The August 23 issue of Variety featured a graceful, classy, beautiful woman on its cover. In the photo, she stands tall and simple in a black-and-white ensemble. Her power exudes through the image while her compassion subtly shines through. The woman we’re talking about is none other than first lady Michelle Obama.
The piece itself highlights the tactful ways that Michelle Obama used the overwhelming influence of pop culture and social media to promote her benevolent initiatives.
This year, the country watched as the first lady sat in a car with Late Late Show host James Corden and sung (or rapped) along to Missy Elliot. She was another guest of the show’s beloved Carpool Karaoke segment. However, instead of just letting her hair down and having a good time, she used that moment as a fruitful opportunity to highlight one of her major initiatives, Let Girls Learn.
Let Girls Learn is a worldwide plan of action to promote girls’ access to education. She also tied in the segment to her initiative when she and Corden sang “This Is for My Girls,” a song written by Diane Warren for the initiative.
The first lady has also used shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and YouTube to promote her healthy-living initiative, Let’s Move.
Although some may not grasp the carefully planned execution that the first lady and her team have performed, many influential voices have taken note and bowed down.
“She’s something of a force of nature — one of the rare few who are truly present with whomever she’s talking to,” says Hollywood director J.J. Abrams. “Whether it’s a veteran, a child, a working mother, or movie star, she treats everyone the same, with respect and full attention.”
Michelle Obama knows how important it is to promote the good work her and her husband strive to do; however, she also knows what it means to touch people in light and entertaining ways.
“I view myself as being the average woman,” Michelle Obama says. “While I am first lady, I wasn’t first lady my whole life. I’m a product of pop culture. I’m a consumer of pop culture, and I know what resonates with people. I know what they’ll get a chuckle out of and what they think is kind of silly. And whenever my team approaches me with ideas and concepts, we’re usually like, ‘Is this really funny? Are people going to understand it?’”
Through the work of her many initiatives, support of her powerful husband, and raising her two beautiful girls, one thing has remained constant: Michelle Obama's passion for the country and compassion for the people.
This time next year there will be a first gentleman or different first lady in office, and although they won’t come close to Michelle, hopefully whoever it is takes a page from her play book. (Melania, you can take two.)
(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)