Seven years ago I got a call from the production crew of the Oprah tour coming to Ottawa.

They wanted me to provide all the florals for the stage, green room, and Ms. Winfrey’s dressing room. I was honoured and excited at the opportunity to be able to showcase what we could do for one of the most famous women in the world.

Oprah Winfrey on stage beside floral arrangement

Fast forward to early this past September when I received a call from the same production crew, this time Michelle Obama was coming to town!

Before you ask… no, I did not get to meet her. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time for a public meet and greet, as she had two scheduled shows on the same day. But alas, I was still excited to bring a wonderful and diverse group of women with me to watch her talk. On a side note, if you have not yet read Michelle Obama’s book “Beginning”, then you definitely should. I recommend listening to it on audible, as her lovely voice will fill your car on your commute around the city.

When creating floral arrangements for a stage the size of the Canadian Tire Centre’s stage, you have to go big. The flowers need to be seen from the front row, and all the way from the rafters in the 300 section seats. I wanted something that looked warm and soft, but for it to still have a nice pop of colour against the black curtains of the set.

I decided to use a mix of locally sourced flowers, incorporated with some that came to the distance to be on the stage. The floral arrangements consisted of antique pink and green hydrangeas, David Austin garden roses, cream majolica spray roses, burgundy amaranthus, magnolia, Israeli and Italian Ruscus.

Elizabeth Young standing on stage beside floral arrangements for Michelle Obama

Tired eyes, but excited nonetheless! Here I am putting the final touches on the centrepiece that will be in EVERY shot of the former First Lady during her interview. No pressure, right?

chairs on stage beside floral arrangements

The set is done and ready to go for the soundcheck!

Komal Minhas interviewing Michelle Obama on stage beside floral arrangements

Above is Komal Minhas interviewing Michelle Obama. Komal had asked thoughtful and interesting questions. The two shared a beautiful conversation, and the audience leaned in for every word.

Komal Minhas and Michelle Obama on stage waving

The former First Lady looked like she was dressed in a spring garden. The dress was beautiful against the colour of everything on the set.

After the event was over, I brought all the flowers back to my home, where I deconstructed them into smaller arrangements. Those arrangements were delivered the next day to Nelson House, May Court Hospice, Salvation Army – Grace Manor, and some other palliative individuals. I was extremely proud that the recipients were able to enjoy the flowers that I created for one of the most influential women in the world, Michelle Obama.

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