Former First Lady Michelle Obama is opening up about her bond with the Secret Service agent who has been protecting her for more than a decade.
In an unusual turn for someone so good at going unnoticed, Allen Taylor briefly steps into the spotlight in the new Nextlix documentary Becoming, which follows Obama on her blockbuster book tour. (The doc was made with the Obamas’ production company; they have an overall deal with Netflix as well.)
“Allen is more like a brother than he is an agent,” Obama, 56, says at one point in the film, which premiered on Wednesday. “He was my first experience of having a detail — so that’s 12 years of a relationship, if not more.”
“I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the back of his head,” she jokes, sitting in the back of a car with Taylor in the front seat.
Obama says that though she’s not often involved in the behind-the-scenes security work that goes into her public appearances, she always asks questions.
“I always want to know where the guns are,” she says a little wryly. “What if somebody was really trying to take me out? They’d take these two out first. I could get us to safety, Allen. I got you covered. I’m always thinking.”
“I know you could. I’m very confident in that,” Taylor responds, laughing.
The documentary also shows Taylor reflecting on his time at Obama’s side.
“I’ve been working with Mrs. Obama since 2008,” he says. “Over that time, if you’re around the protectee, you get to know each other very well. The stakes are very high in this job, it’s a no-fail mission, so you have to get it right 100 percent of the time.”
In Becoming, Taylor recalls one favorite moment between him and Obama when her family was taking a trip to the Great Wall of China.
“And when Mrs. Obama saw the slide, she became interested in wanting to do it as well,” he continues, holding up a framed photo of the two of them going down the slide in which Obama looks overjoyed and Taylor … not so much.
“As you can see, she’s smiling and I’m not smiling. But obviously it’s a very special photo,” he says. “It’s a fun photo. It’s actually one of my favorites. I always have to pinch myself and say, ‘Did I really experience all of that?’ ”