Regardless of political leanings, it’s hard not to admire Michelle Obama. Born Michelle Robinson in Chicago in 1964, her father, Fraser, worked for a city water plant; her mother, Marion, stayed at home until Michelle entered high school, at which point she worked as a secretary at a catalogue store. Her father suffered from multiple sclerosis and his disease inspired Michelle to work hard and stay out of trouble. She did well at school and attended Chicago’s first “Magnet School”, a selective, specialist high school. She endured a three-hour daily round-trip commute in order to attend.
Michelle followed in her older brother Craig’s footsteps and attended Princetown University (despite being told by her high school teachers that she was “setting her sights too high”). She majored in Sociology and minored in African-American studies, and graduated with honours. She went on to study law at Harvard Law School and met her husband Barack Obama at the Chicago law firm in which they both worked; she’d been assigned as his mentor while he was a summer associate. They married in 1992 and have two daughters.
In 2007 Michelle reduced her professional responsibilities in order to support her husband’s presidential campaign. As First Lady of the United States, she campaigned for healthy eating and led a “Let’s Move!” initiative to tackle childhood obesity. She advocates on behalf of military families, campaigns for LGBT rights and supports women balancing career and family.
“You don’t stoop to their level. No. Our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”
Aside from her superb sense of style, she has a fabulous sense of humour, as demonstrated when she participated in Carpool Karaoke with British comedian and talk show host, James Corden.
At the Democratic Convention in 2016 she described how she and Barack teach their daughters how to deal with bullying: “How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”
Such powerful words that any parent could borrow to advise their own children.
No doubt the Obama’s will enjoy retreating from the public eye now that Barack’s
presidential term is over, but hopefully, we will continue to hear more from this beautiful, intelligent and inspiring woman.