Trainer Amy Alberson's Advice Carries Weight With Laura Bush
Everyone noticed the new, improved Laura Bush on Inauguration Day last year: chic in a white Oscar de la Renta coat, blond highlights, noticeably slimmer. Veterans of the diet wars calculated that she had dropped at least 20 pounds -- but no, the first lady was just buffed , thanks to personal trainer Amy Alberson.
We ran into the Georgia native this week at the book party for "Laura Bush," by Ron Kessler . His flattering biography (based on interviews with the first lady's friends) has plenty of details about her life, but barely a word about her fitness routine. Turns out she works out three times a week with sister-in-law Margaret Bush under Alberson's direction.
The 8 a.m. sessions are held in the Bushes' private quarters -- an hour of free weights, ballet, aerobic exercises, strength training and stretch-and-tone. In her first year with Alberson, the first lady went from approximately a size 8 to a size 6. "She definitely lost weight, and she's built muscle mass to replace fat," Alberson says.
Laura likes to exercise to music -- a little Texas country, maybe a mix CD from her daughters -- and occasionally the girls join the workout, as do overnight visitors: "If Mrs. Bush has company, she invites them." And really, who's going to sleep in?
Alberson, 55, owned two exercise studios before switching to one-on-one training. She lives in Alexandria just around the corner from the president's brother Marvin, and was hired by him 11 years ago to get in shape for his 40th birthday. (They work out together to this day.) When the first lady's previous trainer left to have a baby in December 2003, a "very" nervous Alberson got the call to the White House.
Alberson was hush-hush about her other private pupils -- "Each one of my clients is important to me" -- but actress Lynda Carter and car magnate Mandy Ourisman are on the list. Alberson has never advertised, works entirely by word of mouth and typically charges $75 per session. And yes, she's a Republican -- but exercises her right to help Democrats get toned, too.
Sing Along With Julie
|(Lauren Victoria Burke)|
After 44 weeks as "Harry Wales," Britain's Prince Harry is now a second lieutenant in the army. The 21-year-old prince, third in line to the throne, graduated yesterday from Sandhurst military academy, with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Camilla and Prince William in attendance. Next up: training to become a troop commander, and possible service in Iraq or Afghanistan . . .
And even if you're not an actual member of the British royal family, you can look like one: A collection of 800 trinkets owned by Princess Margaret , the late sister of the queen, will go on the auction block in June. Christie's London office will sell off jewelry (tiara, anyone?), Faberge originals, silver, furniture and fine art. But caveat emptor: None of the jewels are Crown Jewels or part of the Royal Collection.
Richard Roundtree Does a Little Detection Work
Who is the man that would risk his neck for his brother man? Richard Roundtree ! The star of the original 1970s "Shaft" films was a surprise guest at the birthday party that developer Herb Miller threw Tuesday night for City Council member and mayoral candidate Vincent Orange . But the 63-year-old actor, in a dark suit and graying hair, doesn't have a stake in D.C. politics; he came along with another guest while in town to speak to a conference of the National Minority Health Month Foundation.
Roundtree, it turns out, was diagnosed nearly 13 years ago with breast cancer. His life was saved by a mastectomy and chemotherapy; now he lectures around the country about early detection. "There is help out there if we take advantage of it," he told our colleague Yolanda Woodlee, noting that most men don't. "Men take better care of their cars than their bodies. . . . If I had not been such a hypochondriac and gone straight to the doctor when I noticed a lump in my breast, I would not be here talking to you today."