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First Lady Michelle Obama invited Kerry Washington and Sarah Jessica Parker to the White House to discuss military families and honoring military families. See video from the talk inside…

FLOTUS Michelle Obama invited two dynamic actresses, Kerry Washington and Sarah Jessica Parker, to the Blue Room to discuss America’s servicewomen and military spouses. The chat was coordinated by GLAMOUR Magazine and the trio nabbed the May cover of the mag (which we posted earlier).

It wasn’t just be chance that the three talked editor-in-chief Cindi Leive and were photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for the month of May (it’s also about Mother’s Day).

The magazine published an except from the cover story (on newsstands April 14th) where FLOTUS reveals why she’s so passionate about military families and Sarah and Kerry reveal their own military connections, Kerry’s dad, Earl, served before she was born, and Sarah and her husband, actor Matthew Broderick, have friends in uniform.

Cindi Leive: Mrs. Obama, when we interviewed you for your last Glamour cover, six years ago, you were early in your tenure at the White House and still choosing the causes you wanted to champion. You said: “I have to be very passionate myself about the issue to be able to represent it well.” What made you passionate about this issue?

Michelle Obama: Well, during the first campaign, one of my jobs as my husband’s spouse was to travel around the country and really listen to women. We held small discussion groups, [and] there were voices that were new to me: the voices of military spouses, many of them women, and veterans…. I was overwhelmed by their challenges, and the notion that we as a country don’t even know that these women exist, because we live in a country where one percent of the population protects the rights and freedoms of the other 99 percent of us. I thought that if I had the opportunity to serve as First Lady, I was going to use this platform to be their voice.

CL: Joining Forces is celebrating its fourth anniversary. What have been some of the high moments for you so far?

MO: It’s always positive to hear how many people are willing to step up—whether it is the employment community, mental health community, or medical community…. The response is always yes.

CL: Kerry, your father served. Sarah Jessica, you have friends who have served. But even so, you were saying that this can be a difficult issue to understand and support. How so?

Kerry Washington: There is this idea that those who serve are untouchable heroes. [But] the more we hear what people are going through, [we realize] it’s what every woman is going through…. The challenges are just put under a magnifying glass because their lives are so extraordinary.

Sarah Jessica Parker: I feel like there’s a laundry list of issues they face…. Being a working mother, serving, returning from Iraq or Afghanistan—I almost don’t know where to begin…. And I feel intimidated by their service; I feel ashamed that I haven’t served. So I almost feel like I’m patronizing by inquiring how to help. When you see a serviceman or -woman, you always—I always—say, “Thank you for your service.” But you know that’s not enough…. What do we do? Every community has a community of veterans. Where do we begin?

CL: Mrs. Obama, where do we begin?

MO: Start in your community. Most of what these men and women need is people in their backyard lending a helping hand.

CL: I know the rates of PTSD are higher for female veterans than for male veterans, and the causes are many, from [witnessing trauma] to experiencing sexual assault. What do we owe these women whose symptoms are getting in the way of their returning to a normal life?

MO: One thing I want to clarify—that every service member, veteran, wants us to remember—is that the vast majority of people returning from service come back completely healthy…. But when we do come across someone who is struggling…we have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable saying, “I’m a veteran. And by the way, I need little help.” This is something we need to do in this country around mental health as a whole—destigmatizing mental health.

GLAMOUR also shared BTS video of Kerry and SJP’s ride to the White and sit-down with the First Lady.

If the player above does not play, watch the BTS video here where Kerry makes fun of SJP for STILL having a Blackberry!


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Photos via GLAMOUR/Patrick Demarchelier

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