White House picks Iranian-American as chief florist

WASHINGTON - The White House announced Thursday that it has selected an Iranian-born woman who started a business from her parents' garage as its new chief florist, a move the first lady called proof the American dream lives on.

Hedieh "Roshan" Ghaffarian, who immigrated to the United States as a young child and was raised in California, will be on hand for the September 25 state dinner in honour of Chinese President Xi Jinping and start full-time on October 18, the White House said in a statement.

It said Ghaffarian started her "Flower Affairs" floral business from her parents' garage in her early twenties before going on to work at more than 1,000 events over her 25-year career.

"Roshan's life story is a powerful reminder that the American Dream endures, and the President and I look forward to seeing her creativity flourish for White House guests to enjoy year-round," First Lady Michelle Obama said.