Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
Former First Lady
Michelle Obama is an attorney and author who was the first lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is married to the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, and was the first African-American first lady. As first lady, Obama served as a role model for women and worked as an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating. She supported American designers and was considered a fashion icon. After her husband’s presidency, her influence remained high; in 2020, Obama topped Gallup’s poll of the most admired woman in America for the third year running.
Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. In her early legal career, she worked at the law firm Sidley Austin where she met Barack Obama. She subsequently worked in non-profits and as the associate dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago as well as the vice president for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center. Michelle married Barack in 1992, and they have two daughters.
As first lady, Obama established four primary initiatives: Let’s Move! to support healthier lifestyles, Joining Forces for service members and their families, Reach Higher for post-secondary education and training, and Let Girls Learn for global education efforts. Obama campaigned for her husband’s presidential bid throughout 2007 and 2008, delivering a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She has subsequently delivered acclaimed speeches at the 2012, 2016, and 2020 conventions.
Obama’s memoir, Becoming, was the best-selling book of 2018. Becoming, discusses the experiences that shaped her, from her childhood in Chicago to her years living in the White House.