Southborough teen interviews Michelle Obama

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Shayna Rose holds up her halter top featured in her interview with former First Lady Michelle Obama. (Photo by/Laura Hayes)

By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter

SOUTHBOROUGH — Fourteen-year-old Shayna Rose nearly fainted when she heard the news – former First Lady Michelle Obama was interested in doing an interview with her for Vogue Knitting. 

“She’s such an inspiration, and then getting to speak to her about knitting was so amazing,” said Shayna.

A preview of her interview was posted on Obama’s Facebook and had over 95,000 views as of July 19. The full interview will be released in November.

Shayna has always loved crafting. A couple of years ago, she learned how to knit by watching YouTube videos. 

“I just loved it,” she said. “It was so much simpler than I thought.” 

She took her knitting to a local farmers market and had the chance to sell her knit slippers in a boutique in Natick. Shayna partnered with Yarnspirations on a campaign and has a knitting book called “You Can Knit” coming out in the future. 

Recently, she reached out to Vogue Knitting, asking if she could write a story for them.

Shayna usually isn’t nervous for her interviews, but she admitted that she was nervous for her interview with Obama. After a couple of minutes, any nerves dissolved.

Like Shayna, Obama said she taught herself how to knit by watching YouTube videos.  

The former First Lady shared how she knit halter tops for her daughters. So, Shayna showed her a halter top that she had made. 

“Anyone can do it,” Obama said. “It’s just you have to have the patience and the desire to take small stitches and turn them into something great.” 

Shayna likens the persistence of knitting to that of reporting.

The Rose Reporter was born when Shayna was eight. 

Shayna loved to read during her recess, but her teacher told her that she couldn’t.

“I was really upset,” Shayna recalled.

Her mom, Julianne, had a couple of ideas. Maybe Shayna could start a book club or interview her friends during recess. 

So, Shayna started a school newspaper. She asked her friends basic questions. What was their favorite meal and dessert? What was their favorite recess game? 

Her paper grew and a classmate even started a rival paper.

Shayna began interviewing local police officers and the school superintendent. As the school year was wrapping up, Julianne wanted to land a big interview. 

“I’m competitive, I’ll admit it,” Julianne said.

Julianne and her mother called the Massachusetts State House relentlessly. 

“It was tough, but we got it,” Julianne said.

The Roses headed to the State House, but it just happened to be the day a jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death for his involvement in the Boston Marathon Bombing. 

All of a sudden, news trucks filled the State House. Gov. Charlie Baker was to give a press conference, and the Roses didn’t know if Shayna would still get her interview with the governor. 

Another reporter saw Shayna and took her to the front of the press conference.

“It was really cool getting to feel like I was part of the media as an eight-year-old,” Shayna said. “Looking back at it, it’s even cooler knowing what was actually happening.” 

As a bonus, Shayna did get her interview with the governor.

She had since had the chance to interview celebrities like Steve Carrell, as well as politicians including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. 

But Shayna says her interview with Obama is her favorite.

“Talking about knitting made it pretty over the top, since she’s such an inspiration and role model to me just was amazing. It was so incredibly surreal,” Shayna said.

Like other fourteen-year-olds, Shayna is getting ready to start her freshman year of high school with dreams of becoming a psychiatrist. 

“If someone said to me, in eight years you’re going to interview Michelle Obama and be a knitter and do all this stuff, I would say, ‘I don’t believe you’ and be shocked,” Shayna said. “But seeing it all unfold the way that it did is really crazy, too.”

Follow Shayna on Instagram @shaynaroseofficial on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shaynaroseofficial.