It seems to be the year of the FLOTUS (First Lady Of The United States)! Former first lady Hillary Clinton has clinched the Democratic Party nomination and is very likely to become the first ever female President of the United States. And the outgoing first lady Michelle Obama is a trendsetter and is almost as popular as her husband Barack Obama. From being impeccably dressed to being the voice of conscience and staying in the news for all the right reasons, here’s why Michelle is the coolest first lady ever!
A classic speech can change history, like Mark Antony’s ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen’, and can make an emotional moment even more special, like Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Long ago we made a tryst with destiny’. It is quite a surprise that Michelle, who is not a seasoned politician, was able to make a memorable speech while advocating support for Hillary’s candidature. Rather paradoxically, Hillary, who IS a seasoned politician, has not been able to make a similar impression at the podium. Michelle’s speech was simply stated, but delivered with confidence and spoken from the heart. She was not only able to appeal to the emotions of the audience, but was able to strike a chord the world over, with the video trending all over social media. After all, who can resist such lines –
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.
Michelle is able to balance being a doting and devoted mom with being a disciplinarian, evoking the Harvard-educated lawyer in her. Since her daughters Malia and Sasha spent their formative years at the White House, the probability of their getting swayed by the title of ‘first daughters’ was high. But they seem to be well-brought up young girls, focussed on their education, which is all thanks to their mother. Malia and Sasha were allowed technology only during weekends, including cell phones. They were not allowed to watch television or use a computer for anything but homework during the week. They had to take up two sports: one they chose and one selected by Michelle. She said in 2012, “I want them to understand what it feels like to do something you don’t like and to improve.”
And now in her own words, “I also told you about our daughters, how they are the heart of our hearts, the centre of our world, and during our time in the White House we have had the joy of watching them grow from bubbly little girls into poised young women.”
Michelle rode shotgun with ‘Carpool Karaoke’ host James Corden, showing him around the White House lawns. Not only was she sportive enough to sing along to Stevie Wonder, Beyonce and Missy Elliott tunes, she also made it clear who the boss was at the White House. “Is Barack there in the Oval office right now?” Corden asked, to which she replied, “He better be. That’s where he told me he would be!”
When the Obamas visited the UK, Michelle followed protocol and curtsied to the Queen. However, later, she ignored protocol and gave a warm hug of sorts to the Queen, demonstrating the warm relations that exist between two of the most important families in the world, and beyond that, between their respective nations.
The Obamas also started a playful online war with Prince Harry when they posted a video on social media, challenging Prince Harry to the Invictus Games (an international event where wounded, injured or sick armed services members and veterans compete in sports). “Hey, Prince Harry. Remember when you told us to bring it at the Invictus Games?” Michelle asks in the video. Barack then says, “Careful what you wish for!”
Let’s Move! is a public health campaign started by Michelle Obama which aims to reduce childhood obesity and encourage a healthy lifestyle in American children. The campaign aims to decrease childhood obesity to 5 percent by 2030. Michelle, being very fit herself, has been very vocal about encouraging healthier food in schools, better food labelling and more physical activity for children. President Obama too was completely in sync, and signed a presidential memorandum for a Task Force on Childhood Obesity. The Task Force hopes to create change through a national action plan with the goals – empowering parents and caregivers, providing healthy food in schools and improving access to healthy, affordable foods.
Since Michelle’s successor is going to be either Melania Trump or Bill Clinton, it is unlikely that we will see such a trend maker of a First Lady (or gentleman) any time soon. Of course, Michelle could heed her admirers’ requests and run for president in four years!