Lady of the House

Leslie Paxton | May 25, 2017 | Feature Features National

O.C. native Joanna Rosholm was only 26 when she landed a spot on the White House communications staff. Now, her future is wide open.

Joanna Rosholm’s next job interview would likely go better than it would for most unemployed 32-year-old communications specialists. If the screening committee members asked Rosholm to walk them through her résumé, her answer would go something like this: I was raised in Tustin and got an undergraduate degree from Chapman University, where I fell in love with political communications. Got my master’s from Georgetown. My first job in politics was with the Democratic National Committee, then I joined the White House communications staff at age 25. I worked 3 ½ years for President Barack Obama and the next three years as press secretary for first lady Michelle Obama.

But Rosholm, who now lives in Brooklyn, isn’t rushing into her next job. She’s enjoying some downtime after six years at the center of the Free World. “Walking into the White House each day is one thing you never get used to,” she says. “It’s one of the few quiet moments you get to reflect on what an incredible opportunity it is to work inside its walls.”

Rosholm cheerfully answers the same basic questions asked by anyone who discovers she worked in the White House. She doesn’t remember meeting former President Obama for the first time: “I was probably briefing him in the Oval Office, and I may have blacked out from the stress!” The Obamas are as genuine as they seem: “What you see on TV is exactly who they are in person, except in person they are even smarter and funnier.” And her last day at the White House was bittersweet: “There was barely anyone left. It was eerily quiet, and photos that had covered the walls for years were being taken down.”

As for where she’ll land next, she says: “Hopefully I’ll be able to continue to dream up creative content and see it come to life. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing an idea I helped develop come to fruition on TV or the South Lawn.”


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