- Associated Press - Thursday, September 17, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - An Iranian-American woman with West Coast roots and more than 25 years of experience in the flower industry is the new White House head florist.

Michelle Obama announced the appointment of Hedieh “Roshan” Ghaffarian on Thursday, a week before President Barack Obama and the first lady honor China’s leader with a lavish state dinner.

Mrs. Obama said Ghaffarian’s life story is a reminder that the American Dream lives on.

“The president and I look forward to seeing her creativity flourish for White House guests to enjoy year-round,” the first lady said.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Ghaffarian was raised in the Northern California city of Los Altos after immigrating with her family as a child following the 1979 Iranian revolution. In her twenties, she started her business, Flower Affairs, in her parents’ garage. She has more than a quarter-century of experience envisioning, planning and executing large-scale events, the White House said.



Ghaffarian, 46, trained with florists based in the United Kingdom and her work has been featured by several publications, including The Knot, Ceremony and Today’s Bride.

Ghaffarian said she is “humbled” by the opportunity to serve and “will dedicate myself to advancing the tradition of excellent and elegance in the White House.”

She will be “on hand” for next week’s state dinner and will join the White House full time in mid-October after completing a move to Washington.

Ghaffarian succeeds Laura Dowling, who resigned the head florist job earlier this year.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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