Our first lady, Michelle Obama, covers this week’s issue of Parade Magazine, which will be out on Sunday. FLOTUS gave Parade an exclusive interview about her family, her hair, her Let’s Move initiative, turning 50 and whether she considers herself a “single mother” in the White House. It’s a decent interview:
On why she no longer sports the bangs that caused such a sensation.
You know, it’s hard to make speeches with hair in your face!
On why she chose a leadership role on the issue of childhood obesity in America.
When we started, there were people who were thinking, ‘Oh, that’s not an issue. Why is she picking that?’ But in a short amount of time we have turned a challenging problem into one where there are glimmers of hope and change. Our goal is to see the numbers reduced in a generation.
On thinking about where Malia will go to college.
You know, I am really trying to tone that way down. Because kids are under unreasonable pressure, and it can destroy a high school experience.
On the rules she has set for the Obama daughters as they grow older.
I give them as long a leash as they can handle. What I tell my kids is, I’m preparing you for college and for life. So, having independence, knowing how to set your own boundaries, figuring out how to make that balance. We still have screen time rules.
On whether her recent description of herself as “a single mother” was an acknowledgement of the pressure that comes with always making the decisions about her kids.
That’s absolutely right. When you have a husband or a partner who’s either traveling for work or has huge responsibility … and I give my husband credit—he knows who their friends are, he knows what their schedule is. But he’s not making the calls to the dance studio to figure out what classes they’re taking next year … I think it’s important for both parents to shoulder that [responsibility]. I tell my kids, “I am thinking about you every other minute of my day.”
On the approach of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
I have immense hope. We just finished our visit to Africa and spent time on Robben Island with one of President Mandela’s cell-block mates. Mandela took a lot of the lessons from Dr. King’s time to heart … To come back to the United States, with an African-American president who has been influenced by both King and Mandela, that is a reason to be hopeful about all that Dr. King sacrificed.
On whether she thinks having an African-American family in the White House has moved the needle.
Absolutely. Children born in the last eight years will only know an African-American man being president of the United States. That changes the bar for all of our children, regardless of their race, their sexual orientation, their gender. It expands the scope of opportunity in their minds. And that’s where change happens.
On whether there will be a female president in her lifetime.
Yes, I think the country is ready for it. It’s just a question of who’s the best person out there.
On whether she sees Secretary Clinton getting the job.
She hasn’t announced anything, so I’m certainly not going to get ahead of her. [laughs]
On whether she will ever run.
On her thoughts about turning 50 in January.
I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman. But I am constantly thinking about my own health and making sure that I’m eating right and getting exercise and watching the aches and pains. I want to be this really fly 80-, 90-year old.
I like how matter-of-fact Michelle is about not running for political office. I remember when Hillary Clinton would deny those stories when she was first lady too, only you knew Hillary was lying and she always wanted to run for office. I get the feeling that Michelle really doesn’t want to at all. She doesn’t want to be a public person. And I’m so glad she growing out her bangs! That was just a terrible look for her.
By the way, did you hear about the report in which it seems like Michelle’s Let’s Move initiative is actually working in many states? Michelle’s signature issue – exercise and healthy eating for kids – is actually making a difference. Obesity rates among children have dropped significantly in 19 states for the first time in decades, according to the CDC. You can read more about it here.
Photos courtesy of FLOTUS Twitter, Parade.