Strong and seriously smart, the current first lady has spent the last eight years making an impact on America and the world with honesty, humour and kindness. Ashley Davies won’t half miss her.
Every day, the dumpster fire that is the US presidential election reminds me how much I adore Michelle Obama and how much I’ll miss her. I’m certainly not alone in hoping that she’ll come back and run for office herself one day.
And I know it’s a ridiculous exercise to compare her with Melania Trump (it would be like comparing a unicorn with a banjo), so I’ve fought the urge to write: “Can you imagine Trump doing that?” after every single point below.
She’s clever and worked her arse off to get where she is
Michelle Obama grew up in a traditional, working-class family and grafted so hard at school that she skipped a year. She studied at Princeton and Harvard Law School, and ended up working for Public Allies, a not-for-profit organisation that encourages young people to work for other non-profits and bring about social improvement.
She makes people want to be better versions of themselves
I want to live in a world led by people with higher behavioural standards than mine – people like Michelle Obama. Being praised by her must be like getting a shoulder massage by the Angel Gabriel, but she could cripple you with a glance if you were being an arsehole. You just wouldn’t want to disappoint her. She raises people up.
“Whether she’s talking about how it feels to wake up in a house built by slaves and seeing her daughters playing on the White House lawn, or expressing revulsion at Donald Trump’s attitude to women, her public presentations are exceptional.”
She’s vocal about what it’s like being black
She has spoken movingly about the discrimination she has faced, and refuses to conceal her anger about racial prejudice, something that’s as necessary as it is brave in a world that still has a problem with angry women, especially if they’re black. She is a shining beacon of black pride and strength – an inspiring leader of people.
In just about every interview she does, you see evidence that winning is important to this woman. Competitiveness isn’t always an attractive trait in people, but she is fighting the good fight and has buckets of charisma, so she pulls it off.
She practises what she preaches
She doesn’t just tell people what to do – she shows them. In her mission to tackle the US’s obesity epidemic, she’s been a creative and engaging advocate of healthy eating and exercise. She grew a vegetable garden in the White House grounds, and even released an exercise video to promote her Let’s Move campaign. This woman is STRONG. She certainly earned those arms.
She can dance
Obama is a cute and joyful mover – even when she’s pretending to ‘mom dance’. Imagine Nancy Reagan doing that. Hahahaha. Sorry.
She’s going to leave a meaningful legacy
She worked damned hard on Let Girls Learn, her campaign to encourage adolescent girls to stay in school, and to provide education to girls in developing countries. It’s an uphill battle, but it sends a valuable message to girls about how much they matter and why they are worth fighting for.
She’s a hugger
She is affectionate with everyone, which makes people feel liked and valued. She even (sort of) hugged the Queen in 2012, and you’re not even supposed to shake that old gal’s hand. Apparently, Her Madge made the first move though – even for an anti-royalist like me, that was a cute moment.
She cares about her family
There seems to be genuine warmth in the Obama family, and Michelle Obama has always made it clear that they are her priority. She moved her mother in to the White House to help bring up her daughters, of whom she is inordinately proud, and the snippets we hear about the Obamas’ parenting style makes me envy Malia and Sasha.
I’m suspicious of people who don’t act the giddy goat sometimes, and Michelle Obama’s got an endearingly daft sense of humour. As part of her drive to encourage healthy eating, she messed around with some sports stars in the White House and I’ve watched this clip about a hundred times. Can you imagine any other first lady laughing like that after slam-dunking?
Her speeches give me goosebumps
Whether she’s talking about how it feels to wake up in a house built by slaves and seeing her daughters playing on the White House lawn, or expressing revulsion at Donald Trump’s attitude to women, her public presentations are exceptional. She’s a skilful orator who speaks with feeling and intelligence, and frequently moves me to tears.
She rocks a cardigan
First ladies have always presented themselves in the same sort of stiff, Chanel-type suits with pearls. It’s a uniform that says: “I’m not like you. I’m in charge and I’m inflexible.” But Obama’s outfits are softer, more practical and prettier. She’s got an array of colourful cardies, which make her look comfortable as well as stylish. As everyone knows, hugs work better in knitwear.
She has excellent taste in men
She met the mega-fanciable Barack Obama when they were working at the same law firm early in their careers. She was assigned to be his mentor and a strong friendship developed. It’s clear that she is still his mentor, and that the love they have for each other is solid, emotional and physical. I can’t envisage there ever being another first couple with such demonstrable affection for each other. Unless she does us all a favour and comes back as President.
Check out our favourite Barack Obama moments here.
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Ashley Davies is an Edinburgh-based writer and editor and the human behind animal satire website thelabreport.co.uk.