Former First Lady Michelle Obama covers the January 2018 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine photographed by Miller Mobley.
On one of the most fun days she had at the White House: “It’s impossible to single out one day, because there were so many good ones, but something that always made me feel good was being around children and young people… We made sure that kids—ordinary kids, not just the kids of a donor or a Congressman—had access to folks like Justin Timberlake, Janelle Monáe and Smokey Robinson talking about the doubts and struggles they fought through, giving their time to inspire young people. I’d walk away from those events so hopeful. Who knows what dreams these kids could have for themselves after that?”
On how she’d compare her own adolescence with her daughters’ experiences: “There’s a lot that’s universal. Malia and I were talking recently about all the little things we’d stress over in junior high and high school—whether we’re wearing the right clothes, a snarky comment somebody made about us, the boys we crushed on, and on and on and on. We laughed about how many hours were spent inside our heads, hoping a boy would ask us to dance, or stewing over a big test, just doing everything we could to avoid even the most minor embarrassments. When I was younger, I often wondered whether this kind of obsessive thinking was unique to me and my girlfriends, but I realize now that it was something every girl feels… What’s inspiring to me is that so many of the young women I’ve met…are triumphing in incredible ways. Unlike my generation, they’re not as held back by the societal belief that girls and boys can’t do the same things. They’re charging forward in sports and math and science and technology. They’re speaking up and speaking out… They’re confident, unconcerned with old stereotypes, and there’s no telling what they’re going to accomplish in the years ahead.”
On how much sleep she gets now versus when she was FLOTUS: “Thankfully, more (and it’s more regular). I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity that living in the White House afforded us, but it probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that sometimes it was a real challenge to keep up with the pace. We’d be launching an initiative, or crisscrossing the country for campaign events, or visiting a community that was hurting from a tornado or a senseless shooting—sometimes all in a two- or three-day span. Then, on top of the demands of our schedules, I’d usually need to wake up long before Barack to get my hair and makeup done and dress for a public event. I laugh about how easy it was for Barack to choose his wardrobe—tie or no tie? “What do you think, honey, should I roll up my sleeves?” These days, I’m more in control of my time.”
On how to be more approachable: “The best advice I can give here is the simplest: I think everyone just has to be themselves… Of course, it’s not always easy to be yourself, particularly if you’re entering a new environment. I’ve had many doubts through my life. They cropped up when I went to a high school across town and a college across the country, when I was a young lawyer in a high-rise law firm, when I took a leap of faith and allowed our family to venture into a Presidential race. In all those moments, a chorus of doubts rang out inside my head: Do I really belong here? Am I good enough? But after a while, I realized that I had every reason to be in those environments. I just had to trust my instincts and be myself — and then the rest would take care of itself.”
[Photo Credit: Miller Mobley/Good Housekeeping Magazine]