First lady Michelle Obama has been steadily in the public eye for eight years. In the United States, she is especially famous for advocating healthy eating habits, championing organic gardening, and speaking on behalf of military and working families. But there is a lot more to discover about the woman President Obama calls “my rock.”
She exercises for 90 minutes 3 times a week
The first lady practices what she preaches when she encourages healthy eating and fitness. According to her friends, she works out “like a gladiator,” waking up as early as 4:30 a.m. to run on a treadmill, lift weights, and do kickboxing and other activities. Watch what happened when talk show host Ellen Degeneres challenged her to a pushup contest.
She left a career in corporate law to work in public service
Michelle Obama excelled at school and went to Princeton University and Harvard Law School before working at Sidley Austin LLP, the sixth-largest U.S.-based corporate law firm. But in 1993, she left her job to help found a national service program called Public Allies Chicago. She said she made the change because “there are few things more rewarding than watching young people recognize they have the power to enrich not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them as well.”
Despite her advocacy of healthy eating, she loves french fries
It’s true. In 2008, her friend Valerie Jarrett, who is now a senior adviser to President Obama, acknowledged that it was the first lady’s guilty pleasure. “Whenever we’re on the road and we’ve had a long day … we’re looking for a way to have french fries and, if we’ve been really good, then we get to have a cheeseburger to go along with our french fries!” Jarrett said.
She still makes time for “girls’ night out”
The Washington Post reported in 2013 that Michelle Obama had been to at least 46 food and entertainment venues in Washington, which is not an easy task when you’re a celebrity. For many of these outings, she takes time away from her roles as mother and wife to spend time with her girlfriends.
“Women energize me. My husband is terrific. He is my true partner,” she said. “But it’s also important for us as women to find each other. And there’s that natural re-energizing that happens when women get together and we kind of hold each other up. But that takes time to invest in your friendships and to invest in yourself.”
She wouldn’t go out with Barack until he first played a basketball game against her brother
When Michelle met the future president in 1988, he was a summer intern at her law firm and she was his adviser. When he asked her out, she first said no, because she thought it wasn’t appropriate for them to date. When he persisted, she asked her brother, Craig Robinson, to play a game of basketball with him first. Robinson told Slate Magazine that it wasn’t to see if he was a good player or not, “but because she’d grown up hearing my dad and I say you can tell a lot about a guy on the basketball court.” Robinson reported back that he could find “no personality flaws with respect to the basketball evaluation.” Barack and Michelle started dating and got married in 1992.