Michelle Obama is still America’s favorite person.
In it’s first post-election cover story, Vogue sat down with FLOTUS Michelle Obama, the woman that many are hoping will save America in 2020. See some of the quotes from her conversation with Vogue below.
On her work as FLOTUS: “I could have spent eight years doing anything, and at some level, it would have been fine. I could have focused on flowers. I could have focused on decor. I could have focused on entertainment. Because any First Lady, rightfully, gets to define her role. There’s no legislative authority; you’re not elected. And that’s a wonderful gift of freedom.”
On being doubted at Harvard: “I’m just as smart as these people! What were they thinkin’? So there are a lot of people who will try to step on your confidence based on their assumptions about who they think you are. For all of you sitting here, with those doubts in your head—because those whispers of doubt, they stay with you for a very long time—ignore them. . . . I still carry that with me today, as First Lady of the United States, because there are people who don’t think I should be doing that either.”
On leaving the White House: “You know, there are little . . . moments. Even today I was looking out at this view here. Looking out on the South Lawn and the Washington Monument and it had just rained and the grass was really green and everything popped a little bit more. It’s soooo beautiful. And for that moment I thought, I’m going to miss waking up to this, having access to this anytime I want. But on the flip side . . . it’s time. I think our democracy has it exactly right: two terms, eight years. It’s enough. Because it’s important to have one foot in reality when you have access to this kind of power. The nature of living in the White House is isolating. And I think Barack and I—because we’re kind of stubborn—we’ve maintained some normalcy, mostly because of the age of our kids. I go out to dinner with my girlfriends; I go to Sasha’s games; Barack has coached a little basketball with Sasha’s team. But at the same time, when you can’t walk into CVS? …When you’re not engaged in the day-to-day struggles that everybody feels, you slowly start losing touch. And I think it’s important for the people in the White House to have a finger on the pulse.”
On missing the presidential debates: “I can’t. That’s part of staying hopeful and positive—be able to go high. . . . Sometimes that means just not engaging. And that’s not just with these debates. If I didn’t have to be at my husband’s debates, I wouldn’t have watched those, either.”
On the difficulties of fighting for girls to get an education: “Sometimes the issue is resources: Parents can’t afford to pay for tuition, uniforms, or school supplies; or the nearest school is too far away and there’s no safe transportation; or there is a school nearby, but it doesn’t have adequate bathrooms for girls, so they have to stay home when they have their periods, and they wind up falling behind and dropping out. But often the problem is attitude. It’s about whether families and communities think girls are even worthy of an education in the first place. It’s about whether girls are valued only for their labor and reproductive capacities or for their minds as well. And it’s about whether women are viewed as second-class citizens or as full human beings entitled to the same rights and opportunities as men.”