When she voiced her ambition about attending Princeton university, she was condemned by her high school guidance counsellor of reaching too high. Refusing to be demoralized, she went on not only to attend Princeton but Harvard law as well.
In 2009 she became the first black First lady of the United States of America, redefining the role of the office of the first lady. Michelle LaVaughn Obama had such unique ability to fill a room with her presence, connecting with people from all works of life. Even after her tenure as First Lady, she continues to be a global voice, with her work on advancing leadership skills in the girl child and addressing inequality.
Since the end of the Obama’s two-term tenure as the first family of America, Michelle has published a memoir “Becoming”, won a Grammy, and now has her own Netflix documentary “Becoming” that’s based on the tour of her best selling book by the same name.
Below are excerpts from her documentary “Becoming”:
So little of who I am happened in all eight years as first lady, so much of who I was happened before then.
On redefining the office of the first lady
For the first year of the campaign, it was exhausting and not glamorous and we ate a lot of McDonalds,
and she’d lose her voice by the end of the day, because that’s how hard we used to work her; she was that valuable
– Melissa Winter (Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama)
On taking ownership
We cannot afford to wait for the world to be equal, to start feeling seen, you’ve got to find the tool within yourself to feel visible, be heard, and have a voice.
On image building
As first lady, I was slowly watching myself being exposed to the world, I had become strategic in how I present myself, because it had the potential of defining me for the rest of my life.
On harnessing the power of your journey
The story with your highs and lows, what seems so ordinary, and what seems like nothing to you, well that’s your power.
On staying happy
One of the things I learnt from counselling, that helped me and our marriage was that my happiness was not dependent on him making me happy.
On staying connected
When someone walks up to me, don’t look around, don’t look beyond them, look them in the eye, take in the story
sharing someone’s story gives me perspective that I need, that I don’t get because all of my interactions are sanitized…it helps me stay connected.
When we moved into the white house, I had to beg the house keepers, these girls have to learn how to clean their own rooms, make their own beds and do their own laundry, because they will not live here forever.
On unconscious bias by the media
I’d make some impassioned speech and they would say, ” oh she was wearing an interesting designer dress.