Anna Wilding Recalls Time in The White House Press Corps
“Marine One had just landed on the South Lawn and Anna Wilding was standing 20 feet away among the press with her camera in hand, ready to capture the 44th president head back into the White House when Barack Obama did something out of character” and walked toward the group, Sarah Elsesser writes in an article for Palm Beach Daily News.
“Obama was literally standing in front of my face. I was talking and meeting the president of the United States,” said Wilding. “I took my shots. And, three of the four shots turned out to be beautiful. That was my first day at the White House.”
As part of the White House press corps Wilding “spent three to five days a week serving as a photographer and occasional reporter for the Herald de Paris, Huffington Post and an Israeli television network. Her photos were shared worldwide through Splash News and some of her images of Michelle Obama appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live,” reports the article.
“Wilding was there to capture some of the Obamas’ most intimate and public moments. Behind closed doors of the Oval Office, she even found herself connecting with the former president.”
“Obama looked up at me and said, ‘I am just an island boy. Who knew I’d ever be sitting here?’ He was still overwhelmed six or seven years later to be sitting in the Oval Office,” Wilding said.
“Wilding grew up in New Zealand but came to America at 16 to pursue acting. After spending time in front of the camera, she produced several films. Her most famous work was the documentary Buddha Wild Monk in a Hut, which looked at racism toward Asians in New Zealand,” reports the article.
Wilding’s husband James Sved said he was thrilled his wife “got to work under such a gentle administration” and said “that being a correspondent gave Wilding the ‘opportunity to be a different kind of storyteller’”.
“Before Wilding stepped foot in the White House, she was working with a team to produce films and documentaries ‘for the greater good.’ But D.C. was a ‘different environment’”.
“You are filing the first reports that America hears, that the world hears. And there is a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” said Wilding.
“I love photographing Obama because his emotions are so close to the surface in a more subtle way, where [Donald] Trump might be more out-front with his expressions,” she said.
“Wilding also recalled Michelle Obama’s twangy South Chicago accent and described her as “a goddess” and “powerhouse” while pointing out colorful moments where Michelle Obama went above and beyond her role as first lady, setting a precedent for the next generation of White House women,” as reported in the article.
The transition from Obama to Trump was “imbued with this sense of chaos,” according to Wilding. She observed that the staff Trump brought in at “first seemed less experienced in politics and D.C. in general,” but added that Trump did try to open up the press room to all media outlets instead of the few that were favored during the Obama administration.
When asked if she would work as a “White House photographer and reporter again” Wilding said:
“I personally learned so much, but I think I have more to offer inside (politics) than I do as a media person. I’ve always felt that I’ve wanted to make a difference in the world.”
Anna Wilding “is a noted and internationally award winning actress, director, writer and producer in both the mainstream and independent/arthouse American movie and television business. In 2012 she founded Kalon Skincare – a skincare brand that uses pure New Zealand bee venom in its products.
From 2015-2017 she worked as White House Correspondent, as outlined on her website. Anna is “known for her philanthropic work and has founded the Wilding Foundation – a charity that provides scholarships and raised thousands of dollars for deserving recipients following the devastating earthquakes that destroyed Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011.”
Article Source: Palm Beach Daily News, Sarah Elsesser, January 1, 2018
Image Source: AnnaWilding.org