Former Obama aide Mastromonaco bares nearly all of herself in new book

Alyssa Mastromonaco has a simple message she hopes readers will take away from her new book: “There’s a way to do whatever you want to do and still be yourself.”

The former deputy chief of staff for operations in the Obama White House bares nearly every bit of herself in her new book, “So Here’s the Thing ...: Notes on Growing Up, Getting Older, and Trusting Your Gut,” released Tuesday.

Its tales include the time former Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryRubio asks Barr to investigate Kerry over Iran meetings Harris demands Barr clarify if Trump has asked him to investigate anyone Kerry fires back after Trump accuses him of violating the Logan Act: 'He's wrong' MORE accidentally caught a peek of her shimmying in her underwear and the time she engaged in an epic dance-off with Jennifer Hudson in front of then-President Obama.


It’s a follow-up to Mastromonaco’s New York Times best-seller with Lauren Oyler, “Who Thought This was a Good Idea?”

The 2017 book offered a candid look into her time in the White House, including her humorous take on her struggle with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

“I got tons of feedback from mostly younger women who said, ‘Oh my goodness, you talking about IBS helped me talk to my boss.’ And I got emails and tweets and stuff,” says Mastromonaco. So, the political veteran, who left the White House in 2014, says she decided to address the “underserved topics of things women speak about” in a new book.

Included among the Q&As with prominent public figures such as former national security adviser Susan Rice and anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky, and along with the sections detailing “Seven Things That are Always in my Suitcase” and “A Note on Sex,” (spoiler alert: Mastromonaco doesn’t “have much to say about it”) are insights into how to motivate as a leader and on the current state of politics.

Despite her decade working for Obama, Mastromonaco doesn’t exactly go easy on Democrats.

The left, she writes, “remains a hot mess.”

Criticizing President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons' Rocket attack hits Baghdad's Green Zone amid escalating tensions: reports Buttigieg on Trump tweets: 'I don't care' MORE as “having no sense of responsibility to anyone but himself,” Mastromonaco, 43, says in the book, “I wish I could say that I felt confident in our side’s ability to respond to all this. But I can’t say that. It sometimes seems as if the Democratic Party is engaged in a slapstick performance of ineptitude for laughs.”

“I think having been someone who worked in several presidential campaigns and in the White House, it would be sort of false for me to ignore the topic entirely,” she tells ITK. But she predicts there will be “a coming together” on the Democratic side ahead of the next presidential election. “I think the 2020 primary will be very cathartic for the Democratic Party.”

Mastromonaco might personally find something cathartic about revealing some of the behind-the-scenes moments from her political career, no matter how embarrassing they might be. So how did that uber-awkward encounter with Kerry come to be?

As his presidential campaign’s director of scheduling, Mastromonaco was at a hotel stop on the 2004 Democratic White House nominee’s tour across the country. She left the hotel room door open to accommodate a Secret Service security sweep and hopped in and out of the shower.

“I had managed to put on a T-shirt and a pair of pink underwear when I got the idea to turn on the radio. ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ filled the room,” she writes of the Lionel Richie tune.

“I was clean. I was groovy. I turned it up and decided to take a break from dressing to lie on the bed.” Suddenly, Kerry, an avid cyclist, appeared, searching for where Secret Service had placed his bicycle.

“I don’t believe he saw anything crazy,” Mastromonaco says with a laugh.

Mastromonaco also recalls her boozy battle on the dance floor with “American Idol’s” Hudson, after the author was egged on by Obama.

“I think enthusiasm trumps skill every time, therefore I won,” she quips.

Asked if she imagined that the Trump White House was holding dance parties, which she said were in the West Wing “distant enough from the Oval Office to avoid bothering POTUS, or more likely, to avoid accusations that we were wasting time,” Mastromonaco cracks, “They seem sort of like a humorless lot.”

“They don’t seem to have the camaraderie, so I feel like they’re not forming a dance circle around each other and having a dance-off in the East Room,” she says.

Mastromonaco credits finding professional happiness to having bosses and colleagues who allowed her to be true to herself over the years.

“For me personally, if I had worked for someone who didn’t let me wear my Birkenstocks on occasion, or didn’t like that I was funny, or saw being funny as disrespect or anything like that, I never would’ve been successful or gotten through all the things I did,” she says.