Kelly: Welcome, Sameera! Or should I call you Sparrow? This is the first time I've hosted a fictional character here at Big A little a, and I can't wait to hear what you have to say.
Sameera: Thanks, Dr. H. Either name is fine. Anything but Sammy, which is what the campaign people tried to call me when I first hit the trail with my parents.
Kelly: Your road to the White House was an interesting ride. What was the most difficult part about campaigning for your father?
Sameera: All the in-your-face personal questions! I wasn't used to strangers acting like they knew me better than my friends. And reporters used such personal info about me, too, like the fact that I coxed, and like classic movies, and even the name of the orphanage in Pakistan where my parents found me. It was more than freaky at first, but I got used to it. I've even learned how to banter with the rhinos (that's Ran's and my code name for paparazzi, BTW). Bantering is a great talent to have when you're in the spotlight.
Kelly: What was most surprising to you about the people you met when on the campaign trail?
Sameera: How much I connected with older people! Maybe I inherited some ancient South Asian respect-your-elders gene, or maybe it's because I love my grandparents so much, but I absolutely love schmoozing with seniors.
Kelly: Are you mad at your cousin Miranda for vamping it up for the media when you were staying at your Grandparents' Ohio farm?
Sameera: Mad? No way. Can't get mad at Ran no matter what she does. I was more...worried, I guess. She so wants to be famous, but she doesn't get how the celebrity machine can shred you.
Kelly: As First Daughter, what do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today?
Sameera: Keeping America safe and sound AND friendly and welcoming at the same time. How do you do that? Helping the planet become more peaceful and just AND leaving other countries alone to take care of themselves. Can you do both? Getting rid of waste, hate, and hunger. That last one, especially, is my favorite dream.
Kelly: Why did you think it was important to take your private blog public? What have you learned by doing so?
Sameera: I got tired of other people trying to represent the real me. I am the real me, thank you very much. I like writing stuff I think about--not what some middle-aged marketing expert thinks a First Daughter should sound like. What did I learn when Sparrowblog went public? That if you care too much what other people think, your shouts quickly morph into whispers. Next thing you know you totally lose your voice. It's all about truth and love if you want to survive out there in cyber-world.
Kelly: Are you worried about not seeing your parents much in the future? Will your mom be able to keep working?
Sameera: My parents have already spent years trying to save the world but we've always managed to carve out time for the three of us. Sundays have always been our family chill days. Mom will definitely find a way to keep fighting for her causes, and I'm sure a First Ladyhood would give her the chance to talk about her refugees non-stop. So I'm not too worried about either of those issues.
Kelly: Do you miss your school and your friends in Brussels? Are you worried about the new school year? Have you kept up your math skills?
Sameera: Do we really have to talk about math, Dr. H.? Two more years and then I'm done with that four-letter word forever. That's why laptops come with calculators, right? (I hope my tutor's not reading this; I'll probably have to write a five-paragraph essay on why mad skills in math are so important.)
Do I miss my school in Brussels? Yeah, I miss it. I miss my guys on the crew team, and my newspaper buddies. But campaigning is fun, too. And I've made new friends, like the South Asian students at G-dub, and Mariam. And Bobby, of course.
Kelly: How do you think President Righton will handle dating in the White House? (Hey, did Bobby ever call?)
Sameera: President Righton will handle dating in the White House by letting his daughter make her own decisions about guys. He knows I've got sense. And Bobby? Well, that's a long story. You'll have to read First Daughter: White House Rules to find out what happened.
Kelly: If you could concentrate on any one political or social issue as First Daughter, what would you choose and why?
Sameera: I don't think any kid on the planet should go to sleep hungry. I'm going to use my FD megaphone to shout a lot about that. I've already talked a lot about slave trafficking, so I'll keep yelling some about that one, too.
Kelly: Okay, now on to some personal questions:
a) Who is your favorite writer?
Let's talk screenplays, since I prefer getting my story fixes from the big screen. I like the old-fashioned stuff--like the scripts written by of Ernst Lehman (Sabrina, The King and I, North by Northwest, West Side Story, The Sound of Music). Nowadays, how about Sabrina Dhawan (Monsoon Wedding), Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions), Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense) or Scott Frank (Minority Report), J.J. Abrams (Regarding Henry)?
b) What's your favorite band?
I'm such a mix that I don't like picking just one favorite. I love country mostly because Ran does, so Rascal Flatts is up there. Old-school tunes from musicals like The Sound of Music and all the Disney flicks we grew up with (Lion King 2 has some great songs). But hip-hop and R&B are awesome, too, and I've been into Akon and Chris Brown and Mary J. Blige and Beyonce. I'm also getting better at bhangra dancing so I'm getting up to speed on Bollywood music these days, and downloading songs by classic vocalists like Lata Mangeshkar, whose voice just soars.
c) What is your favorite meal?
Sunday after-church supper at my grandparents' house--roast chicken, hot rolls, rosemary potatoes, fresh salad, and a cold glass of Campbell Dairy Farm milk. Followed by my cousin's AMAZING homemade frosted oatmeal scotchies, of course. All eaten around the big wooden table with Jingle, the family Lab, asleep on my feet.
d) If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and why?
My grandparents' farm in Maryfield, Ohio. Because it's home. I've been around the world a lot, and guess what? Dorothy was right. Pass the ruby slippers.
e) What is your favorite item of clothing?
I like the hot new outfits the fashionistas put together during the campaign, but there's nothing like the combo of a pair of old jeans and a long, loose kurta shirt.
f) Who are your favorite actors (male and female)
Yikes. Too hard. Too many. Bogart and Hepburn rock. But Amitabh Bachchan can sing and act.
g) What is your favorite movie?
Casablanca, of course.
h) What is your favorite song?
America the Beautiful. Hey, I'm a First Daughter, remember? But I'm not just giving you the party line, Dr. H.--every time I hear that song, I get the good kind of shivers. Especially that part about "my home, sweet home," because I know I didn't get here by accident. It was definitely my destiny. Oh, geez, I'm getting all Star Wars on you now, so I'd better sign off. Thanks for coming up with such great questions.
Check out Sameera's video here at YouTube and her blog at Sparrowblog.
Catch the rest of Sameera's blog tour here:
Monday, 6/11: 5 Minutes For Mom and Jennifer Snapshot
Tuesday, 6/12: Big A little a
Wednesday, 6/13: Semicolon
Thursday, 6/14: Jen Robinson's Book Page
Friday, 6/15: Little Willow
Monday, 6/18: Sara's Hold Shelf