One word often used to describe Michelle Obama is “inspiring”. She is viewed by many as an embodiment of the American Dream and of potential, while always exuding grace and courage.
Michelle Obama’s story started 54 years ago, on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. Born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson on January 17, 1964, her life reads almost like a fairytale, but a modern fairytale where the princess goes to Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and works for one of the country’s top law firms before meeting her prince. Later on, the princess raises her two daughters, leaves law in favour of public policy, and, as First Lady of the United States, helps lead an embattled nation. She’s a model for women having it all, yet she avoids the self-help jargon in favour of forthrightness and honesty.
“Every day, the people I meet inspire me, every day they make me proud, every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on Earth. Serving as your First Lady is an honor and a privilege,” she has said.
It was a joy to see this family’s happy, passionate, and quirky presence in the White House. The Obamas represent the best virtues that America, as a nation, is capable of producing: kindness, tolerance, and the highest moral standards.
Being First Lady can’t have been easy. Navigating between stereotypes of “the angry black woman” and accusations of being “a feminist nightmare” and an “English lady of the manor, Tory Party, circa 1830s”, Michelle Obama managed to fill the role with integrity and loyalty to her own values.
As First Lady, Michelle Obama had a lot of latitude to mold the role to her personality. Unsurprisingly, her causes were both practical and important, including fighting childhood obesity, poverty, and the right to education for all. Again attacked for not supporting causes that were more controversial, her critics forget that according to the CDC, the percentage of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s. About one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) is obese. Also, the lack of access to healthy produce affects minority communities to a disproportionate degree.
Lastly, Michelle Obama is a fashion icon. Listed in 2007 by Vanity Fair, among “10 of the World’s Best Dressed People,” she became famous for her toned arms and for mixing high-end fashion with less expensive pieces from J Crew and Target. Michelle Obama also popularized many minority designers, like Mimi Plange and Duro Olowu.
Michelle Obama, who just celebrated a birthday, will always radiate joy and honesty, and continue to climb to ever greater pinnacles of achievement.
Nezha Boutamine | Staff Writer