born 1964

On becoming First Lady, Michelle Obama quickly pointed out the importance of her primary role: "mom-in-chief." Welcomed by feminists during the 2008 campaign for her candor and fierce demeanor, she's also the darling of traditionalists. Eschewing a Clinton-or-Roosevelt-esque First Lady-hood, Michelle favors domestic platforms including children's health, military families and border-free issues of women's rights + education.

Michelle and her husband are honest about the struggles they face as a modern family ~ struggles faced by families every day. Her desire to remain a "regular" American manifests in her status as a style icon. While she regularly rocks one-of-a-kind designs that show off her toned arms {almost as famous as she is}, she also chooses department store brands.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Michelle Obama (39)

"It's driving me crazy, because I don't have a plan. So I have to mentally let go of the plan and [say] 'we'll figure it out.'"

Her plan went awry | september 2004

"If politics were my passion, I'd figure out how to do it and make it work. But it's not mine."

Her plan went awry | september 2004

"My lens of life, how I see the world, is through my background, my upbringing."

presidential campaign stop in South Carolina (as reported in the New Yorker, March 10, 2008) | january 2008

"We do a potluck sort of situation, so my contribution is the house."

with Barbara Walters | november 2008

"Communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women."

A plea for education | april 2009

"You, too, can realize your dreams, and then your job is to reach back and to help someone just like you do the same thing."

A plea for education | april 2009

"I am an example of what's possible when girls, from the very beginning of their lives, are loved and nurtured by the people around them."

A plea for education | april 2009

"I thought being smart was cooler than anything else in the world."

A plea for education | april 2009

"The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is often the healthy respect between men and women who appreciate the contributions each other make to society."

A plea for education | april 2009

"Each gown places us right in the moment and makes us wonder about the intimate details of that evening, like how did she feel in the dress? Did her feet hurt in the shoes? How many times did her husband step on that train?"

Smithsonian Museum | march 2010

"Little by little, we're going to keep making tomorrow better than today."

Haiti | april 2010

"True leadership—leadership that lifts families, leadership that sustains communities and transforms nations—that kind of leadership rarely starts in palaces or parliaments."

Remarks by The First Lady during Keynote Address at Young African Women Leaders Forum | june 2011

"True leadership often happens with the smallest acts, in the most unexpected places, by the most unlikely individuals."

Remarks by The First Lady during Keynote Address at Young African Women Leaders Forum | june 2011

"You may think that all of the great moral struggles have already been won...But while today’s challenges might not always inspire the lofty rhetoric or the high drama of struggles past, the injustices at hand are no less glaring, the human suffering no less acute."

Remarks by The First Lady during Keynote Address at Young African Women Leaders Forum | june 2011

"There are still so many causes worth sacrificing for. There is still so much history yet to be made."

Remarks by The First Lady during Keynote Address at Young African Women Leaders Forum | june 2011

"Just as each seed we plant has the potential to become something extraordinary, so does every child."

American Grown | may 2012

"Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own."

Oregon State commencement address | june 2012

"At the end of the day, my most important title is still 'mom-in-chief.'"

Democratic National Convention | september 2012

"Change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once."

Democratic National Convention | september 2012

"Oftentimes, it's the way we react to change that is the thing that determines the overall experience."

Leading by Example | march 2013

"Women should wear whatever makes them feel good about themselves."

Leading by Example | march 2013

"Be the flame of fate, that torch of truth to guide our young people toward a better future for themselves and for this country."

Bowie State University commencement address | may 2013

"Do not waste a minute living someone else's dream."

Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet high school commencement address | may 2013

"Countries are stronger and more prosperous when the voices and opinions of all their citizens can be heard."

Stanford Center | march 2014

"There is no way that I would be standing up straight on my feet if it weren't for my mom."

White House Mother's Day Tea | may 2014

"Military moms … no matter what your country asks of you and your family, you're the ones who step up and serve. And you do it with grace, and dignity, and without complaint."

White House Mother's Day Tea | may 2014

"One thing I've learned from my mom, is to treat yourself well. Do that every single day."

White House Mother's Day Tea | may 2014

"When you encounter people who still hold the old prejudices because they've only been around folks like themselves, when you meet folks who think they know all the answers because they've never heard any other viewpoints, it's up to you to help them see things differently."

Topeka, Kansas high schools | may 2014

"Brown is still being decided every single day—not just in our courts and schools, but in how we live our lives."

Topeka, Kansas high schools | may 2014

"I don’t really have a long wish list for Christmas, because I pretty much have everything I need. Moms and dads, we’re not that big on Christmas. I just want everybody to be happy, and I want to sleep in. That’s what I want for Christmas. I want to sleep late."

The Two Things Michelle Obama Wants for Christmas | december 2014

"Success has nothing to do with perfection."

#DearMe: First Lady Michelle Obama's Message To Her Younger Self | march 2015

"A good education can lift you up into a life you never could have imagined."

#DearMe: First Lady Michelle Obama's Message To Her Younger Self | march 2015

"We have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable saying, 'I'm a veteran. And by the way, I need little help.' This is something we need to do in this country around mental health as a whole—de-stigmatizing mental health."

The Important Cause Bringing Three Powerhouse Women Together | april 2015

"Then there was the first time I was on a magazine cover—it was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge afro and machine gun. Now, yeah, it was satire, but if I’m really being honest, it knocked me back a bit. It made me wonder, just how are people seeing me."

Commencement Address | may 2015

"As long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values—and follow my own moral compass—then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own."

Commencement Address at Tuskegee University | may 2015

"I had to ignore all of the noise and be true to myself—and the rest would work itself out."

Tuskegee University commencement address | may 2015

"I've met girls studying at rickety desks in bare concrete classrooms who are raising their hands so hard they're almost falling out of their chairs. I see myself in these girls—in their ambition and their determination to rise above their circumstances."

Why Global Girls' Education Is So Personal for Me | march 2016

"We are the United State of Women, and we stand stronger when we stand together."

The United State of Women | june 2016

"I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my two black daughters playing with their dogs on the White House lawn."

Democratic National Convention | july 2016
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curated with care by Meghan Miller Brawley {may 2014}