The first African American to serve as First Lady is a fabulous mum, a fashion icon and a fierce advocate for women’s rights.

Here, ahead of #Womens Equality Day, we celebrate her finest moments on film.

Michelle Obama was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1964. Following a hugely impressive academic record at school, Princeton and Harvard, she went on to become a lawyer, community outreach worker, writer and the First Lady of the United States of America.

While Obama was in the White House, she used four main initiatives to advocate for healthy living, the wellbeing of servicemen and veterans, further education and the global empowerment of young women. She is basically a legend.

In her final speech as First Lady, she encapsulated all that we love best about her approach, her tone and her style when she said:

‘I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don’t be afraid. You hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope; never fear.’

Her husband turned 60 in August. True to form, Michelle threw a hell of a party (which was scaled back in the end, because of the spread of the Delta variant) at their house on Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate. Guests were not allowed to photograph or video any of it but it is said that the evening involved a wildly popular espresso martini bar and a couple of hosts dancing into the small hours.

Here, we take a look back at the finest moments of this extraordinary lady.

Main image: Joyce N. Boghosian/ Wikimedia Commons

Carpool Karaoke With James Corden, 2016

What is so wonderful about the very fact that Obama took part in an episode of this cult show is the levity it reveals. This exceptionally clever, passionate and important lady has a great voice and a kickass sense of humour. Watch it here.

Obama’s Proposal, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, 2018

There’s something about the Obama marriage that has always been intriguing. It may be easy to think of her as second fiddle to the president of the United States of America. But you need to remember that they met when he was an intern at her law firm. She was tasked with mentoring a summer associate, the young Barack. Here, she describes the row they had about marriage as an institution minutes before he asked her to marry him. Watch it here.

The Obamas On Oprah, 2016

In this interview, Mrs Obama talks with charm about the Christmas presents she remembers receiving as a child and then, in a wonderful window onto their marriage, the First Couple have a little tiff about who gives better presents. The answer is: he does. Watch it here.

Keynote Address Democratic National Convention, 2008

There is so much applause from the audience while Obama is waiting to speak that you fear she may never manage. Don’t worry, though. Her moment comes – and when it does, she speaks, laughs and jokes with such inspirational assurance. She touches in this speech on all the things she went on to advocate for in public life – her love for her girls, the importance of hard work and education, the family values with which she and her husband were both raised. This one is rousing and it is remarkable. Watch it here.

First Inaugural Ball, 2009

That smile! That white, one-shouldered, chiffon frock (which she has since donated to The Smithsonian)! Those jewels! She stands behind her man for most of this clip – but she does it with such poise and grace. Watch it here.

Interview About Michelle Obama’s Autobiography, Becoming, 2018

If you haven’t read Michelle’s autobiography, Becoming, you must. She writes with unbelievable clarity, honesty and candour. Once again, her solid family values come to the fore. In this interview to publicise the book, you get such a sense of just how authentic this woman is. Throughout Becoming, we hear about Michelle’s beloved mother, father and brother, Craig. In it, she says it was her mother’s belief that: “As parents, you’re not raising babies, you’re raising adults.” She remembers being allowed to be exactly who she was as a child. Her parents encouraged her stories. It was the opposite of being seen but not heard. This interview makes you want to parent exactly as Michelle Obama does. Watch it here.

Michelle’s Daughters On Their Mum

If you need any extra reason to love Mrs Obama, check out these clips of her luminescent daughters, Malia and Sasha, talk about their mama. There can be no greater testament. Watch it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
August 2021

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.