brought her into the office of a young senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. In those days, “We always knew,” she says now. “We always believed that if there was going to be a first African-American president, he was going to do it.”

Jarvis served as scheduler in Nevada and on the press advance team for the Obama campaign before joining Mrs. Obama for the general election. “Literally, I was in a different state every week,” she says. “A lot of it was just making it work with the resources that we were given.”

That, too, has changed completely from the Senate days when Obama flew coach to Chicago. Today, when the first lady wants to jet to Copenhagen with Oprah Winfrey, transform the East Room into a Stevie Wonder concert, or import 650 pounds of Hawaiian pork butt to the South Lawn of the White House for a luau, Jarvis and countless others are right there to make it happen.

Rest of article at link above.

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