If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that we miss Michelle Obama and her radiant presence in the White House. The wife of the past POTUS defined the role in a way no woman ever has, and while plenty of us know about bits of her life, you might not know these little-known facts about this hero to many.
1. Michelle Obama was born in Chicago, Illinois – the South Side, to be specific. If you think that the first African American first lady grew up in privilege, you’d be sorely mistaken.
2. Their family grew up in a one-bedroom apartment due to finances being tight. Michelle and her brother slept in the living room, with only a sheet in place of a wall for some privacy.
3. Michelle Obama’s mother was a homemaker, and her dad worked in a Chicago water-purification plant.
4. In college, she studied at both Harvard and Princeton. When she was at Princeton University, African American studies and sociology were her focus. For her sociology, thesis, she wrote “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.”
5. Michelle’s love story with Barack Obama ultimately started due to her work in law. She worked at Sidley & Austin, with a focus on intellectual property law.
6. It was at this law firm that she met her future husband. The two first linked in 1989, when Barrack was working there for the summer. She was actually Barack’s mentor. That sounds like a rom-com waiting to happen!
7. Although she started out in law, Michelle’s passion was more in contributing to public service. That’s exactly why she became Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s assistant in 1991. One year after, she and Barack got married.
8. Education has always been an important aspect to this ex POTUS’s wife. It started in her childhood – her parents knew education was the key to a success, and hence her parents taught both their kids how to read and write by four years old. No wonder she’s so articulate.
9. Michelle was Barack’s secret to getting elected – on the campaign trail, she would frequently make her husband seem more like an accessible human being by sharing silly domestic stories and talking about his faults. A good wife always keeps her husband grounded!
10. When her husband was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, Michelle had her own accomplishments. That year, she became the associate dean of student services at the University of Chicago.
11. In 2019, Gallup released a survey that listed Michele Obama as the #1 person that Americans admire. We can completely see why.
12. On January 26, 2020, the former First Lad won a Grammy for best spoken world album, thanks to the audiobook recording of “Becoming.”
13. Her older brother Craig and her are extremely close – many people though they were twins growing up, even though there’s a nearly two year age difference between them. If you’ve watched her Netflix special, you might already know this one.
14. Mrs. Obama’s dad suffered from multiple sclerosis, and tragically died from the disease when she was just in her 20s.
15. In 1993, Michelle Obama founded the Chicago branch of Public Allies. This program was a training in .leadership skills, specifically catered towards young adults. She was the executive director of this branch until 1996.
16. When she was in middle school, Michelle was placed in a Gifted class, which allowed her to start learning Biology and French in just sixth grade.
17. Her book was titled Becoming as a response to the age-old question kids are asked: what do you want to be when you grow up? This beauty never liked that question, as it ensured that when you “become” something you won’t grow any further as a person. This queen is all about constant growth, education, and change, like the rest of us should be.
18. On Barack and Michelle’s first date, the two watched the Spike Lee movie Do The Right Thing. The movie is about racial tensions in Brooklyn back in the day, and it’s a gorgeous testament to their entire relationship.
19. At their wedding, they danced to the Nat King Cole song Unforgettable. Is there anything not picture perfect about America’s favorite couple?
20. Michelle gave birth to Malia in 1998, but what she didn’t know then was that Malia would carry on her Harvard legacy after she graduated high school. Sasha was born in 2001 and was just seven during the election.
21. When Barack Obama made the decision to run for President, Michelle was making more money than her husband, and was the main source of income in their household. All the qualities of a pageant queen, and a breadwinner to boot!
22. Upon entering the White House and her new role as First Lady, Michelle made the conscious move to not learn about the similar experiences of past First Ladies, but instead wanted to define the role in her own way.