Michaele Salahi, who state department officials say crashed President Obama’s first State Dinner with her husband Tareq Tuesday, spent the day of the event prepping for her moment in the spotlight – and debating what to wear.
At the Erwin Gomez salon in Georgetown Michaele Salahi discussed whether she should wear a sari or not. “She put the sari on wrong,” Gomez says, so her makeup artist, who fit her in for a last minute lunch hour appointment, helped dress her.
“She told me that they called the White House and spoke to someone at the White House to make sure what she was wearing to the party was appropriate and not offensive to the Indian culture,” adds hairstylist Peggy Ioakim.
Gomez says several of his high-profile clients were wondering how Michaele was invited to the dinner – because they weren’t.
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“I told her, ‘This is a really elite list. This is amazing that you got invited,'” Gomez tells PEOPLE. “She goes, ‘Well, I’m just really blessed and lucky that I got invited.’ She was excited, excited, excited.”
Ioakim, who gave Michaele a blow-out and flat-ironed her hair for the big night, was also curious about the invitation. “I asked her, ‘So, how did you get invited? How did this happen?’ says Ioakim. “She told me she got an invitation in the mail. I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s so awesome. What does it look like? Do you have it?'”
Michaele rummaged through a jam-packed Chanel bag, saying she couldn’t find it. “She thought she had left it maybe in the limo. She went to go look for it in the limo and she didn’t have any invitation. I never saw it,” says Ioakim. “She told me that she had met the Obamas, many times. And she’s been at the White House in the past.”
Husband Tareq, who changed into his tux at the salon, spent the afternoon talking about all the celebrities they would see at the dinner. (He was most excited to meet Oprah.)
Meanwhile his wife, “was just on Cloud Nine,” Ioakim says. “She was ranting and raving about the Obamas and how nice they are. I said, ‘They’ll know who you are, right? Are you sitting with them? She said, ‘No, no, no. I’ll see them there, but I’m not sitting with them. I asked, ‘Do they know who you are?’ And she said, ‘They probably don’t remember me.'”
“During the whole time, I never ever once thought this was a lie,” Ioakim adds. “I never thought she wasn’t invited. Never.”
Pal Casey Margenau wasn’t surprised to hear they would be attending the State Dinner. “I could see them being invited to the White House – and if they crashed it, I could see it. They’ve always lived larger than life,” says Margenau. “They’re always at the right party. They’re always in the limelight – both of them.”
“They like the spotlight,” he says. “Some people love them – and some people don’t. But they’re good people. They’re fun people.”