She was the girl from the Southside of Chicago who took on a role she didn’t ask for. But like President Obama likes to say, she took that role and made it her own.
It’s why we adore Michelle Obama, our first African-American First Lady, and why we strive to personify the fearlessness, the grace and the purpose she embodies by just existing in the White House. And beyond her presence — one that captivates whole rooms and has inspired a generation— Michelle Obama’s dedication to this country and her work in the White House is a model of what it means to truly be an American.
Fashion Icon. Mother. Intellectual. Sister. Friend. Here are the reasons we love First Lady Michelle Obama.
“I’m kind of sarcastic, and I’ve felt my sense of humor subjugated on some level,” Mrs. O. told Vanity Fair in 2007. “My husband loves my sense of humor, and we tease each other mercilessly,” she added. Need proof? Just check out any of her legendary moments (who can forget her "mom dancing" on Jimmy Fallon?).
She has supported her husband, President Barack Obama, throughout his career. “My support for my husband comes straight from my motherhood bones,” said Mrs. O. in an ABC News interview.
Portuguese water dog Bo has become a part of the First Family. “He’s got a great life,” the First Lady told ABC News’ Barbara Walters.
When Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton was tragically killed days after attending President Barack Obama's second inauguration, Mrs. Obama flew to Chicago to attend her funeral. "Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her," she said.
She planted an organic garden at the White House to nourish her family, and, in turn, inspired the country. She has also sponsored initiatives such as Get Fit, which encourages young people to stay active and lead a healthier lifestyle.
What better person to represent the United States overseas than Michelle Obama?
The First Lady loves to try new things. Imagine the excitement of middle school students at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, D.C. getting to see Mrs. O. dance “the Dougie”.
She doesn’t wear fur. Her makeup is always elegant, from her defined brow, soft lip gloss and neutral blush, she is forever stunning.
Whether working out with students or planting seeds in a garden, the First Lady is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work.
"Women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves," she told People when asked about plastic surgery. "Right now, I don’t imagine that I would go that route, but I’ve also learned to never say never.”
On her vacations in Hawaii, the First Lady loves to slick her hair back in a bun to combat the island humidity, like a real woman.
The First Lady is not afraid to bare arms.
With initiatives like Let Girls Learn, young girls now know the sky is the limit, thanks to women like Michelle Obama.
It’s not just American women that Mrs. Obama inspires. It’s women all over the world, like the young women she met at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2011.
The First Lady says older brother, University of Oregon basketball head coach Craig Robinson, is one of her closest friends.
Mrs. Obama proves women can marry a dynamic man and not live in his shadow.
A Princeton and Harvard graduate, Mrs. Obama is one of the most educated First Ladies.
Her friendships with Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King are inspirational. Mrs. Obama recently celebrated her 50th birthday hiking with Oprah and Gayle at Oprah's Maui estate.
Whether it's fighting against childhood obesity through her “Let’s Move!” initiative, or being an advocate for the rights of military families, the First Lady is genuinely committed to her causes.
Mrs. Obama considers herself the “Mom-in-Chief” and spends quality time with her daughters. “The first priority is to make sure that my kids have their heads on straight,” she said in 2007. “They are great and they are stable and they are confident, and I want to make sure they stay that way.”
Mrs Obama’s support of young fashion designers like Jason Wu (who designed her first inaugural night dress) and Thakoon Panichgul has catapulted their names into the mainstream.
Mrs. Obama has an intimate relationship with her husband, even in public.
The First Lady has a figure every woman can relate to, and she wears it well.
Whether supporting those in need after natural disasters or the troops, Mrs. Obama is always there to lend an ear.
Mrs. Obama has taken her girls to Spain, South America and Southern Africa, ensuring that they will become global citizens.
With her gardening initiatives, Mrs. Obama is teaching a generation to be self-sufficient.
We love that, when they lived in Chicago, Mrs. O had a standing Friday manicure appointment right before her weekly date with her husband.
We love that Mrs. Obama mixes high-end with low-end, like this $34 H&M dress she wore on the Today show in 2011.
Like the aunties and older sisters we grew up around, Michelle Obama is someone we can identify with.
Our President can’t keep his eyes off his lovely wife.
Whatever Mrs. Obama wears has us drooling and secretly trying to emulate her style. Her choice to wear a Marc by Marc Jacobs Simone Striped Dress in March 2011 made the dress one of the most coveted of the year.
From her "Let’s Move’ campaign to her exemplary ways as a mother and wife, the First Lady makes us want to do and be better.
Mrs. Obama brought the bob back!
We beam with pride each time Mrs. Obama goes on a foreign trip because we know she represents us so well.
Healthy living isn’t just a campaign slogan for Mrs. Obama, it’s a way of life.
President Obama has often said he wouldn’t be half the man he is without his wife’s guidance.
You will not interrupt Michelle Obama during a speech. When an activist heckled her at a private fundraiser in Washington D.C. in June 2013, Mrs. Obama confronted her, saying, “One of the things I don’t do well is this,” before walking off the stage.
For her 49th birthday, Mrs. Obama tried bangs but decided they just weren't for her. "It’s hard to make speeches with hair in your face!" she told Parade.
Mrs. Obama’s confidence is sexy and beautiful.
From designer pieces to $30 dresses, Mrs. Obama makes any outfit she chooses look oh-so-amazing.
She may be 50, but don’t underestimate Mrs. Obama’s double dutch skills. Watch her jump rope for a Worldwide Day of Play PSA .
President Obama is said to consult his wife on everything, even policy matters.
In December 2015, Michelle O made a college-themed rap song with SNL comedian Jay Pharoah called "Go to College." What happened next? The track hit number 1 on the Billboard charts. Will there be a follow-up on attending grad school?
"I want to be this really fly 80-, 90-year old," she told Parade, adding that she plans to achieve this by staying healthy.
Mrs. Obama’s beauty reflects what we see in the mirror, not what we see on TV and movies, and we love that.
Her beauty and grace feel timeless.
"I want to be the grandma that my mom has been," she told People. "What if Malia has this great career and a new baby, and she doesn't feel comfortable putting her child in child care? If I have the time, yes, I'd love to be able to pitch in…I want to be that grandma."
"What I tell my kids is, I'm preparing you for college and for life," she told Parade. "So, having independence, knowing how to set your own boundaries, figuring out how to make that balance."
The First Lady announced she was ready to tweak her workout when she turned 51. “I’m seeing myself shift from weight-bearing stuff—even though that continues to be important—and the heavy cardio and running, to things like yoga that will keep me flexible,” she told People.
"I will be in my early 50s when I leave here, and I have so much more that I should do,” she told People. “I don’t have the right to just sit on my talents or blessings. I’ve got to keep figuring out ways to have an impact — whether as a mother or as a professional or as a mentor to other kids.”