First Lady Michelle Obama presented a filmmakers workshop at the White House on Friday, 8 November, to promote careers in the entertainment industry to a group of high school students. Obama enlisted the help of Harvey Weinstein, Whoopi Goldberg, Ryan Coogler, Bruce Cohen, Blake Lively and a myriad of other Hollywood stars as part of an a-list forum aimed at encouraging kids to look towards the film and TV industry as a possible career path.

The all-star panel capped off a day of activities for high schools students gathered from Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York meeting in the capital. The First Lady aims to promote careers in the entertainment industry outside of acting and directing, as well as hopefully inspiring a generation of future Oscar winners.

"It just doesn’t take technical knowledge to succeed in the movie business. It is not just about being the best actor, or creating the best special effects,” the First Lady said (via The Warp). “It is about having grit.”

Obama went on to discuss how many of Hollywood's brightest talents have had to overcome personal struggles to reach the heights they are at now, encouraging the high schoolers to follow their own dreams despite any possible obstacles they may come across in their way. Referring to Fruitvale Station director Coogler, she said, “If it weren’t for the discipline and drive his parents instilled in him, he might have ended as a statistic,” before mentioning that Goldberg had to overcome “all kinds of adversity” to get to where she is today.

Michelle Obama promotes healthy eating through hip-hop

Moving on to Weinstein, who she called “a wonderful human being and a good friend,” Obama suggested that his success stems back to his childhood. She said, “For Harvey, it was a poke in the eye, and I mean literally a poke in the eye that may have led him becoming one of the biggest producers in Hollywood that we have ever seen. When Harvey was 10, he lost an eye when he was playing with other kids. So he couldn’t go to school for 6 months. But Harvey didn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself. He knocked on the door of a retired librarian who lived next door to him and asked for books. Now for those of you who know Harvey … can you imagine a 10-year-old Harvey in a conversation with a librarian… From that moment on, Harvey developed a knack for reading and a skill for finding good stories he has used for years for decades.”

Harvey Weinstein
Obama hopes Harvey Weinstein can inspire future producers